Online Survey, Survey Examples

How Can Non-Profit Organizations Use a Survey?

Non-profit organizations are very different from for-profit organizations. But, there is one thing they certainly have in common: the need to conduct market research. All too often, leaders in organizations go by their gut and operate based solely on what they think people want. This can be disastrous for non-profits that rely on donors to support their cause, volunteers to keep things running, and members to show interest.

Why Surveys for Non-Profits Are Beneficial

Performing various types of market research can be expensive, and for non-profits, it’s all about keeping costs down. Online survey tools provide a simple and cost-effective way to conduct market research as long as the questions are clear, concise, and serve a greater purpose. Here are five popular surveys for non-profits that can be used to your advantage, and some non-profit survey questions to consider asking along the way.

5 Popular Surveys for Non-Profits

1. Event Feedback

Many non-profit organization activities revolve around event planning. However, gauging success based solely by the number of people in attendance and the amount of money raised only paints half the picture. In addition to these important quantitative metrics, it’s critical to get qualitative metrics as well. This non-numerical feedback can give you a broader scope with which to measure success.

Before the event, you may want to poll donors, volunteers, and staff to be sure there is interest in supporting and/or working the event; you can also ask for input into what or who they would like to see at the event, where they think it should be held, or any other suggestions they may have. This can make your job a lot easier when putting things together, and help ensure a good, successful turnout.

After the event, follow-up surveys can ask these same people how successful they felt the event was, what things they thought were done right, what areas there were for improvement, etc. Armed with this information, you can make the next event even better. 

2. Donor Engagement

More than 70% of all donations made to non-profits come from individuals (and 88% of this comes from just 12% of donors). So, it’s important to keep these people engaged to keep your organization afloat!

Using online survey tools, non-profits can collect the opinions, motivations, and attitudes of current and prospective donors. This can offer a clearer picture of why they support your particular cause and what issues related to your cause they think you should place more attention toward.

After gathering this type of information, non-profits can tailor events to high-end donors to increase their financial support. You may also consider asking donors which other causes are important to them, as this could lead to partnerships and/or co-branded revenue-generating opportunities. What to see more non-profit survey questions to ask donors? Check out our Donor Feedback NGO Questionnaire Sample.

3. Volunteer Satisfaction

Volunteers reduce costs significantly – in fact, studies estimate that about one hundred million people volunteer every year with their services valued at approximately $150 billion. You read that right, billion. Not to mention, volunteers may often provide better services because they’re making the effort out of their passion for the mission, not a paycheck.

So, as necessary as donations are, chances are you couldn’t do the work you do without volunteers, which is why it’s important to measure their satisfaction through surveying. Some non-profit survey questions you may want to ask volunteers are whether they feel they are receiving adequate training or mentoring, and if they have access to the information – and people – they need to perform their duties.

This type of communication, when performed regularly, can help ensure your volunteers continue to come back. And, when one does leave, be sure to send a survey inquiring why; if there’s a particular issue, you may be able to fix it in order to convince the volunteer to come back. Even if that’s not possible, it at least alerts you to things that need to be improved to avoid additional departures in the future. View our Volunteer Satisfaction NGO Questionnaire Sample for more.

4. Fundraising Evaluation

For large non-profits with many branches throughout the country or even the world, understanding how the various parts of your organization approach fundraising is very important. After all, not all branches are going to go about raising money the same way, and some are bound to be more successful than others.

For these organizations, fundraising evaluations can provide insight into what works and what doesn’t, so successes can be communicated to other branches, which can then mimic the events. Some non-profit survey questions you should consider asking include:

  • How much money did you raise in the past year?
  • How many fundraising events did you hold in the past year?
  • What types of fundraising events do you host? (Dinners, auctions, raffles, other?)

You can see more sample questions on our Fundraising Evaluation NGO Questionnaire Sample.

5. Board Governance

Without proper management and governance, a non-profit organization can quickly come apart or find itself in violation of laws. Sending out occasional surveys can help streamline strategic goals, identify challenges and bottlenecks, find new opportunities and revenue streams, and create awareness around governance practices.

It’s also important to survey association members from time to time. In these questionnaires, you’ll want to ask if members are satisfied with the organization, its benefits, and its cost structure. You’ll also want to ask if they have any ideas for improvement, what types of events or networking opportunities they would find valuable, and if they’d recommend membership to others (and if no, why?).

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Sign up now for a 35% discount on our yearly plans, or a 15% first-ever discount on our monthly plans. Take advantage of this discount and start surveying your donors, volunteers, and members to begin growing a more successful and efficient organization. Have questions about our online tools for non-profits? Contact us, we’re always happy to help!


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.