In the first part of the Feedback Series, we discussed the importance of feedback, but how should your organization gather this feedback? One inexpensive solution is to create and distribute a survey! At GlobalGiving, we regularly use surveys to determine what Project Leaders like you would like to see in the future, what is working currently, and what needs immediate attention. We even use surveys internally to evaluate how our staff feels about our environment and effectiveness. In this post, we will discuss five lessons that GlobalGiving has learned about collecting feedback from surveys and share some specific improvements that we are making to GlobalGiving as a result of your feedback!
- Know Your Respondents to Determine the Best Delivery Method
Surveys can be created and distributed in a variety of ways. As an online crowdfunding community, we find that emailed surveys are the best method for us, as they are the most ubiquitous. But if you would like to evaluate your program’s effectiveness in a remote part of the world, an in-person survey, taken by your staff, may be the best method for your project. It is important to consider who you are not reaching through your chosen method and how this translates to how far you can extend your data. Both online and in-person surveys have advantages and disadvantages, so be sure that the potential response rates, biases, and costs align with the goal of your study.
Our Annual Project Leader survey was sent out via email in April 2015 and had a 21% response rate, which is higher than previous years but still not quite as high as we would like. We will be continuing to test delivery methods and other variables to increase the response rate.
For tips on how to create and administer the best survey for your organization, check out this Penn State presentation.
- Experiment with Different Question Types
Surveys often require a mix of question types to get the most actionable results. GlobalGiving is experimenting with using a variety of survey question types, to see which combinations both resonate most strongly with Project Leaders, as well as give us the most useful, concrete, actionable data. We are learning how to craft questions that make sense to respondents, and that help us most accurately align Project Leader priorities with our own mission.
- Ask Action-Oriented Questions to Create Priorities
We asked some very specific, action oriented multiple-choice questions. For example, we asked survey participants to indicate which of the following improvements to our website was of highest priority to their organization:
- Add photos to thank you notes
- Customize recurring donation options
- Embed video in project reports
- Customize project report templates
- Invite my donors to opt-in to receive my organization’s newsletters
The results showed that 35.4% of respondents wanted an opt in option for newsletters— wow! With a whopping one-third of our partners requesting this feature, newsletter opt-ins has become a top priority.
In addition, 20% of respondents wanted photos added to thank you notes, and 17% wanted to customize recurring donation options. We receive regular requests for changes to the website and we struggle to determine how to best allocate our limited resources to meet the demands of our partners. This question helped us prioritize our technology requests, so that we can make the most desired changes within the next year.
- Use Data Analysis to Inform Long-Term Strategy
In our most recent survey to Project Leaders, we asked the following question:
“On a scale of 0 (disagree completely) to 10 (agree completely), how strongly do you agree with the following statement?
GlobalGiving makes my organization more effective overall.”
Project Leaders who took this survey gave, overall, a fairly low score to this question, which tells us that the majority of PLs strongly disagreed with the premise that GlobalGiving currently makes them a more effective organization overall.
However, we also asked the following question:
Which of the following long-term improvements to GlobalGiving’s services is the highest priority for your organization?
- Website in my language
- Transactions in my currency
- More sophisticated tools to become a more effective organization
- GlobalGiving office near me
- Alternative payment methods (e.g. mobile payment
The most frequently selected answer here was “More sophisticated tools to become a more effective organization.” This tells us that while Project Leaders do not currently think that GlobalGiving makes them more effective overall, they still place a high priority on GlobalGiving supplying effectiveness tools and training. We now know that we should allocate resources towards offering more effectiveness tools, and that we should continue to poll Project Leaders using that NPS question to ensure that we are improving. By pairing these two questions, GlobalGiving is able to use data to make decisions about resources, programming, and tool development that are aligned with PL priorities and perceptions of GlobalGiving services.
- Open Ended Questions Reveal New Needs and Ideas
The inclusion of open-ended questions within your survey can spark new ideas and thoughts that may not have been revealed otherwise. For instance, in our annual Project Leader Survey, we asked the question: “Is there anything else you would like us to know about your experience with GlobalGiving?”. By asking this question, we were able to learn just how important it was to our partners to have more donor data, such as donor’s gender or geographical location. As a result, we are now looking into what information GlobalGiving can and should provide in the future.
Tips and Tricks to Implementing Strong Surveys
- Administering surveys periodically over the length of a program provides valuable data on longitudinal trends; you can see over time how changes in your programming are being received by the community.
- Make sure that you communicate what changes you are making and how you are incorporating feedback, so that your respondents feel heard and continue to be actively engaged.
- Answer feedback as quickly as possible. The longer that you push off addressing the feedback, the less relevant the feedback will be to your operations.
While surveys offer a great option for your organization to collect and review feedback, it may not always be the best fit for you. Stayed tuned in the Feedback series for details on other methods of feedback and our experiences with these tools.
Apply to the 2015 Feedback Fund!
Don’t forget that you still have time to apply for the Feedback Fund! GlobalGiving is offering technical support and up to $2,000 in funding to organizations working to improve their feedback practice (this could include using surveys!). Learn more by watching this webinar or reading our blog post on the fund. Complete this application form and the Feedback Labs quiz by August 7th to apply. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
This post was written in collaboration with Tia Donjon, Program Team Fellow.