How (and Why) to Construct Donor Surveys

December 22, 2020

Post originally published on August 5th, 2019. Updated for December 22nd, 2020.

How do you construct donor surveys effectively? Are donor surveys worth your time? Do they benefit nonprofits? Keep reading for a quick 4-1-1 on the how and why of donor surveys.

How (and Why) to Construct Donor Surveys

Why Create Donor Surveys?

You can create post-donation, post-event, year-end, or peer-to-peer follow-up surveys. No matter the type of survey, these feedback forms help build impactful relationships with donors. This will continue to generate revenue for your organization.

Build relationships

Feedback from donors allows you to get to know them. You learn demographic information and get a picture of what donors like (or don’t like) about your organization. On the other side, donors feel valued and invested in your cause when asked their opinions.

Information gathered also allows you to personalize content and communications. This further strengthens the donor/nonprofit relationship. You can address less-than-stellar reviews and target new donors with similar demographics.

Generate revenue

Understanding your donor tells you what donors want. This means you can consistently give them more of it, which increases their ties to your organization or cause. Building a good relationship and boosting your reputation with donors generates more leads, a.k.a. more revenue.

Plus, surveys give donors another way to feel like they matter to your cause — surveys give donors something to do beyond giving. This connection increases ongoing giving.

How Do You Create a Donor Survey?

With all the planning and technology available, creating a donor survey proves simple. Follow these easy steps for the greatest impact:

1. Determine the questions to ask your donors

There is no right or wrong — just ask for the information you want to know.

2. Build a professional-looking survey

Use Google Forms or SurveyMonkey to create a survey without ever spending a penny. A wise use of nonprofit funds!

3. Send the survey

Mailing to an entire database is not necessary. Set parameters to narrow the pool of donors. Use parameters like recent events or donations, frequent donators, or amounts donated.

4. Review the survey data

Outsourcing this step ensures proper processing of the data. This can really help if your organization does not have an established processing team.

5. Create a follow-up strategy

Taking action on survey responses yields the maximum benefit. Clear communication about team responsibilities protects your organization.

6. Follow through with the follow-up

No strategy works without implementation. Assign tasks and make sure your team completes all follow-up.


Donor surveys create strong ties to your organization’s heart and boost giving. Get to know those who support your cause and continue to do the work you are passionate about. This helps you be more successful, so you can make more meaningful contributions to your community.

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