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5 Ways Nonprofits Can Encourage Feedback from Donors

Nonprofits rely on donors to keep them afloat and make their mission possible. But in order to get what you need from your donors—and to ensure they’re getting what they need from you—it’s important that you have a strong, transparent relationship. 

Gathering feedback on a regular basis can help. Here are a few steps you can take to encourage the type of feedback that helps you better understand your donors’ thoughts, preferences, and goals—so you can tailor your messaging and campaigns accordingly.

1. Make it easy 

Whenever you’re asking for feedback, aim to make it as convenient as possible for the person giving it. If you hold group forums, for example, consider holding them after work hours or on the weekends when people are more likely to be available. For more frequent feedback, send out short surveys via email and include the estimated time it will take to fill out, whether that’s two minutes or 10. That way, donors know they won’t get caught up in an hour’s worth of tedious feedback forms, increasing the likelihood that they’ll click through and fill the survey out whenever they have a spare moment. 

2. Show appreciation

One way to solicit feedback is to send a personalized email of appreciation to donors that includes a few words encouraging them to share their thoughts on how you can improve. But this isn’t the only way to merge donor appreciation with feedback-gathering efforts. Hosting a special event to show your gratitude to donors can provide a great opportunity to gather feedback, whether through casual conversations (if in-person) or a form sent out at the end. These events don’t have to be elaborate to organize—even a word of thanks from your CEO and some updates from other leaders and ambassadors can be highly meaningful to donors. 

3. Emphasize anonymity 

The ability to submit feedback anonymously can encourage donors to be more honest and constructive, helping you identify both issues and opportunities for improvement at your organization. People may not want to seem harsh when their name is attached, but the truth is always valuable, even when it’s hard to hear. With many online feedback-gathering methods, you can enable anonymous feedback while still giving people the option to add their name and contact details if they choose (e.g. if they want to receive a follow-up message).

4. Increase engagement 

When donors are highly engaged, they’re likely to jump on the opportunity to share detailed feedback, ideas, and recommendations. Consider inviting them to initiatives, even if they’re being conducted virtually, so they can see and hear the impact of their generosity first-hand. This may also encourage them to get more involved with your organization in other ways, whether that’s volunteering, joining your board, or introducing you to others who can help move your mission forward.

5. Demonstrate you’re listening

If donors feel like nothing is being done about their feedback, they won’t take the time to share their thoughts or concerns with you in future, and may even pull back from the organization. Lead with empathy, letting them know that you’re listening and that you care. Whenever possible, outline concrete steps you're taking to act on their input, and share updates from time to time. Donors understand that change won’t happen immediately, but you need to give them confidence that their voices are being heard.

Feedback is a gift 

You and your donors all share a common goal: fulfilling your organization’s mission. Their donations help you do that, but the immense value of their feedback should not be overlooked. 

As you start to gather more feedback from donors, you may learn valuable insights that can help you improve your fundraising campaigns and outreach efforts to prospects. For more resources to help elevate your fundraising efforts, contact our Nonprofit Consultants today