Nonprofits have many strategies for collecting donations. Donation management software can be a great step to get organized. It can give you data about previous donors, but you may need additional information to craft the most effective campaigns possible. Rather than simply experimenting, it may be a good idea to send out a survey to find out more about your audience and how they perceive your organization.

There are several things you can accomplish with a survey. First of all, you can gauge your audience’s awareness of your organization. Have they heard of you before? Where did they learn about your existence? Are they aware of what your charity does? Equally important are questions about how your nonprofit is perceived, according to Red Rooster Group. Try to get an idea of whether people view your organization in a positive light and whether their perception of what you do is in line with your real mission. All of these questions can help you shape your campaign messaging to increase donations.

Another important question to ask is how contributors prefer to be contacted. Maybe they would rather be reached by email, or maybe they even like to keep in touch using social media. Learning about potential donor preferences can help you reach out to them when the time comes to launch a campaign.

How to get people to participate

Your survey will only be successful if you can get a significant sample of respondents. How can you make sure people actually read your survey?

First, tap into your donation management platform to gain a list of past donors. This is an important group for the survey. You may also want to send it to people in your target demographic to see what the response is. Here are a few tips from Question Pro for getting people to respond to your carefully crafted survey:

Send personalized emails and keep them short – People are more likely to open personalized messages. The more to the point they are, the more likely readers are to click the survey link.

Send reminder emails – If they aren’t opened the first time, send a second message as a quick reminder.

Consider an incentive – Increase responses by providing a gift, or putting respondents into a raffle pool to win something bigger. Even something small like a gift card can encourage people to fill out their survey.

Once you receive your responses, you can start putting that knowledge to good use.