5 ways charities can use SMS surveys to boost donations and help more people

Survey ideas and templates for charities and nonprofit organisations wanting to boost supporter engagement and introduce more efficient ways to manage volunteers.

17 March 2021

Though every sector has had to adapt to changing circumstances and restrictions throughout the pandemic, the situation for charities and nonprofit organisations is relatively unique. Not only have these organisations had to implement new protocols to continue operating safely, the economic impact of Covid-19 has left some supporters unable to donate and more people requiring help. 

Many charities have been innovative, with British Legion’s ‘Poppies in the post’ being just one great example of how nonprofits have driven donations in the current climate. However, reduced in-person interactions has presented challenges, both in terms of coordinating volunteers and raising essential funds. So how can charities and nonprofits boost donations, engage with their community and better organise volunteers? 

Survey ideas for charities and nonprofit organisations

Surveys can be a great tool for collecting data and promoting engagement, as they enable organisations to gather information en masse in a relatively structured way. Clearly, to be effective, charities need to be able to reach and receive responses from the majority of their supporters. This is where utilising SMS for delivery could prove particularly valuable, as SMS boasts a response rate 209% higher than other communication channels such as email and social media. Additionally, as 15% of nonprofits worldwide already regularly send SMS to donors and supporters, it’s a channel audiences are already very familiar with.

There are many different types of information organisations can obtain from surveys, but to provide a little inspiration, we’ve listed 5 common goals we help our nonprofit customers achieve with SMS surveys

  1. Collate supporter feedback
  2. Drive community engagement and boost donations
  3. Generate ideas for future campaigns
  4. Data cleansing 
  5. Organise and coordinate volunteers

Collate supporter feedback

Feedback is crucial to all organisations as it enables brands to identify what they are doing well and what could be improved. Charities and nonprofits can use surveys to obtain feedback on things like volunteer organisation, events and recent campaigns, all of which can be used to improve processes and creatives moving forward. 

  • Thank you for volunteering at our latest event. So we can continue improving the experience for volunteers, we have a few questions. 
    • On a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the most positive, how would you rate the level of communication you received as a volunteer prior to the event?
    • On a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the most positive, how would you rate the overall organisation of the event?
    • Based on your most recent experience with *Insert organisation name*, would you be interested in volunteering with us again? Please reply YES or NO.

Drive community engagement and boost donations

Particularly in situations where an individual has donated their hard earned money or a cause is close to someone’s heart, they’ll likely be interested in fundraising progress, future events and perhaps even how they can get more involved. So sending regular, relevant updates to supporters is a simple way to keep individuals engaged. By asking individuals what types of updates they’d be most interested in, you can ensure that they only receive the most relevant messages. 

What’s more, you can use surveys to collate additional information, enabling your organisation to gauge which supporters are most likely to increase or continue their donations. 

  • Thank you for your kind donation. Every penny collected goes towards *insert charity cause*. If you’d like to be updated on the progress of this fundraiser please reply YES. 
  • Hi *Name*, we’d like to thank you once again for your volunteering efforts over the weekend. If you’d like more details on future events and how you can get involved, please reply YES. 
  • *Charity / nonprofit name*: Hi *Name*, we’re excited to announce that we will be launching some new products to our website next week! All profits will go towards helping us *insert charity cause*. If you’d like to be notified when these products go live and any additions in the future, please reply YES.  

Generate ideas for future campaigns

Many charities we’ve worked with have had great success reaching out to their audience to generate ideas for future campaigns; and this activity has the added benefit of engaging supporters even prior to launching a campaign.

  • *Charity name*: We are planning for the year ahead and as a valued supporter, we would love your input.
    • Are there any types of fundraising you would like to see us do more of? For example, bake sales. 
    • Have you recently donated to any other charities? Please could you reply with brief details, for example: YES, Homeless shelter. If not, please reply NO.
      • If yes: Thank you. Please can you provide details of where you saw details for this fundraiser. For example, Facebook. 
    • We are planning a number of events for 2022. Which of the following venues would be your preference: *Location 1*, *Location 2* or *Location 3*. 

Data health

Data health is important for organisations of all sizes. Ultimately, you want to ensure that all supporters receive your communications and the personalisation ‘pitfalls’ are avoided. Such as, incorrect or misspelt names or offers of services that are no longer appropriate to the recipient. 

  • *Charity name*: Hi *Name* we are reviewing our supporter data. To ensure we have the most up-to-date details, please could you respond with details of your date of birth, in the following format: DD/MM/YYYY
  • *Charity name*: Hi *Name*, we have your details on file to be notified of future events in the East Midlands. Please can you reply with YES or NO, as to whether this is still applicable.
    • If no: Thanks *Name*. If you would like event notifications to be updated to a different region, please respond with this detail or simply reply OPT OUT.

Organise and coordinate volunteers 

Even outside of physical events, coordinating volunteers day-to-day can be really time consuming. Here SMS surveys is a fantastic option. Organisations can bulk message their supporters, to receive information regarding availability and experience in a quick and  simple format. 

  • Hi *Name*, we’d like to thank you once again for putting your name forward to volunteer this weekend. So we can organise individuals appropriately, we wanted to ask you a few questions
    • Which of the following is most suitable for you, April 24th: 9am – 11am, 11am – 1pm or 1pm – 3pm. April 25th: 11am – 1pm, 1pm – 3pm. Please reply with date and time.
    • Have you volunteered with *insert charity name* before? If so, please provide details of the role allocated and date you last volunteered.
    • Of the following roles, do you have any preferences or experience relating to: Arranging food parcels, stocking shelves, managing queues. If yes, please provide details, if no, simply reply NO.

Furthermore, we understand that many organisations may already have a survey solution in place, but are experiencing relatively low engagements rates. We recently had this exact situation with one of our clients, and we worked with them to create a SMS reminder which included the link for their existing survey. Out of the 2000 reminder SMS sent to supporters, they saw a 100% increase in engagement. When previously emailed to supporters 300 replies were received. However, after the SMS campaign a further 300 replies were generated within 1 hour, driving responses up 15%. 

For more information on SMS surveys or support in creating one of your own, please feel free to contact our experienced SMS customer care team on 0845 112 1302 or email [email protected].

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