Nonprofit Surveys, Online Survey, Survey Examples, Survey Questions

How to Create Free Surveys for Nonprofit Organizations + Examples and Questions

There are more than 10 million nonprofit organizations worldwide with nearly 2 million operating in the United States alone. Churches, schools, and foundations dominate the nonprofit sector, accounting for almost 40% of all nonprofits in the United States; after that, about 15% of organizations are classic civil, social, and business engagement organizations, including little leagues, chambers of commerce, and fraternal organizations. One thing that all nonprofits have in common is the need to conduct surveys. In this blog, we’ll highlight the benefits of surveys for nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and not-for-profit organizations (NFPOs) and how SurveyLegend’s free survey maker can help you get started.

Importance of Using Surveys for Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations depend a lot on donors and volunteers to achieve their mission, so it’s important for them to keep communication open with these folks in order to better serve the community. People in the community naturally want to be heard, and that’s where surveys come in. 

Nonprofit surveys help you reach out to donors, volunteers, beneficiaries, staff, and others within the community to understand their needs and wants. This type of feedback is crucial to any nonprofit strategy as it helps you understand what you are doing well and learn about areas where you may be able to make improvements in order to secure more support in the future. 

Here’s a look at some general nonprofit survey questions to include on a questionnaire:

  • Are you satisfied with the overall service provided by our organization?
  • How easy is it to access the services we provide?
  • Do you feel that the staff/volunteers are helpful?
  • How well do our staff/volunteers perform their designated functions?

Types of Nonprofit Surveys

Some of the most common types of nonprofit surveys are designed to obtain feedback from volunteers, donors, lapsed donors, beneficiaries, and board members. Here are examples of nonprofit surveys for each.

Volunteer Surveys

It’s important to make sure volunteers feel valued. By surveying them, you can let them know that you care about their opinions. This will make them more likely to volunteer in the future when you need help again. Here’s a look at a volunteer survey created with SurveyLegend’s free survey maker.

Nonprofit Volunteer Survey

Other nonprofit volunteer survey questions to consider include:

  • Did you find volunteer training useful?
  • How satisfied were you with your volunteer experience?
  • In a typical month, how many hours do you have to volunteer?
  • Did you encounter any challenges as a volunteer?
  • Was the volunteering experience rewarding?
  • Do you have any suggestions for how we might improve volunteering?

Donor Surveys

Nonprofits could not survive without financial donors, and many struggle due to lack of support. In fact, data shows that donor retention rates were about 60% for returning donors (not bad) but just 20% for new donors (not good). With donor surveys, you can begin to develop a long-lasting relationship with donors, finding out what makes them donate and how they feel about how you use their money. Here’s a sample donor survey created with SurveyLegend.

Nonprofit Donor Survey

Other donor survey questions to consider include:

  • How did you learn about our organization?
  • Which platform did you use to donate to our organization?
  • Did you find it easy to donate to our organization?
  • How often would you like to hear from our organization?
  • Do you feel valued as a donor?
  • Anywhere specific you’d like to see your donations going?

Lapsed Donor Surveys

Why have some donors stopped giving? A lapsed donor survey provides insight. You may find out that you’ve done nothing wrong, and the donor’s ability to support your organization has been hampered due to a job loss, etc. Or, you may find out that they don’t feel you use their money wisely, which is an issue you’ll need to look into further to correct perceptions. Here’s a sample lapsed donor survey from SurveyLegend. 

Lapsed Donor Nonprofit Survey

There are two other important questions to ask on a lapsed donor survey:

  • I will renew my support if… (here, provide options based on changes your organization would make to address their concerns).
  • I will renew my support when… (here, provide options related to the individual, e.g. “I’m financially stable again”).

Board/Member Surveys

Last but not least – board and member surveys! This type of nonprofit survey is used to determine if your board members are fully invested in your organization’s mission. Surveying board members for their thoughts and opinions can also re-energize your strategy, help curb apathy, and get members more engaged in the organization’s mission. Here’s an example below. ‌

Nonprofit Member survey

Other sample nonprofit board survey questions include:

  • How well do you understand our organization’s driving purpose?
  • What percentage of meetings did you attend over the last three months?
  • How active are you in your participation during board meetings?
  • Do you feel you have a voice when it comes to shaping organizational objectives?
  • What can we do to increase donor support? Volunteer support?
  • How could our board meetings run more smoothly?

Beneficiary Surveys

Another nonprofit survey to send out regularly is beneficiary surveys. These surveys should go to the people who benefit from the efforts of your organization. This is to done to help you evaluate how successful you are in your mission. One of the best ways to do this is through a series of “I” questions using a matrix survey.

The survey below is live, so check out how it works!


Why Nonprofits Should Use a Visual Survey + Great Nonprofit Survey Resources

One thing you may have noticed in each of our examples is that these nonprofit surveys are very visual, using background images and branding. Surveys with photos are simply more engaging, leading to higher response rates and more accurate data. Check out our blog on the 7 Benefits of Using a Picture Survey to learn more. Some other blogs related to nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations you may want to read:

Finding a Free Survey Maker for Nonprofits

Ready to create your free nonprofit survey? SurveyLegend’s surveys with pictures are perfect for any nonprofit organization. With SurveyLegend, images can be resized at your discretion, complementing questions or answers, or creating beautiful backgrounds. Of course, you’re also not limited in the types of image polls and image-based surveys you can create! You can use imagery to create clickable image polls, multiple-choice selections, ranking surveys with emojis, and more. So, begin reeling in respondents and more accurate data with our free survey maker.

Does your nonprofit regularly survey the community, volunteers, donors, beneficiaries, and others? Do you receive good response rates? Would a visual survey help improve your response rates? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a nonprofit organization?

A nonprofit organization (NPO) is an entity that’s mission is to further a social cause. To qualify as a nonprofit (and obtain a tax-exempt status by the IRS) the organization must serve the public good in some way. Nonprofits may have employees who are paid, but their pay does not come through fundraising. Instead, all profits must be used for furthering the advancement of the organization.

What is a not-for-profit organization?

A not-for-profit organization (NFPO) is generally a “recreational organization” and operates without the goal of earning revenue. Rather than pay employees, not-for-profits have volunteers. Not-for-profits must also operate for the benefit of the public good; they can exist simply to serve the goals of their members, e.g. a sports club.

What is a for-profit organization?

A for-profit organization operates with the goal of making money and is therefore subject to taxes by the IRS. Most businesses are for-profits. They serve customers by selling a product or service. The business owner earns an income from the for-profit and may also pay shareholders and investors from the profits.

About the Author
Born entrepreneur, passionate leader, motivator, great love for UI & UX design, strong believer in "less is more”. Big advocate of bootstrapping. BS in Logistics Service Management. I don't create company environments, I create family and team environments.