When you first start planning a fundraising campaign, does a donor survey come to mind? If not, maybe it should. Donor surveys can be tremendously useful in planning a fundraising campaign so it raises the maximum amount for your project.

Let’s say you are a private high school looking to raise funds to replace grass athletic fields with artificial turf. Before mailing out your fundraiser, you decide to survey alumni and friends of the school who have donated to capital projects in the past. Questions might include:

  • Are you aware that our school is investing in an artificial turf field?
  • What do you think are the most important benefits of this investment?
  • Are you concerned about any health risks associated with artificial turf?
  • Do you see any competitive advantages of artificial turf over traditional grass fields?
  • Do you know whether any our school’s direct competitors already have artificial turf?

Surveys can be sent in print or by email, and the answers can help you plan your next marketing steps.

For example, if donors are aware of the performance benefits of artificial turf but don’t know about other benefits (such as reduced maintenance costs to the school, lower water usage, and reduced use of agricultural chemicals), this gives you talking points about the value of their donations they may not be aware of.

Likewise, if donors know the competitive advantages of artificial turf but are unaware of how many of your school’s competitors already have them, this allows you to position their donations as a way to help your school stay competitive.

Or perhaps donors have misconceptions about the health hazards of artificial turf based on their knowledge of older turf products. This allows you to discuss advances in technology and alleviate potential concerns before misconceptions can derail your fundraising efforts before they get started.

The issues and questions will be different for every organization. But what stays the same is how a simple survey can provide critical insights that can improve your messaging and get that project funded more quickly!