COVID-19 Donor Surveys Now

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA

Have you heard experts telling you that you should “Lead With Empathy” during COVID-19? I agree, but how do you do it? What’s the method that works best with donors and/or foundation funders?

I suggest you ask them by sending a short survey! Donor surveys are powerful right now because, due to CV19, many people are home and engaged online.

Ask For Their Input

Donors commonly say they did not give again because they disliked the way they were asked or treated. Don’t let this happen to you. A donor survey can reveal their preferred means of communication (e.g., phone, text, e-mail, snail mail), as well as preferred times (evening, weekends) and their issues that may need to be addressed. Then, integrate this information into your donor database and respect your donors’ expressed wishes. This will limit the risk of irritating them.

Do you know your donor’s age? If you intend on cultivating and engaging them for legacy giving, you must know their age. A donor survey can help you secure their DOB plus other vital information.

Ask Just A Few Questions

Here’s an example of a donor survey.

Crafted as a personal note to the donor, add your own opening sentence at the start of the survey that thanks the donors for their support, then explains  why you’re sending the survey and why the donor should return it. Say what’s in it for them!

1. How are you doing and how are you managing through COVID-19? We’re thinking of you and would like to be of support.

Would you like a phone call or a visit with us? (check all that apply)

    Yes, please call me at ______________________________________________

    Yes, I would enjoy an online video visit, please contact me.

2. I would like to do more to support [Organization Name]’s mission. (check all that apply)

   Find out about leaving a gift to [Organization] in my estate plans.
   Join [Organization]’s monthly donor program.
   Host a home or workplace gathering to support our mission.

Please share with us anything you would like us to be aware of regarding your impressions of [Organization Name] and how to improve our impact. We welcome your input. __________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________.

3. Is our information correct? Please complete so that we can confirm.

Name

Address

Best Phone #

Preferred E-mail Address

Full Date of Birth

4. Do you make your charitable gifts through a donor advised fund?

                  Yes

                  No

5. Would you consider adding this sentence to your estate plans?

“I give, devise, and bequeath to the {insert legal name of your nonprofit, an [insert name of the state in which you’re incorporated] nonprofit corporation, the sum of _________ Dollars ($____________) OR an amount equal to _____________ percent (_______%) of the value of my estate at the time of my death.”

                  Yes

                  No

Some donor surveys are much longer, with up to 30 questions. Surveys with 15 questions or less have a higher completion rate that those that are longer. No matter the length, make sure the survey is professionally copyedited before sending it.

We welcome your comments about this post on the LAPA blog.

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