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April 1, 2015

CONVENE -- Simple Ways to Increase Survey Response Rates

By Kate Mulcrone

While event-based surveys are critical for reporting back to your stakeholders and calibrating future programs, it can be difficult to collect a sufficient number of attendee responses. Keeping surveys short and to the point helps bolster response rates. “If you start diving into things that are hard to answer or that people don’t want to talk about, or a survey gets too long, you can expect to lose people,” said Jessica Broome, Ph.D., a survey methodologist and research consultant. “If you’re going longer than 10 minutes, or past 25 to 30 questions online, you need to have a very good reason, a good incentive, and a motivated respondent.”


First, Broome recommends using cash and Amazon gift cards as incentives, and cautions against offering free or discounted services to potential respondents.


Streamlining a survey for mobile devices is another key strategy to help achieve a good response rate. “Make sure your interface works well and appears the same on all types of mobile devices,” Broome said. “Never use grids — they show up with funky formatting and are a pain to answer. Also, don’t expect a lot from open-ended questions.”

Read more tips at PCMA.org

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