Why you should think more than twice about allowing anonymous responses in donor surveys

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Sometimes people ask us why we don’t allow donors to be anonymous when taking donor surveys.

I guess they actually believe donors want to be anonymous. I think that’s probably because they (the fundraisers) might prefer to be anonymous. But their preferences have nothing to do with the donors’.
Trust me on this. Your donors want you to know them individually.
We’ve found that they actually want to be engaged individually and personally. They want to be heard and know that you heard them. They want to enter into dialogue with the charities they care deeply about albeit usually (at least at first) at arms-length.
They don’t want to be anonymous donor ID numbers. They don’t want their responses to go into a black hole.
That’s why we’ve learned not to ‘bother’ them with opportunities to be anonymous.
We’ve also learned that it’s important to tabulate the results of donor surveys and offer them to the donors in a report (whether they took the survey or not). 

Donor survey report effort provided by MarketSmart

Here’s an example of a report on a landing page we created for a customer and provided to their donors on our platform

Asking supporters to take your survey without reporting back what you learned from them basically implies:
“We are the Wizard of Oz and we pull the levers behind the curtain. We want you to spend your valuable time giving us some feedback, but we don’t want you to know whether it really made a difference, was used, etc. That’s simply none of your business! Thank you. Good-bye!”
So, the next time you hear someone say you shouldn’t coerce donors to be identified when they take a survey, send them this post. Your donors will be glad you did.

Related Posts:

>>4 big reasons why you should not ask for money when you survey your supporters
>>Top 10 ways you can benefit from conducting a donor survey

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