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There are many reasons why your nonprofit might want to use a survey, from getting donor input to conducting research to
inform your mission and programming or asking for feedback from volunteers or program participants. In this review, we’ll
take a look at how
works and how it can support you in reaching these goals.
Sometimes in TechSoup Battles reviews we find ourselves looking at a tool for the first time. In this scenario, we’re fortunate to have used FluidSurveys for the past several years at TechSoup Canada for various purposes. We’ve done post-event surveys, member satisfaction surveys and our worldwide cloud computing survey for nonprofits, to name a few. In this post we’ll share some of our thoughts on this tool and how you can make it work for you.
The good news is that there are many great survey tools out there for you to choose from that will meet your needs for more robust surveys. Having said that, there’s a few reasons why we decided to focus on FluidSurveys for this review:
- It’s a Canadian product, the data is hosted in Canada and it supports multi-lingual surveys.
- It’s very user friendly and has lots of great features (keep reading…)
FluidSurveys - The Basics
As you would expect from a survey tool, FluidSurveys makes it easy to create your survey. There are many options for questions, including the basics (such as text response, dropdown, multiple choice, checkbox, grid) as well as some more advanced options (such as date/time, picture based choice selection, score display). You can add questions to the survey by dragging them to the spot in the survey you would like them to go:
You can also easily add multiple languages to your survey:
All FluidSurveys plans allow you to have an unlimited number of surveys, and a big advantage of the Pro plan is that you
are allowed an unlimited number of responses. We found out the hard way what happens when you send out a survey and a maximum
number of responses is reached - I highly recommend avoiding this by ensuring you have no limit on your survey responses!
In the next few sections, I’ll share some of the features that we’ve found most useful. I can’t go in depth on everything so there may be other features that are important to you such as branching logic, password protecting your surveys, emailing invitations to survey participants, etc. For a full list of the features available in the Pro plan, I suggest reviewing FluidSurveys’ feature list.
Styling & Branding your survey
FluidSurveys offers several different options for ensuring your survey appears polished and professional. This can be as simple as choosing a built-in theme, or as complex as applying your own CSS stylesheet.
For the most part, we have kept our surveys simple and just added our logo and some basic colour tweaks to match our branding. Whichever route you choose, you can preview your survey with your branding and even see what it will look like on a mobile device - your survey will automatically adjust to be mobile-friendly.
Reporting & Analysis
To me, one of the most important things about a survey is being able to make good use of the data once you get it - otherwise,
what was the point? What I like about FluidSurveys is that it has both built-in analysis tools, as well as the ability to
export your data so you can do further analysis on your own (though note that exporting is only available with paid plans).
Within FluidSurveys, you have a couple of different options for viewing data. Your first option is to view the responses, which appear in a table format. This is especially useful for smaller surveys where you want to scan the responses, but it can get unwieldy with longer surveys or more responses.
Your other option is to use the report builder. You can create a blank report, customize your own or pick the default report (by clicking on “new report” then “default”) to quickly see the distribution of responses to each question. From there, you can get fancier by changing the chart type, adding functions (such as the average or standard deviation), or cross-referencing with the responses to another question.
One of the functions that we have found particularly useful is the creating/assigning categories. In our annual customer service satisfaction survey, for example, we ask a few open-ended questions about what we are doing well and what we can improve. Since we get hundreds of responses, we need an effective way to analyze them and see trends. FluidSurveys allows us to “tag” each response with one or more categories that we create, and then analyze the results.
For example, we could have a category for “longer phone hours” which we could assign to each response that requested we lengthen our phone hours. From there, we can simply view a nice chart to see how many people made each suggestion, and use this information to guide how we improve our customer service.
Another neat reporting function is word cloud. It visualizes text responses so If you have a response that is submitted more than others, that response or word will be represented with a larger font size. Word cloud is a great way to visually show the trends of large amounts of data. For example, if I wanted to quickly see who has participated in my survey, I simply create a word cloud report of their job title:
As I mentioned, there are some times when you want to be able to take the data out of FluidSurveys. Maybe you want to export your report to show the board, or maybe you want the raw data in Excel so you can do further analysis. Whatever the reason, FluidSurveys gives you lots of options as you can export to Excel, CSV, Word, PowerPoint and PDF.
If your survey needs are quite simple, I will give Joyce credit and admit that Google Forms is a great option. However if you are looking for more advanced features, wanting to brand the survey for your organization, or would like more powerful analytics tools, then FluidSurveys could be a great solution for you.
Have you used FluidSurveys? Feel free to share any comments or thoughts below!