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Why You Should Be Asking Donors for Feedback

Every nonprofit should be asking donors for feedback. This is the only way you can learn about your donors and what they expect from you. Above all, donors will love you for that.

Asking Donors for feedback is overlooked by many nonprofit organizations. The reason is that most nonprofits don’t see the need to get the feedback from donors. In this article, I will show you why you need to be getting feedback from your donors.

Asking Donors For Feedback

First, we must establish the fact that the donor makes the nonprofit project possible, without him/her, your vision would not go far before you get frustrated and give up. When a donor decides to support your cause, he or she expects to have an experience. This could be the feeling that they’re doing something to advance the cause and also that their money or donations are making a difference.

Someone once told me that most donors give out for selfish reasons. They want to feel good about themselves and so they give to charity. They want to avoid feeling guilty that they have so much while others are struggling to even have a decent meal. So giving makes them feel better that they are helping out somehow.

But, whatever the reason for people giving, a nonprofit’s job is to make sure that the donations get to the intended destination and that the donors are well informed on the impact their donations.

So Why Should You Be Asking Donors For feedback?

As a nonprofit, you have the vision to make the world a better place but you can’t do it alone. You need so many other people helping you but most of all you need donors to fund your cause.

The question is how do you make sure that you’re doing the things that are important to them so they can continue supporting your organization?

The simple answer is that you first have to know what they expect from you and what’s important to them. Donors love to know that their donations are making an impact. They also want to have a great experience in the giving process.

Knowing certain things about your donors will help you create an experience that will make them love you, believe in your cause and give more support.

The Caution

Before we go into what kind of information you need to collect from your donors, I first need to caution you about one thing you should never ask your donors for. As a nonprofit organization, you have the vision and hopefully, your work is meeting the needs of your cause. (Sometimes we provide things we think the cause needs instead of what the cause really needs).

Even though asking your donors for feedback is great  for your growth and sustainability of your organization, it is never okay for you to say to your donors, “ The organization is asking for your Input.”  The reason you should never ask donors an open-ended question like that is because donors believe that you’re working and being driven by your cause. You’re working to meet the needs of your cause and not the needs of your donors. Your donors only want to support your cause and not their interest.

That being said, you have to be very careful when asking for donors for feedback because asking them open-ended questions can turn some donors away instead of the opposite.

Donor Demographic Information

It’s important to know your donor’s demographics. In the above text, we talked about how you as a nonprofit are responsible for providing your donors’ with yearly reports on the impact of their donations. You need to know their demographic information so that you know how best to present the reports to them. Are they elderly so you can send them hard copies? or emails for your people?.
Below are some of the questions for your donor survey:

  • What’s your Age?
  • Where do live?
  • What’s your gender?
  • What’s your Occupation?
  • What’s your income bracket? Some people ask about income but you can estimate by occupation.

Donor Participation

There is magic in meeting your donors face-face and whenever possible I would advise you to organize some meetups or some yearly donor appreciation event. Since donor feedback is so important, this will also be a great way to collect information from your donors.

Some questions may include the following:

  • Would you be interested in a live event for the nonprofit?
  • What kind of event?
  • What factors would prevent you from attending a live event?

Why do you give to our cause?

This question may seem redundant because obviously, it’s because they believe in your cause. I mean why would they give if they didn’t? You will be surprised to know the reasons people give. This is a good way to tell which donors are in it for the long ride and which ones are not. Depending on the reason, you’ll be able to pick out those that are passionate and those that are giving just because you asked them.

There’s so much you can ask here but it’s always to keep it simple and short so here are some questions you may ask:

  • How did you learn about our organization?
  • Why did you choose to give to your cause and not another?
  • What impact do you want your donations to make?

Donor’s Personal experiences related to the cause

Earlier we I talked about people giving for selfish reasons but some donors give for reasons so dear to their hearts.

For example, a donor who lost a loved one through cancer may decide to donate to a cancer cause because they’re honoring their loved one. This type of relationship is deeper than someone who gives just because they know you.

This is a one question part and I would not recommend followups. This information may be personal and the donors may not want to talk about it.

If you’re using online surveys that allow you to require an answer, this is the one you should not require. It should be the optional question.

Some people may avoid this question because they think you might want to exploit their reasons for giving and that’s ok. But, if they answer the question, you must make sure that this information remains protected at all costs.

If you’re using electronic forms, you’re fine but if you sent out paper surveys, you may want to provide extra paper for this or even make sure to mention that they can attach extra paper if the need to.

The questions can be framed as follows:

  • Do you have a personal experience with ( name the cause)? or
  • Do you or someone you know have experience with ….?

How do they like their experience as a donor?

People give for various reasons. In this section, you want to find out about their experience as a donor to your cause. This is important because you’ll learn so much about your organization and what you need to do to improve. You want to ask them about the information you provide them and if they’d like more information.

You may ask the following questions:

  • Do you read our newsletter?
  • What do you like or don’t like about our newsletter?
  • Are they ok with the way we communicate with you?
  • What’s the best way to communicate with you?
  • Do you know the impact of your gifts?

Now that you have your questions crafted, its time to decide how to distribute the survey. Please read the article getting to know your donors.

man taking a survey

The purpose this donor survey is to help you understand your donors better. This means that some donors may say things you may not like. It is important that you do not take things personally. It’s just that people want to know that their gifts are making an impact.

After reviewing the donor responses, it’s very important to remember that your number one job is to take care of that cause and that you cannot please every donor. It might help if you create three groups of donors. Major, Mid, and Small. This helps because you want to make sure that you first take care of the needs of the major donors because they give more and you want more of them.

Download a survey sample below.

Wrapping up

Whatever the reason that drives someone to give, one common aspect about donors is that they all want to make an IMPACT. Most of them have the means to help but don’t have the drive to take that step. They depend on you to go out and make that impact on their behalf. Your work as a nonprofit is to keep them motivated so they can continue to give.

Please download the survey sample and start collecting feedback from your donors, they’ll love you for it and they’ll give more to your cause.

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Nelson Musonda

Nelson Musonda

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