A donor survey is a piece of research that asks people who are interested in supporting a cause or organization to answer questions about their preferences and concerns. Each question is designed to elicit information that will help the cause or organization understand its audience better, which can then help them make decisions about how to best serve their needs.

What is a Donor Survey?

The definition of a donor survey is a tool used by nonprofits to collect information from potential donors. In short, it’s a way to ask strangers some questions about their money (and why they’re giving it).

The purpose of this survey is simple: nonprofits need to know how much money is coming in and where the money is coming from so they can plan for the future. If you have an event planned for the next few months, you’ll need to know how much it’s going to cost if you want to budget for it. 

If you’re thinking about starting your own nonprofit, you’ll want to know how many people are interested in donating before planning out your cause and getting started on building awareness and support. A donor survey can also help nonprofits figure out what kind of relationship they have with their current donors.

If there are things that are working well but aren’t working as well as they could be (like too high fees), then figuring that out can help you decide if those fees need changing or if maybe there might be other ways that people could contribute instead of paying them.

The goal of the donor survey is to identify and understand the needs of current and potential donors so that they can be better served by the nonprofit organization. A donor survey can be conducted by an outside consultant or volunteer, or it can be created in-house by the nonprofit organization. 

The results of a donor survey can be used to determine how best to serve those who give money to your organization and what changes you should make in order to improve your service delivery.


Benefits of Conducting a Survey

There are many benefits to conducting a donor survey.

  • One of the first is that it gives you a way to get feedback on the current state of your organization and its donors. This allows you to see what your donors like and don’t like, what they want more of, and how they feel about themselves as donors. This can help you improve your programs and services, as well as develop new ones.
  • Another benefit is that it helps you build relationships with your donors. In some cases, this can mean helping them access certain types of resources or providing them with information about other opportunities in their community. You may also be able to provide them with free giveaways that they could use at their events or make donations to your cause.
  • A donor survey can also help you find out how much money your organization needs in order to meet its goals and objectives. You may be surprised by the answer and even more so if it turns out that your budget is adequate! This can be helpful when planning future fundraising events and campaigns, so you don’t waste time on activities that are less likely to result in revenue.  
  • Finally, donor surveys are a great opportunity for your organization to hear directly from its supporters about their ideas for improving the group’s services or programs. The feedback you receive can help shape the future of your organization and make sure that it continues to thrive in today’s world.


How To Create a Donor Survey?

The first step to conducting a donor survey is to identify the questions you want to ask. It can be helpful to come up with a few different options and then narrow them down based on your needs. It’s also possible that the organization will already have some questions prepared for their donors, which could make it easier for you to get started.

Once you have a list of questions, it’s time to actually write them down. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect, just try to keep it simple and clear. 

You don’t want to confuse donors or make them feel uncomfortable answering questions that are too personal or difficult. Once your survey is ready, you’ll need to send it out to people who will be able to answer it.

This could include direct mailers or email blasts targeted at specific groups of people in your organization’s database. If possible, try sending out different versions of this survey so that everyone gets the chance to answer it.

This way they’ll be more likely to respond if they’re interested in hearing more about what their peers think about certain topics.


Donor Survey Questions To Avoid

Here are some tips for avoiding the common pitfalls of donor surveys:

  • Don’t write leading questions. You want to get answers from your donors, but you don’t want them to feel like they’re being asked to do something. Make sure your questions are open-ended so that your donors can answer however they want without feeling pressured into doing anything.
  • Avoid double-barreled questions. If you have two questions in a row that ask for the same information, it can seem like you’re asking for the same thing twice. Instead, try to separate different pieces of information by asking about one piece at a time and then revisit it later on in the survey if necessary. For example: “What did you think of our latest campaign?” and “How did that campaign make you feel?”
  • No “absolutes” or “yes/no” questions: The answers to these types of questions can be interpreted differently based on how they’re phrased. Instead, try asking open-ended questions such as “What are some ways in which…?” or “What do you think would be an effective way…?”
  • Avoid jargon and get to the point. Don’t use jargon or buzzwords in your donor surveys as they may confuse donors who aren’t familiar with these terms, making it difficult for them to understand exactly what you mean when you write them down on their surveys! Use plain English instead of technical terms that sound complicated or confusing


Donor Survey Questions To Ask

Here is a list of some of the best Donor Survey Questions that will help you find out what your donors want and how they feel about the contributions they make.

  1. How often do you want to donate?
  2. What do you like best about this organization?
  3. Why do you choose to donate your time and money to us?
  4. How much of an impact do you feel your donation has?
  5. What other causes do you support?
  6. How would you rate your donation experience?
  7. Do you have any questions or concerns about our organization?


Ways To Increase Your Donor Survey Completion Rates

As a nonprofit, you know that increasing your donor survey completion rates is one of the most important things you can do to improve your bottom line. But how can you do it? Here are some tips for increasing your donor survey completion rates:

  1. Make sure that your survey is easy to complete. Remember that people are busy, and if they don’t feel like they have the time to fill out a survey, they’re not going to bother. So make sure that whatever questions or prompts you use are short and clear and easy to understand
  2. Offer incentives (like free pizza) for completing surveys. It’s not just about getting people to fill out surveys; it’s also about getting them excited about doing so, which will lead them to be more likely to give back than those who aren’t incentivized).
  3. Make sure that the people who answer your surveys are the right people (for example, by checking whether their email address is already in your database). And if they’re not the right people, ask them why they answered in certain ways so that you can improve upon what worked well for them before (or find someone else who is).



A survey is the best way to increase your donor survey completion rates because it allows you to get feedback about how people feel about your product and service. For a survey to be successful, it needs to be easy to fill out. If it takes too much time or effort, people may not bother. 

The most important thing is to know your audience. You need to know what they’re looking for in a donor survey, and you need to know how they respond to different types of questions.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re not just asking tough questions, you should probably also provide some lighthearted content, too. Donors often say that they want to see that you care about them and their experience at your company, so try to make it as fun as possible.


  • Olayemi Jemimah Aransiola
  • on 7 min read


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