This week I'm going to talk about donor surveys.
Today I'll start with the five main reasons I believe surveys are so critical for any organization who is serious about practicing genuine supporter relationship management. In part two I'll look at how to undertake a survey and finally in part three I'll point out some key considerations.
1 Surveys are a great way to involve donors. Executed correctly, a survey gives donors a real opportunity to do something and feel as if they are helping you help your beneficiaries in ways other than making a financial commitment.
Our experience at Pareto Fundraising has shown that getting donors to do something other than donate increases their propensity to give to you, both at that point in time and down the track. So in essence what you are doing is increasing the value of that donor over time by asking them to do something now, other than donate.
2 They provide incredibly useful data on who your donors are, why they were motivated to support you, areas of your work they are interested in, what they think about your work, whether they believe you are doing a good job.
The key here is then respectfully and appropriately using this information once captured. Used properly, see example below, this information allows you to hyper-personalize communications with your donors.
"...And I know from our recent survey Mrs. Jones that you, like me, are genuinely concerned about the current situation in Darfur. Which is why I am writing to you today..."
3 Surveys solicit feedback on you. Not only are you asking supporters for information about them, surveys allow you to gather feedback as to how donors think you are performing, whether they think you are spending their money on areas that are making a real difference. A useful thing to measure over time, as well as allowing you to have a onversation with someone who isn't convinced you are walking the walk.
4 Bequests. In terms of sheer impact, the biggest way to make your surveys pull their weight is by including a question about donors' Will status and whether or not they have chosen to leave your organization in their Will - or whether they may be thinking or considering doing so.
I'll talk more about this in considerations later this week, but done properly this can transform your bequest/planned giving program.
As a side note, there are also opportunities to include other prospecting type questions in your surve: namely around monthly/regular giving, major gifts and also things such as events or volunteering.
5 Surveys help your donors help you find new donors. Think about it. By capturing information on these people including demo/biographical information - donors are helping you develop a donor blueprint which you can then use when developing your next round of acquisition targeting - helping you reach out to more people like the ones you currently have.
Hopefully I've convinced you about the power of surveys. Put simply, they rock.
If you need any more convincing let me know! Watch out for Part two later this week...