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3 Ways to Survey Donors



A Donor Survey is a questionnaire sent out to donors of the charity to gauge their feelings on the way the organization is progressing towards its goals. These are helpful insights to see how the group is faring so far to meet the expectations of those whose donations are driving the monetary force behind every action. Fielding a proper donor survey helps assure that all hands are reaching for the same goal together.


When constructing a donor survey, there are three key groups that you should be aware of: New Donors, Active Donors and Lapsed Donors. These are the three major groups of donors who make up the backbone of a nonprofit’s funding. And these groups all have different opinions or priorities to consider. Don’t field the exact same questions for each of these groups. When constructing a survey, make it geared toward one of these three demographics and make sure it’s sent to those members.


Here are a few things to know about making surveys for these groups:

1. New Donors

These are donors who just found the group and made their first contribution. Brand new names that can be added to lists of potential future payments - or not. That’s part of what this survey should address. From this group, you want to know what interested them in your group over others, what specific causes they want to further through your group, and anything else that might help attract more new donors in the future.

Some potential questions can include:

● Why did you choose us?

● What is your specific interest?

● How are you participating?

● What do you hope to see from us in the future?

● Ask for personal details to understand their demographic.


2. Active Donors

Active donors are continuously contributing to the organization over a period of months or years, the regulars who provide a reliable degree of funding which keeps things running. As these are regulars, you should already know why they chose you and continue to support you. These are people who have shown interest and obviously want to continue doing so, and questions to them should be more about their continued efforts and connecting with them personally so they feel more attached to the cause.

Some potential questions can include:

● How has our communication with you been?

● How likely are you to donate to us again?

● Have you participated in any of our recent fundraising events?

● What is your favorite experience with us?

● What ideas do you have that might help us further our cause?


3. Lapsed Donors

This last group consists of former donors who have not donated in a significant amount of time. Retention for nonprofits is just as important in any other line of work. You want to know why they left, and if possible, what might draw them back. This re-engagement may be the spark they need to remind them why they supported you in the first place.

Some potential questions can include:

● What can we do to regain your support?

● Have you found other causes more worth your time?

● What was the last event we organized that you attended?

● What are your preferred methods of contact/functions/opportunities for the future?