3 Tips for Getting AUTHENTIC Survey Responses

Not just the positive answers!

February 11, 2024

Maryfrances Porter

Getting ENOUGH Survey Responses

Getting enough people to answer your survey can be a challenge, but there are lots of tips and tricks for increasing response rates.

Tricks range from making sure that you survey people before they leave, to only survey a small group of people rather than everyone.

Here’s a past blog on surveying, and there’s lots more in the ImpactStory Academy!

So let’s say you have tons of survey responses – how do you make sure people are really telling you how they feel?


Getting AUTHENTIC Responses

Nonprofit clients are often grateful, and they probably don’t want to insult you. How do you not just get a lot of “strongly agree” answers that don’t help you improve programming?

Here are three tips to help ensure they tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly:


Tip #1

Include instructions on your survey that says you want to hear the bad news.

For example: We want to hear what you think! We value what you liked and what you didn’t like. Your honest answers help us improve what we do.


Tip #2

Talk to your clients as you give them the survey. Look them in the eye, use their name. Let them know their responses – positive and critical – are really important to you.

For example: Teresa, before you leave, could you please complete this survey to let us know about your experience working with us? Of course we love the positive feedback, but anything you can tell us that helps us know where we could improve is really, really appreciated.


Tip #3

Let clients know that you’ve used constructive feedback in the past to make improvements.

You can include it in your newsletters, on social media, have posters in the office, or even just let people know when you give them the survey…. Tell them something you learned in the past and how you used the feedback.

For example: Last year, our clients didn’t fully agree that our classes met their expectations. So now we state our goals at the beginning, and we leave time at the end for questions. When the question time opens up, we ask people what questions they have, and if there is anything they were hoping to learn about that we didn’t touch on.


Your Authenticity Encourages Clients’ Authenticity

I know when people are authentic, honest, and invite and respond to feedback, I feel invited to do the same. This builds trust and mutuality.

We are also all more invested when we can see that our contributions make a difference.


You’re doing the hardest work there is! Thank you!

– Maryfrances

Your ImpactStory™ Coach

Learn more in the ImpactStory Academy!


Partnerships for Strategic Impact®

At Partnerships for Strategic Impact®, I have all the tools to build out the structures and strategies you need for tracking and using impact. I train social sector staff in how to use these tools, in how to analyze data, in how to make action steps for change, and how to tell powerful impact stories. My goal is your sustainability: I provide just the right amount of coaching and ongoing support to ensure success.

This is within reach. It’s not harder than managing your budget. Plus, you, your funders, and the people you serve deserve to know more about the value your organization delivers.

If you’re reading this, then you’re already part of my network. Schedule some time on my calendar. There’s no sales pitch and no obligation. Just curiosity and answering your questions. I am the seasoned program-evaluation, program-development, data-storytelling partner you need, right in your back pocket. I am here to bring order to the process of figuring out how to track and use your impact story.

– Maryfrances

Your ImpactStory™ Coach

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By Published On: February 11th, 2024Categories: Blog - Smart SurveysComments Off on 3 Tips for Getting AUTHENTIC Survey Responses