Three Questions You Can’t Miss on Your Donor Survey

Three Questions You Can’t Miss on Your Donor Survey 1

We all know that a donor survey can be a vital tool in fundraising and planned giving. That said, figuring out the details can get a little fuzzy. What exactly are we trying to learn? 

When it comes to a donor survey, the 3 P’s are a good place to start: person, passion, and preference. We want to know about who they are, their stage of life, the reasons they care about our work, and the way they prefer to support it. Surveys are also a great way to gather stories and testimonials from supporters (and we know donor stories work!). 

With that in mind, here are a few key questions that we at Canopy have found are often overlooked on a donor survey. The next time you create a survey, you’ll want to be sure to include them. 

  1. An “Excellence scale” question. Statistically speaking, people who rate you as “Excellent” are also excellent prospects for a legacy gift. Be sure to include an “N/A” or “Not Aware” option, and offer an opportunity to write an explanation. Some examples of an excellence scale question:

    “How would you rate [regional food bank] on addressing hunger in our community?”

    “How would you rate [animal shelter’s] use of financial resources?
  2. An awareness question. “How did you first become aware of our work?” A volunteer has seen the impact of your work firsthand, has a sense of community, and is unlikely to stop supporting you. Someone who learned about you through a friend or family member starts their support at a higher level of trust and confidence in what you do and how you do it. It’s also helpful to know if donors are coming to you through fundraisers, community events or other avenues so you have data on how best to spend your time and budget.
  3. A “willing to share” question. Donors who are willing to tell other people about your work or their support for it are strong prospects for a legacy gift. They are also your ambassadors—equip them! Since we know that friend and family introductions boost confidence in your work, this is a crucial thing to know. You can ask it in a scale version (How willing are you to share what we do with other people?) or as a yes/no question (Have you shared or would you share stories of what we do with friends or family members?). 

Don’t wait. This is a great time to start getting to know your donors better! Get started with Canopy today.


Looking for a comprehensive resource? Download the FREE Planned Giving Growth Plan to learn about goal setting, identifying prospects, following up on leads, and tracking your progress.