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Creating an Effective Donor Survey Email As A Non-Profit

Donor retention is one of the biggest concerns of non-profits. However, every year, about half of your valuable donors turn their backs on your organization and never come back. What are you doing wrong? To find this out, why not asked the donors themselves.

Sending donor survey emails is fast becoming a trend and for good reasons. Asking your donors simple and short questions cannot just improve donor experience, it can also boost your revenue. When donors know you value their opinions, they tend to stick longer with your organizations.

Try Sending Donor Survey Emails

A lot of non-profits are now sending email surveys to their donors to ask for feedback. Services like SurveyMonkey and Wufoo are just two viable options you can use to survey several people at the same time. Make sure you work in relevant questions like how donors feel about your organization, what prompted them to give, what they like and what parts need improvements.

Here are some of the principles that your donor survey email needs to incorporate:


If you want to conduct a donor survey, you need to first figure out what kind of information you need to get from your donor base and how you will put the feedback to use. Simply put, do not send a donor survey email if you do not intend to act upon the donors’ feedback and make some strategic changes in your organization. You need to focus on what you want the survey to achieve. It is important to write down your goals so that you can determine whether your survey was successful or not.


If you have a vast database of donors, they will have come from diverse backgrounds. In this case, a one-size-fits-all kind of email is a huge mistake. You need to make your survey targeted and personalized to the right kind of donor subsets.

There are several ways you can segment your audience:

Donation amount: For example, categorizing donors who give $10 a month only and asking them why they don’t give more.

Donation frequency: You can segment donors who only prefer to give once a year.

Donation time:  You can separate a subset of donors that give only during Christmas time.

Donor age: You can pose a question to a segment of donor younger than 25 years of age about what prompts them to donate.

Donation method: You can pick out donors who refuse to pay through online means.

Short and Simple

People are more likely to read through and respond to donor survey emails if they are short and uncomplicated. Try not to put more than 10 questions in your survey and even less, if possible. Your questions should be close-ended and should preferably give donors to answer in yes/no format, MCQ format or a checklist format. These questions are easy to answer and also reduce the chances of ambiguity.


No matter what tool you use to send your donor survey email, make sure donors can easily understand it, it works well with all internet browsers and is responsive so that even mobile users can take your survey on the phone.

Also if you are sending donors follow-up reminders, make sure to exclude those who have already completed the survey. This can be very annoying for donors and you do not want to annoy your donors.


Research found that incentivizing your appeal can increase response rate by 5-20%. However, you fdo not want to send incentives to every one of your donors. Incentives work well with lapsed donors who may need a push to come back, or if you have a longer survey, or if you are reaching out to donors who have a potential of giving you a big gift.

Your gifts can be anything from a gift card to an event ticket; however, don’t make them so big that they cost your non-profit a lot of money, which would be counterproductive.

Although there are several other rules that can help you craft a wonderful donor survey email, these principles alone can give you a lot of insight into the mind of your donors and help you achieve your non-profit’s goals.

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