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How to Design a Useful Customer Survey for Your Nonprofit

Developing a picture of your current constituents is critically important to creating a marketing plan for your nonprofit organization, and a good survey can be your camera. If you’re going to go to the effort to conduct a survey, it needs to have a purpose and must be clear, direct and useful. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • If your survey is long, fewer people will complete it.

  • You probably want to include some multiple-choice questions, but be sure to have one or two open-ended questions as well so people have a chance to speak their minds without being limited to formulated responses.

  • Be careful not to ask leading questions — questions that suggest the answers you hope to hear from constituents.

  • Explore different kinds of information by asking how convenient and appealing your events and services are and by asking your patrons what other kinds of programs they would enjoy.

  • Ask your current constituents how they found out about you. The answers tell you which forms of your current marketing are effective and begin to suggest how you may best further spread the word about your programs.

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