Why your nonprofit’s donor survey could be causing more harm than good

Thinking about sending out a donor survey?

If so, be sure to use the survey responses properly so you ‘speak’ personally and relevantly to each individual respondent over time with ongoing cultivation.

You’ve got to show ‘em that you know ’em!

If you don’t do that, you could be causing harm.

Our data has shown that supporters who take a survey but get no follow-up (or only continue to get the same old one-size fits all junk) actually give less and sometimes even remove your organization from their estate plans.

As a result, at MarketSmart, we no longer offer a standalone survey product to our customers.

We dug deep into the data about 18 months ago. We wanted to see how the customers using ongoing cultivation did compared to those that failed to cultivate their supporters properly.

The data told us that cultivation is key.

Now, we only conduct surveys for customers if they agree to a plan for highly personalized and relevant ongoing cultivation that proves you truly care… and proves you aren’t just interested in taking your supporters’ survey responses from them.

It ain’t about you!

Donor surveys should not be considered research projects and they should not be designed to collect information FOR YOU.

Rather, they should be used to ensure that you better SERVE your supporters so they can realize the best versions of themselves through philanthropy.

Make no mistake… If you fail to GIVE TO THEM (but, rather, only TAKE their responses from them), your supporters will remember that. Then many will demonstrate their distaste for your crass, selfish approach with their feet.

Bottom line:

Be careful with donor surveys. After all, they are just tools. And tools can be used to build things or tear them down (when employed improperly). In the end, donor surveys only really raise money if they truly are designed FOR YOUR SUPPORTERS, not for you.


Related Posts:

>> The case for marketing automation: Why nonprofit fundraising operations should automate tasks to optimize staff performance

>> How marketing automation helps nonprofits raise more major gifts, planned gifts and mid-level gifts at lower cost

>> Can your nonprofit organization afford to invest in marketing automation?

>> Do you really need MORE gift officers to raise more money?

>> 3 types of marketing automation fundraising operations need to understand (including one you really need to deploy right away) 

>>Top 10 ways marketing automation helps nonprofits raise more money for less

>> How to put marketing automation to work for your nonprofit’s fundraising


Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kelley R.J. Tetzlaff
Kelley R.J. Tetzlaff
2 years ago

Excellent advice based on real data! Nice work Greg and team, thank you.

Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!