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Survey Says! Micro-Surveying to Get Donor Feedback

By Sarah Sims

We at the DRG Group are big believers in donor surveys and regularly implement them in our own shops. Broad-scale donor surveys are complicated, take time, and are a true science. But, doing “micro-surveying” on specific smaller-scale projects can be very enlightening as well – and are less time and resource intensive!

My favorite survey we do here at UF is our annual endowment report (AER) survey. We include a hard copy of the survey in every AER packet and also provide the link for the recipient to complete online. Given that we have made extensive changes to the reporting process and the report components in the past three years, it has been incredibly important to us to keep the pulse on donor satisfaction rates. This annual score has become one of the leading metrics our Donor Relations team utilizes when making decisions and evaluating our own successes or shortcomings. It is our team’s goal to retain an annual donor satisfaction rate of 95%...and at the end of the day, we are evaluated on that figure. A solid, well-designed, and consistent survey is vital to our success in this space!

In order to get a variety of feedback, we break down the questions into key areas – the most important being overall satisfaction score. This provides an annual baseline to identify trends and changes and serves as the basis of our annual 95% goal.

But, while having the opportunity at hand, we also try to get to donor motivations and inspirations. This not only provides us important insights, but possible future donor stories and communications content.

And lastly, we use this as an annual mechanism to update records and reporting relationships.

This is just one example of micro-surveying to get at donor satisfaction in a key area or in response to one important initiative. The content can vary slightly from year to year as long as core overall satisfaction rate (or NPS, net promoter score) is kept intact to maintain your baseline rating. But the possibilities are endless – you can do this for a specific event, a new initiative, impact reporting, a newsletter, and on and on!

Don’t be afraid to ask your donors important questions. Give them the mechanism to share their thoughts, ideas, and reactions in frequent, easy to access manners. Need some more ideas? Visit our sample survey library here!

If you are looking to do a comprehensive survey, contact us, we can help you design and execute a custom survey to fit your organization’s needs!


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