How to Design a Useful Customer Survey for Your Nonprofit
Developing a picture of the current clients of your nonprofit is critically important to creating a marketing plan, 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 and direct. 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.
Be careful not to ask leading questions, or questions that suggest the answers that you hope to hear.
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 consumers 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.
If you discover that your clients like your program offerings but find the times you offer them inconvenient, do you want to experiment with new times and formats? For instance, do consumers find Sunday afternoons (when the library is closed) to be more convenient?
What other barriers inhibit their involvement? Maybe mothers with toddlers want to come to your lectures but need childcare. Perhaps you charge a modest admission fee for lectures but students find that charge to be too high.
One of your most difficult marketing tasks is analyzing the very basis of what you do and how you do it. You may feel that your historical society’s close working relationship with libraries is its greatest asset, but the surveys may point out that those libraries are cold and musty during winter months. You may do better by taking over a neighborhood restaurant, creating a warmer atmosphere — even offering hot gingerbread and beverages.