“The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous, and enduring, and thus more intelligent, even competitive.” – Paul Hawken

As a nonprofit leader, one of your greatest challenges is accomplishing a lofty mission on a little budget. You dream big, but have few financial means by which to see such ideas to fruition. Yours is a difficult role, and often leads to burnout.

In addition to tackling your workload and chasing your goals, most likely you are accountable to several governing bodies and must report a variety of group satisfaction and organization performance metrics. Perhaps you are required to conduct surveys of your various stakeholder communities, either by an external regulatory agency, or by your Board of Directors. Organization development consulting firm Brighter Strategies is here to show you how conducting community assessments does not have to be difficult, nor costly. And it all starts with a simple survey.

Whether it’s ascertaining to what degree the individuals you serve are satisfied with your programs, or understanding to what extent a new service is achieving its desired targets, a survey is an effective and simple community assessment tool. Below are some free surveys you can begin to use in your agency immediately. Most are available online, making them widely accessible for many of your stakeholders.

  • Survey Monkey

    is the most well-known and widely used survey tool available. It allows for 10 questions, 100 respondents, 15 question types, and light theme customization and templates.

  • Typeform

    allows for creative survey design. It offers unlimited questions, unlimited answers, data exporting, custom themes or standard templates, and basic reporting.

  • Google Forms

    is the only free online survey that provides skip logic. It also offers unlimited surveys, unlimited respondents, a variety of theme options with the ability for custom logo use, and image and video capability. Survey answers and data are automatically collected in Google Spreadsheets.

  • Zoho Survey

    is simple and easy to use. The free version provides unlimited surveys, 15 survey questions, and 150 responses.

  • Survey Gizmo

    can design creative surveys that “make you smile.” The free version offers unlimited surveys and questions, 50 respondents, several basic question types, free templates, basic reporting, and the option to export to CSV.

  • Survey Planet

    has a free version that is fairly robust. It offers unlimited surveys, unlimited questions, unlimited respondents, survey theme options, and survey embedding.

We encourage you to review the above surveys and develop a basic familiarity with them. Then, pick one and give it a try. These tools are low-cost, low-risk, and high-reward. It’s worth taking the time to understand and implement a few of them.

We’d love to hear what you think about these surveys; contact us today to share your experiences. For more information on how to use such tools in conjunction with a community assessment, see the Brighter Strategies Resource Guide, “Conducting a Community Assessment”, which you can download below. In next week’s blog article, we will introduce the step-by-step process described in this guide. Stay tuned!

Community Assessment

Become an expert at community assessment, the process of gathering, analyzing, and reporting data about the strengths and needs of a community. Perhaps you don’t think you’ll need this skill set to be successful in your non-profit? This free workbook will teach you the purpose, benefits, and steps of community assessment.

Take the plunge and pilot the concept by choosing, creating, and gathering a community to assess. The guide provides the practical tools you will need to be effective, including a section on survey design and administration. Finally, you will walk through the process of writing and distributing an assessment report and ultimately using the assessment results to improve your organization’s performance.

Conducting a Community Assessment ebook