"M. Gale Team - we are super busy and our development plan calls for a donor survey this year. What are your thoughts on donor surveys and are they worth our time?"

Absolutely!  We’re big fans of assessing how your donors feel about your organization and their relationship to it, but your approach can make the difference between anecdotal responses and results that can be operationalized!   

Here are a few tips from our team on the topic of donor surveys:

  1. Don’t send your major donors email or paper surveys! Use the survey questions as a relational touch point and conversation starter.
  2. Don’t interview or survey donors only in times of great need! Surveying your donors before a large capital or endowment campaign is essential for that fundraising effort. However, if this is the only time you ask your donors for feedback, you can leave your donors with the wrong impression. It can be even more important to check in with your donors outside of campaign time in order to assess your ongoing relationship and your department’s efforts in donor communications!
  3. Don’t over survey! Email and mail survey response rates are notoriously low. Frequent surveys can be seen as bothersome and are not the only strategy for soliciting feedback. Set up multiple and ongoing feedback opportunities for your donors in addition to your formal donor survey.
  4. Do ask the right questions! Asking the right questions in the right way can make the difference between results that can be operationalized and those that can’t.
  5. Do use outside counsel! Our experience shows that donors are significantly more candid with outside counsel than they are with staff. And, our experience with donor surveys will garner useful information that will help shape your communications and relationships with your donors.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you design and execute a donor survey strategy  that advances your fundraising and your mission!

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