Gathering data is important when supporting grants, connecting with your beneficiaries, providing credibility for your projects, and even understanding what projects to develop. Data can be gathered in a multitude of different ways and as we discussed last week in our re-broadcast for conducting a Needs & Strengths Assessment (episode 78), I discussed methods for Needs & Strengths Assessments to utilize are online surveys, in-person surveys, and focus groups.

However there are some other methods (and can be FREE or very affordable) ways to gather research. One, low hanging fruit way, to gather data that we will discuss today is using polls on Facebook and Instagram.

Social media can be a great platform to gather information about the needs and strengths of your beneficiaries or those who you may want to serve. So, let’s look at some main big social media mongrels. This is not extensive at all, but these are some of the larger social media platforms and you will walk away today being able to gather data on these platforms using very simple processes. If you have never utilized social media polls to gather information for your nonprofit or a nonprofit that you work with, after this episode you will be able to do it.

A full disclaimer is that any tactic that I am talking about as of July 2019 may change in the future as social media is always changing strategies, user interfaces, and options. These polls may not always be an option or as we speak they may be getting more and more robust. But the essence behind the strategy is the same. Social media is to create interaction and I am sure that connecting with your supporters, beneficiaries, and advocates utilizing social media will always be possible to some extent. 

Facebook Social Media Polls

As of 2019 Facebook is still the behemoth on social media. Yes, there are shifts and I see more and more people are using other social media platforms as their main sources, but Facebook is still king as has the most users at 2.23 billion users every month. That’s nearly a 1/3 of the world’s population!

Many nonprofits only have a Facebook page for their nonprofit and not even a website. I do not recommend this at all (and you can listen to more about why in episode 12: but the fact is this true. In any case, you should have some sort of social media platform for your nonprofit, or the ones you work with, and because of Facebook’s size, many nonprofits have pages on Facebook.

In order to really utilize Facebook for polls, ads, and other ways you need to have a separate page for your nonprofit or a group and not just your personal page.

For nonprofits, I like Facebook nonprofit pages so they can set up groups, go Live, add updated information, create ads, and form a tribe. So how do you gather information utilizing Facebook polls?

Facebook has the option to easily create a poll in groups or on non-personal pages. All you have to do is click on ‘create a post’ and you have the option for poll. You can even add images to each choice. This is a great way to get your supporters or beneficiaries to answer some questions. I am an administrator of a couple of pages on Facebook and one poll I recently did was to ask people in the group which type of funding they are most focused on securing for their nonprofits in 2019. I gave them the choices of 1) grants, 2) fundraising events, 3) crowdfunding campaign, 4) donor support, 5) create products, or to 6) create services. If you are part of “Fund My Nonprofit” on Facebook, you can scroll down the page and check it out. If you are not yet in the group, please join as this is a free group and has hundreds of members! Just look for “Fund My Nonprofit – Funding Tips and How-To’s”.

The Facebook poll I created took me less than a minute and the feedback was super helpful on a couple of different levels. One level is that I know what type of content to create for this group because I know what most people will find the most valuable. Most people clicked ‘grant funding’ which is perfect for me as that is what I can talk about all day long!

Another level on how it was helpful is that it gives the people a voice and creates a stronger tribe. They get to tell me what they want more of and have a voice to contribute in the group.

How do you get people to take your poll, though?

Well, polls are simple, too, and very quick for people to take. You can use open-ended questions and ask people to reply in the comments, but by providing pre-set answers you will in most cases get a higher amount of responses. This is because when people are on social media, they are getting pings and notifications from a bunch of different sources all at the same time. Polls make a quick and easy way to gather information from a specific group of people.

Guiding people to your poll

The best way you can get an increased number of people replying to your poll is to also email out the list. For example, since I am targeting mainly people who work at nonprofits for my poll I will also email my list and ask people to respond to the poll by providing a link. Once people start responding to the poll, then Facebook does a funny thing of algorithms by notifying more people that like or follow your page and let them know about it. This is pretty cool as Facebook starts to do the work for you. However, you may have this in a private FB group and don’t want any and everyone’s reaction to it and only your targeted audience. That is fine as FB will only let people in your private group know.

Other than email, you can also drive people to your poll by creating ads on Facebook. In this way you can specifically narrow your target to the people with interests in your poll. I can pick a certain city and their interest has to include nonprofits. It is pretty cool, but ads will cost you money. The good thing is you can control how much money you will spend. We won’t go into creating ads as that is its own entire episode or series of episode, but this is an option. One reason you might do a targeted ad is if you do not have a lot of followers or want a larger response rate.

Another simple way to drive people to your poll is by creating more social media posts with the link back to your poll.

Of course polls are not the only way to gather information on Facebook, but I find they are the simplest and most straightforward way.

Polls on Instagram

Create a poll utilizing Instagram Stories:

  1. Create a new Instagram Story
  2. Tap the sticker icon at the top of the screen
  3. Tap to select the “Poll” sticker icon
  4. Fill in the question for your poll
  5. Tap “Your Story” or “Send To >” to share your poll to your Story

This can also be shared with your Facebook page if you have it connected. This is cool way to add a poll.

To check the results on your poll

  1. Scroll up on your story (or if it’s been more than 24 hours, go to Archives in your Instagram account)
  2. Click on the post
  3. Scroll up.

Very cool.

For either Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other

Create an engaging image or video and inside the text ask people a question and to leave their answer in the comment section. This can be a way to get more information, as well.

You can also utilize social media to direct to other more robust surveys by creating links. This is very effective and I have utilized this a lot. To get more engagement you can also create a promise to be entered into a giveaway after they complete the online survey.


As you can see there are so many ways to be creative when it comes to social media polls. Overall, it will give you information for data gathering, while helping create an active tribe.

Remember to keep it simple and try new things. Polls are one of the easiest ways to get your tribe to interact on Social Media, but you can also ask people to post in comments, or link to external online surveys.

Watch the full episode!


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