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Straight From the Sales Director: How Surveys Help Nonprofits Develop and Win Funds

Let’s talk about a riveting topic: Market Research! Didn’t those two words make your heart beat fast and fist violently pound the air in excitement? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Although necessary, market research, at least the thought of it, sounds like… well, research. Why are surveys so crucial to nonprofits anyways? Surveys for nonprofits act like Google reviews for other companies. Except you can use the survey results in a myriad of ways, such as: improving your programs, increasing funding requests, client testimonials, and content for digital marketing efforts.  

Now let’s talk about common survey mistakes. Recently when filling out a post-event survey, I realized many of the questions started with leading or double-barreled wording that only allowed for positive feedback, fluff answers, or biased interpretations. A leading question could be as simple as stating, “Our last event had a 98% satisfaction rating; how much did you like the event?” A double-barreled question would read, “How satisfied were you with the event food and performances?” These questions don’t allow for your audience to answer truthfully or unbiasedly. Consider the following changes to the questions above, “How satisfied were you with the event?” and “How would you rate the food selected for the event?”. These small changes allow for a more straightforward, less biased answer from your audience, giving you more accurate data to build on. Nonprofits should use surveys to determine the demographics served and evaluate your program’s effectiveness, satisfaction, and reach. Your organization should share positive feedback with the board, staff, funders, and potential clients. 

For those looking for ways to implement surveys, check out a few of the options below: 

  1. Volunteer Surveys: Surveying your volunteers is perhaps the most accessible place to start. Volunteers have already shown their desire to see the organization grow and thrive through their donations. Therefore, they’re more likely to give you honest and productive feedback. Volunteers will also appreciate your desire to listen to their input, increasing the likelihood that they would volunteer for your nonprofit again. Many grants also want nonprofits to grow their volunteer base demonstrating satisfaction from the general public and program fund management.
  2. Program Outcome Surveys: Every program should have surveys conducted at the beginning and end to help you accurately gauge reportable changes among your audience’s self-assessment of their abilities or the improvements made to their lives. For example, a coding organization would send surveys to students asking questions like “how much do you code per day” or “what is your experience with coding.” Then, at the end of the program, ask these same questions again to see actual improvements in each student’s self-perceived changes in abilities. This type of surveying method is called pre and post retrospective surveys. 

Another reason to implement this surveying method into your program development is grant reporting. Often grants will ask for quantitative data to reinforce your organization’s impact, and pre and post retrospective surveys are the most accurate way to report your results. In addition, the ability to achieve your objectives when applying for funding will create future funding opportunities. 

Surveys can help a nonprofit organization gather invaluable information that can lead to three significant outcomes: increased volunteers, donations, and grants. These survey results can be made into helpful and informative marketing pieces. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to efficiently gather data on the work your nonprofit performs. 

At SOGO Insurance, we value the work our nonprofits do for our community, and we love the opportunity to support your organization through strategic partnerships. If your nonprofit has a partnership opportunity or additional questions regarding risk management and insurance, please don’t hesitate to reach out.