LIN: Developing a More Robust Survey

LIN is a recipient of our 2015 Feedback Fund. Recently they shared this insight with us.

Since 2009, the LIN Center for Community Development (LIN) has supported grassroots, not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) working to build stronger communities in and near Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. Stakeholder feedback has always been important to LIN. We integrate it into our programs.

As a small organization with limited survey design experience, LIN often questioned whether our feedback tools were sufficiently robust. Fortunately, a grant from GlobalGiving’s 2015 Feedback Fund gave the LIN Team an opportunity to make some exciting improvements!

Although we realized there was potential for an online survey tool to improve visual clarity, and reduce data entry errors, it was a different experience to actually be guided through the design process. For example, when I entered our first “ranking” question into SurveyGizmo, I was asked to select a “Question Type”. This feature offered a large variety of options, categorized into “Basic”, “Intermediate” and “Advanced” question types.


Even better, after selecting a question type, I was presented with a Getting Started Guide, which summarizes the purpose of each question type and a link to more information.


The information found on the “Learn More” page either assures you that the question type you selected is correct or it helps you understand why it was not the right question type so you can select another option.

Meanwhile, the “Common Answer Library” allowed us to mainstream the answer options we included so that, in the future, LIN can compare our results to those of other organizations asking similar questions. There was also the potential to import our surveys into a separate site,, which opens the door to comparative analysis regarding our impact. LIN is learning more about the Feedback Commons and sharing our survey data for this purpose.

With thousands of organizations conducting tens of thousands of surveys around the world, one way we can be more effective is to use a guided process to design and refine our surveys. For example, it is important to use “basic” questions with people who are not used to answering surveys, or for whom language, literacy, and time are a barrier.

This is an example of a GlobalGiving organization that Listens, Acts, and Learns.


Marc Maxmeister is part of GlobalGiving's impact team.

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