How to Use Your Survey Results to Give Back to Your Donors

In March, we talked about how to boost revenue with donor surveys. Although it’s important to remain mindful of donor motivations and barriers to giving, you’ll want to take a more in-depth approach in terms of donor retention. According to the 2016 Fundraising Effectiveness Report, the average donor retention rate was 46 percent.

Whether you are a church or a non-profit organization, it’s important to ask yourself — what drives donor loyalty and what will encourage donors to continue to give?

To answer these questions, turn to your donor surveys. These surveys will provide insight into what donors are most passionate about and why they donate. At the end of the day, each individual donor must feel heard — they want to feel as though they are part of something greater.

RelatedDonor Surveys — Worth It? You Decide 

If you have sent out donor surveys and now access to invaluable data — or you’re currently planning your next donor survey, keep these variables in mind.

Nurture Donor Interests and Take Feedback Seriously

What is the number one unifying factor that brings your donors together? What is shared amongst this group? It’s the reason your organization exists and it’s the reason your donors keep giving — which should remain your focal point.

Your survey results will provide you with the information you need to make more informed decisions. A 2016 Abila study found that nearly 75 percent of respondents said that they may stop donating to an organization if the content they created was poor, vague, irrelevant, or dull.

By accessing and analyzing such data, you can then focus your time and attention on areas that matter most. For example, you may want to address your current marketing and branding strategies. Learn more about how your marketing impacts donor experience here.

As your audience becomes more captivated by the vision you’re bringing to life, based on their interests and feedback, you will naturally draw their interest. At this point, let them know how they can continue interacting with your organization and how they can give.

Introduce New Programs or Community-Based Opportunities

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of using survey results is deciding on what actions to take based on donor responses. The goal here is to extract key pieces of information that specifically targets your donors. For example, you may have been unaware that so many of your members have young children, or that a significant amount of donors are newly retired and are now looking for ways to get involved in the community.

With these newfound observations, your church can create a budget that supports new programs, services, or events that meets the needs of your donors. If a large portion of your donors has young children, you could invest in your Sunday school program or plan a monthly family-fun event; and for those who are recently retired, why not develop a community give-back program?

As reported in the Donor Loyalty Study, 74 percent of people are more likely to donate after attending an event and 73 percent said they are more likely to donate after volunteering. It’s important to consider each and every opportunity that presents itself based on your donor surveys.

Most importantly, be consistent about communicating any changes with your donors. This will ensure that their survey responses matter, increasing the likelihood of future survey participation. Once you make changes, you can conduct surveys again later to test the efficacy of those changes. This is how organizations build a data-driven culture that supports continuous growth and revenue. Be sure to read up on the 10 data metrics every non-profit should be tracking.

Rectify Barriers to Giving

Now that you’ve gotten the attention of your donors and introduced ways for them to take action and get involved, rectifying barriers to giving is critical.

Keep in mind, barriers may be literal or hidden. For example, a poorly-orchestrated online giving platform is a more literal example of what may discourage donors from giving. Your donors not knowing where their money goes, though, is a bigger issue. This makes them less motivated to give. Here, the solution might be greater transparency. In another instance, there may be too many giving options, overwhelming donors. Studies show that the more options that are provided, the more someone struggles to make a decision — they may even decide not to make one. In this case, the solution might be to simplify your giving page.

Streamlining the giving process based on demographics is one great way to rectify barriers to giving. Unsurprisingly, studies show millennials prefer to give through digital channels. In your survey results, you might notice trends toward certain giving patterns in particular demographics. Use these insights to make changes and simplify your giving avenues, whether those avenues are digital or in-person.

Assess Survey Success

What determines whether your survey was a success or a failure? A variety of factors are at play here, and the right data analysis tools can go a long way. The last thing you want to do is waste your donors’ time, as well as your own resources.

Some questions to consider are:

  • Were the survey results clear and actionable?
  • Was the response rate sufficient and was there an incentive to participate?
  • Were the questions posed without bias, and in a way that yielded true insights?
  • Was the survey easy to access and simple to submit?

Generally, successful surveys have a well-defined objective and a large enough audience size to be sure the data is statistically significant. Tools that allow for chart and graph generation can help you look at your survey results from different angles. In addition, a tool that generates reports will make it easier to share survey results with your staff, volunteers, and donors.

Even if your survey wasn’t a huge success, learning how to structure, publish, and analyze the results is in itself, a victory. With these newfound insights, you can ensure that moving forward, you create surveys that maximize intelligent data in order to support your church, as well as your donors.

Now is the time to take action on survey findings to create a win-win, capitalizing on your own best interests, all while supporting the needs of your donors and community as a whole. After all, Winston Churchill said it best, “We make a living by what we get.. but we make a life by what we give.”

Ready to take your donor experience to new heights? If so, please contact us today!

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