5 Ways Charities & Non-Profits Can Use SMS Surveys to Boost Donations

Topic: SMS Surveys & Feedback

Discover how customer surveys can enhance community engagement

Throughout the pandemic, businesses from every sector have had to adapt to changing circumstances and restrictions to continue their operations. Aside from implementing new health and safety protocols, the situation for charities and non-profit organisations has been relatively unique. In Charities Aid Foundation’s 2019 overview of charitable giving in Australia, they found that 68% of Australians donated money in the previous 12 months while 35% also volunteered over the same timeframe. 

However, COVID-19’s widespread mental and economic impact has left vulnerable members of the community requiring additional help while supporters are financially unable to donate – Lifeline reported that the pandemic created a $5 million funding gap as demand on its mental health services grows. With reduced in-person interactions temporarily halting the coordination of volunteers and funding activities, charities and non-profits are faced with ongoing challenges in the current climate. 

While some have been able to stay afloat by relying on government support, relief packages and financial reserves, others have struggled to cope with the economic fallout, resulting in more than 200,000 job losses. Despite the kick off of digital campaigns, raised funds have seen a steep decline – the Salvation Army’s iconic Red Shield Appeal raised $1.6 million dollars in 2020 with their ‘digital doorknock’ campaign, a bare fraction of the $4.2 million raised in 2019. 

So, how can charities and non-profits continue to boost donations, engage the community and better organise their volunteers?

Our 5 best recommended survey ideas for charities and non-profit organisations

In the lead up to resuming pre-COVID activities, surveys can be a great tool for charities to collect data, promote engagement and gather information in a structured way. To ensure effective reach and quality responses from majority of their supporters, charities will need to consider their approach. 

Utilising SMS Surveys or Esendex’s Mobile Journeys, SMS boasts response rates between 27-47%, far exceeding voice and email surveys. Additionally, as 15% of nonprofits worldwide already send regular SMS to donors and supporters, SMS is a proven channel that audiences are already very familiar with.

Surveys can be used to collate many different types of information, but for further inspiration, we’ve listed the 5 common goals that Esendex can help our non-profit customers achieve via SMS Surveys

  1. Collect & review supporter feedback
  2. Boost community engagement & donations
  3. Collate ideas for future campaigns
  4. Data personalisation & cleansing 
  5. Organise & coordinate volunteers

1. Collect & review supporter feedback

Collating customer and supporter feedback is a crucial activity for all organisations as it allows brands to identify what they are doing well, as well as protentional areas for improvement. Charities and non-profits can use supporter surveys to obtain feedback on areas like volunteer organisation, recent events and campaigns, all of which can be used to further improve processes and initiatives moving forward. 

Example of a survey for collecting volunteer feedback

  • Thank you for volunteering at our latest event. To help us in 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.

2. Boost community engagement and donations

Particularly useful in situations where individuals have donated their hard-earned money or supported a cause close their heart, they’d likely be more interested in fundraising progress and updates, future events and suggestions on how they can get more involved. Keeping them engaged, charities can ask their supporters what types of updates they’d be most interested in and continue to send regular, relevant updates. 

You can use surveys to collect additional information which may assist with gauging supporters’ interest levels in increasing or continuing their donations.

Templated survey examples

  • 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.

3. Collate ideas for future campaigns

We’ve successfully worked with many charities to reach out to their audiences and generate ideas for future campaigns. This targeted activity also beneficially assists with engaging supporters prior to launching a new campaign.

Examples of surveys for future campaigns

  • *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*.

4. Data personalization & cleansing

Data health is always important, regardless of organisation type. It’s essential to ensure that all supporters are successfully receiving your communications while avoiding personalisation ‘pitfalls’ – for example, incorrect or misspelt names, or irrelevant offers and services. 

Survey examples for data cleansing

  • *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 Melbourne. 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. If not, simply reply OPT OUT.

5. Organise & coordinate volunteers

On top of organising physical events, the day-to-day coordination of volunteers can be time-consuming. Allowing charities to bulk message their volunteers and supporters, SMS Surveys assist with collating information regarding availability and experience in a quick and simple format. 

Volunteer coordination survey example

  • 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.

Effectively and efficiently maximise your SMS surveys’ engagement rates

While most organisations may already have a survey solution in place, it’s essential to review engagement rates for ongoing success and improvement. Esendex recently worked with one of our clients to create an SMS reminder which included a link for an existing survey. Out of the 2000 SMS reminders sent to supporters, they saw a 100% increase in engagement, a huge uplift compared to the 300 responses received from their last emailed survey. Within an hour of the SMS campaign being sent out, a further 300 replies were generated, driving responses up by 15%. 

With over 45,000 clients worldwide, Esendex supports businesses with achieving their KPIs via intelligent, mobile-led communication solutions. Tailored to your industry sector and overall strategy, our SMS Surveys and Mobile Journeys services are designed to maximise your results.

For a bespoke survey strategy, give Esendex a call on 1300 764 946 or email [email protected] to get started.

Author Avatar
Prachi Bametha

Marketing Coordinator, Esendex Australia