How to Conduct an Online Survey as a Local Non-Profit Organization

As a local non-profit organization, conducting an online survey can provide valuable data that helps improve volunteer participation and engagement within the community.

For instance, our market research firm recently worked with a local non-profit organization in the Syracuse, New York area. 

This post will discuss the objectives, approach, questions, and results of the survey we created and executed. 

Keep reading to learn about how we came up with our survey and how the results will be used to make a positive impact on the members of the community!

online surveys for non-profits

Objectives of the Online Survey

A local non-profit organization recently commissioned Drive Research to survey young, white-collar professionals in the Syracuse metropolitan area. 

The study was conducted to better understand the ways in which young people want to give back to the community, as well as how they want to build their network and develop themselves professionally. 

The survey explored different themes such as: 

  • Volunteering
  • Areas of interest
  • Networking
  • Event preferences
  • Satisfaction with activities sponsored by organizations and groups in the area

Results from the survey were intended to guide marketing and business strategies for the non-profit organization.

Approach of the Online Survey

To address the survey objectives, our market research company recommended conducting an online survey

Quantitative market research methodologies such as online surveys are tremendously popular for non-profit organizations.

With online surveys, organizations obtain high-quality feedback from their target audience while also staying within most budget constraints. 

This type of market research also delivers fast results being that most respondents can complete the questionnaire in a few minutes as opposed to phone calls or direct mail.

The online survey itself was sent directly, via email, to individuals who were associated with the local non-profit organization. 

Survey invitations were also sent to members of Drive Research’s own proprietary data panel who resided in the Syracuse area. 

Lastly, both paid and organic social media sharing was utilized to best capture a maximized number of responses 

Details of the Online Survey:

  • The survey took an average of 8 minutes to complete and included 33 questions. 
  • The survey received over 200 responses from individuals residing in the Syracuse metropolitan area. 
  • Fieldwork for the survey ran for nearly three weeks in June, 2021. 

Sample Survey Questions for Non-Profit Organizations

Below is an outline of the types of questions that were included in the survey. 

These questions were customized to the unique goals and objectives of the client. 

  • Are you aware of this non-profit organization?
  • What do you think of when you hear the name of this organization?
  • What is your overall perception of this organization?
  • How did you first learn about it?
  • What membership benefits are the most appealing to you?
  • What kind of events, if offered, would you be most interested in attending?
  • What community initiatives are you most passionate about?
  • In your own words, what does it mean to give back to your community?

The survey also included a few demographic questions including age, race, ethnicity, employment status, and household income.

Results of the Online Survey

With a probabilistic sample, a total of 77 responses at the 95% confidence level offers an 11% margin of error

If the survey were conducted with another random pool of 77 respondents, the results would yield within +11% or -11% of the stated totals in the reports. 

After completing fieldwork and analyzing the data, our market research company was able to draw several interesting takeaways from the survey.

Key Takeaways for the Non-Profit Organization:

  • Young professionals in the Syracuse area were ready to get back to in-person networking and volunteer events (Zoom fatigue, anyone?).
  • The community initiatives that garnered the most passion were children and youth, mental health initiatives, and animal welfare. 
  • When asked what giving back to the community looked like to them, people mentioned things like volunteering their time and donating money to important causes.
  • Awareness of the non-profit organization was high but there lacked clarity around its mission and values, meaning there is still work that needs to be done!

While conducting research usually provides answers and guidance, sometimes research brings up even more questions. And so the research cycle continues!

Conduct Online Surveys with Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in Upstate New York. Our team partners with non-profit organizations across the country to execute various market research services. 

Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Devan Grant

Devan's love for learning serves him well as a market research professional. With two years of both quantitative and qualitative research in the healthcare space under his belt, he knows what it takes to answer some of the toughest market research questions.

Learn more about Devan, here.

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