Effective Survey Design

Date: Jun 7, 2017
Time: 09:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Conference Room
2314 University Ave. W., Suite 20, St. Paul

Fee: $50 for MCN members / $75 for nonmembers Register Now!



Surveys are often the first or only evaluation tool used by nonprofits, but poor survey design can produce untrustworthy or irrelevant results. This workshop will introduce participants to the fundamentals of good survey design. Participants will learn strategies to choose, write and test survey questions that are effective for their audience and evaluation purpose. They will practice writing and testing survey questions for their own projects in a collaborative group environment. Using skills learned in this workshop, participants will be able to write survey questions that improve the usability of the results and the respondents’ experience. This session will be beneficial to anyone who wants to start writing surveys or improve their survey writing.

As a result of participating in the workshop, participants will:

  • Know why to choose a survey over other methods
  • Be able to define the purpose of their survey
  • Use the survey design process
  • Understand the benefits and limitations of different question types
  • Learn effective question-writing strategies
  • Learn a range of strategies for testing their surveys
  • Understand how to encourage survey participation

This workshop covers the fundamentals of effective survey design and is applicable to all survey tools. Participants will not learn about survey graphic design or using particular survey tools – such as online survey software. 

Principles & Practices

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is committed to offering training sessions that support the Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence. This workshop helps us achieve the following:

  • EVAL 4: An organization’s measurement systems should be practical and useful to improve ongoing processes, activities and results.
  • EVAL 5: Performance measures should be realistic and appropriate to the size and scope of the organization and those it serves.
  • EVAL 7: Performance measures should be specific and based on evidence gathered before, during and after program development and implementation.
  • EVAL 8: Measurements may include both qualitative and quantitative data.
  • LEAD 7: Nonprofit leaders should help the organization cope with multiple demands by focusing the organization’s attention on timely mission-relevant issues and opportunities.

Event Details

Calendar: Add this event to your calendar on Outlook or Google.

Food: Coffee and tea will be provided.

Travel: Driving directions and transit options are available on MCN's website.

About the Presenters

Sarah CohnSarah Cohn is a principal consultant at Aurora Consulting. She helps her clients discern their audience’s needs; think about their roles and opportunities as departments, organizations and within broader networks; and build their internal capacity to measure the impact of their organizations and programs. In her experience, complex collaborations with diverse partners succeed when they build in time for listening and honest reflection. She sees her clients as the content experts and herself as the facilitator of nuanced conversations.

Al OnkkaAl Onkka is principal consultant at Aurora Consulting. Al is experienced in promoting data-based decision making and organizational learning having worked in the field of evaluation since 2009. Al uses, and builds the capacity of others to use, an evaluative lens to help organizations develop, understand and improve at the programmatic and organizational level.

Previously, Al was an evaluation and research associate at the Science Museum of Minnesota. As a member of one of the largest informal education evaluation departments in the country, he led internal, local and national evaluation and research projects. Al has a master’s degree in evaluation studies from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development and is a member of the Minnesota Evaluation Association’s board of directors.

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