For more information on designing a survey, check out our emPower Tools!
Reasons to Use Surveys
- Client Feedback: You can use a survey to see if you are accomplishing your goals–are your clients getting the services they need? How satisfied are they with your program and/or staff? Improve your programs and measure your success by using surveys to gather feedback from the communities you serve.
- Community Needs Assessment: You can use surveys, or a series of surveys, to understand the needs and priorities of your community. You can have community members rank what is most important to them, tell you what barriers they are facing right now, and so much more–the possibilities are endless.
- Program Evaluation: Is your program creating the outcomes you hoped? How well? What were the unexpected impacts of your program? How can your program improve? Use surveys to measure the impacts of your program, so you can be responsive to your stakeholders and community. You can even use surveys as a pretest and posttest to measure the growth/changes you are impacting.
- Event Feedback: Use surveys to get feedback on your training, workshops, forums, and other community events. Were people comfortable? Were they heard? Did they feel engaged? Did they have fun? What aspects did participants like best and least, and why? Improve your events with feedback.
- Strategic Planning: Use surveys to learn more about the needs and goals of your staff, community and stakeholders to help you make informed decisions about your goals and missions.
- Employee Feedback: How is your staff performing? What feedback does your staff have for you? You can use surveys to gather feedback, as well as to gather accomplishments to show off all of the great things you and your staff are doing.
What to Look For in a Survey Platform
- Branding: You may want the opportunity to include your logo and/or customized text so your respondents know the survey is coming from your organization. It will make your survey look more professional, and support your other branding efforts.
- Use limits: You will want to find a platform that is the right size for you. If you want to send your survey to 300 community members, make sure there will not be a limit of 100 responses. If you want to ask 12 questions, make sure there isn’t too small of a limit on the number of questions you want to ask.
- Question types: Some questions should ask for your respondents to choose one answer, while others should ask for them to choose all that apply. Some responses will be short (like asking for a name) while others will be long (comments on an event). You will want to make sure you are able to ask questions the way you want to ask them by looking at a variety of question types.
- Piping or skip logic: You may want the ability to allow respondents to skip questions that do not apply to them, or you may want to pipe different people into different parts of a survey. Look to see if your platform allows you to customize your survey in those ways, if you need them.
- Export Options: What are you going to do with the responses? How will you use your data once they are collected? You will want to make sure you can export the data to Excel, Google Sheets, or a format that you can use to analyze your results. Some tools come with the ability to do some initial analyses in the program, but you will want to make sure you can access the data to use them in all the ways you need.
Free and Low-Cost Survey Platforms
Note: Prices are current as of November 2018. Prices may change! Please explore each platform’s website, and contact the company with any specific questions you have. This is not an endorsement of any of these products, just suggestions for further exploration.
Google Forms (Mountain View, CA, USA)
- Free, with unlimited questions, responses and surveys
- Compatible with other Google products, like Google Sheets
- Customizable with photos, colors and logo. There are also themes, or templates, to help you style your survey.
- Many question types, including the most commonly used types
- Page branching and skip logic
- Easy to create and edit surveys
- Allows you to add collaborators to work on surveys as a team
SoGo Survey (Herndon, VA, USA)
- Has a free Non-Profit License (equivalent to $25/month package)
- Free version has limits on surveys, questions and responses
- Paid version (free for non-profits) has more question types, piping of questions, lets you add a logo and allows for multilingual surveys.
- 7-day free trial of paid package–great way to see if the free Non-Profit License will work for your organization!
QuestionPro (San Francisco, CA, USA)
- Will upgrade non-profit users to a free Corporate-level license (usually $75/month) for a shout out to QuestionPro on their homepage (learn more here)
- Free package limited to 10 questions/survey and 100 responses/month
- Corporate package (free for non-profits) has unlimited surveys and questions, customization, skip logic, piping, multilingual surveys and much more.
SurveyGizmo (Boulder, CO, USA)
- Has non-profit pricing (must contact them for quote)
- 40+ question types, branding including colors, fonts and logos, templates to get you started
- Data visualization and export tools, for use with various databases, like Salesforce and Google Sheets
- Can start with a free trial to see if SurveyGizmo will work for you
Survey Legend (Malmö, Sweden)
- Nonprofits get a 35% discount for annual packages, and 15% for monthly
- Has a very limited free package, and a limited Pro package ($12/month or $145/year)
- Starting with the Business package ($21/month or $255/year), there is customization such as adding logos and custom backgrounds, as well as the ability to export data
Survey Monkey (San Mateo, CA, USA)
- Basic plan is free but very limited (10 questions per survey)
- Paid packages: Can pay monthly (Standard package, $37/month) or save by paying annually (Advantage package, $32/month)
- Can customize logo, colors and survey URL
- Can export to use with Excel or PowerPoint
- Some skip logic and piping, depending on package
- Does not have a discount for non-profits