A Few Good Online Survey Tools

Online surveys can be a huge help in understanding what your constituents think and how successful your programs are, without breaking your budget. Last year we spoke to five nonprofit staff members to understand how existing online survey tools compare—this is an update of that article with current information about the tools’ features and pricing.

Ever wonder how well received your annual dinner event is? Looking to evaluate a new program?  Need to collect data for a big research project? Surveys can be a huge help in understanding what your constituents think and how successful your programs are. 

And good tools can be a big part of that. Online survey tools can be a very cost-effective way for delivering surveys and collecting and analyzing results through one central system. While they’re not going to be the right fit for every research need (for instance, a paper survey is likely to get a much-higher response rate at an in-person event, and provide more accurate data among populations that are not as comfortable with computers), online surveys are great for gathering informal data quickly and easily. 

There are a number of these tools available. How do they compare? Idealware spoke to three nonprofit staff members with extensive survey experience, consulted postings on a number of nonprofit listservs, and scoured reports and article on the topic. Below, we walk through the online survey tools that have worked for others, and might work for you as well.

What Do These Tools Do?

Pretty much any good online survey tool will allow you to easily define your survey questions and the possible responses using an online interface, and then send your constituents a link to answer the survey online. But some offer more sophisticated functionality that can be very handy when you’re planning anything more than the simplest survey. What types of features might be useful?

  • Flexible survey look and feel. A survey that has prominent branding for a survey tool rather than your organization can be off-putting to constituents and decrease your response rate. A package that allows you to update colors, font and header graphics can help you match a survey to your website or organizational branding.
  • Skip logic. As you design more complex surveys, it’s often useful to let respondents skip a whole section of questions that don’t apply to them. Survey skip logic lets you define, for instance, that those who answer “no” to question 10 should skip to question 15.
  • Piping. Piping allows you to pull answers from one part of a survey into another. For instance, if someone says in one question that they live in New York City, you can then ask them in a follow-up, “What’s the best thing about living in New York City,” filling in the name of the city from the previous question. More sophisticated packages allow you to combine skip logic and piping to customize surveys even further.
  • Randomization. The order of a set of questions, or the set of answers to a given question, can often affect survey responses and thus the quality of your data. Features that automatically randomize the order of particular questions or answers will help avoid this issue.
  • Website integration. While many packages create surveys in their own web page, some let you embed them into your existing website. This can be a particularly useful way to do quick, one-question surveys (called polls), or to gather opinions from web visitors in a longer survey.
  • Data analysis. One of the primary differentiators between inexpensive packages and their more expensive counterparts is their ability to help you to analyze the data and understand the meaning behind the results. Most packages provide simple reports summarizing the answers to each question, and many will let you download them into Excel or another tool for further analysis. More advanced packages allow cross-tabulation to see the data relationships between different sets of questions, or complex statistical analysis.

Keep in mind that no software package can do the design work to ensure your survey will collect effective, high quality data. While it’s easy to slap together a set of questions, designing a survey that will capture the data you need in a rigorous way is complicated—you’ll likely benefit from consulting someone who has experience with survey design.

Basic Survey Tools

A number of low cost online tools provide easy interfaces for building surveys and viewing reports online. These packages can be a great fit for smaller surveys where  advanced question types, survey logic and results analysis are not required.

SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.com)
SurveyMonkey offers a popular online hosted survey tool that works well for basic surveys. The free version might be useful for very small and informal surveys, but allows very little customization of the look of the survey, no downloads of reports or data, and can only collect 10 questions and 100 responses per survey. The Select version ($16.99/month, or $199/year) offers unlimited questions and responses, customizability, skip logic and the ability to export Excel and PDF files. The package’s folder structure and “search by title” feature makes it easy to navigate through many surveys. Reports are minimal, but they allow you to export results to another application to do more serious analysis. Higher end Gold and Platinum versions ($24.99/month and $64.99/month) offer advanced logic features like question and answer piping, randomization, text analysis for open responses, and integration with IBM’s SPSS statistical software.

Zoomerang (www.zoomerang.com)
Zoomerang is similar to SurveyMonkey in many respects, but offers in general a somewhat more powerful package for somewhat more money. Like SurveyMonkey, there’s a very limited free package; the more useful Pro package is offered to nonprofits for $149/year for unlimited surveys, questions and respondents, and a Premium package ($449/year for nonprofits) includes mobile surveys, comparison reports, multi-user survey sharing and collaboration, and statistical analysis. The survey building tools are not quite as intuitive as SurveyMonkey’s, and it can be more difficult to learn. However, Zoomerang offers more extensive reporting, with a flexible cross-tabulation report tool that lets survey administrators see the data relationships across any set of questions. 

SurveyGizmo (www.surveygizmo.com)
SurveyGizmo offers a low-cost ($19/month) solution with some advanced features—it supports 1,000 responses per month, and basic logic—as well as a range of more advanced packages from $49/month to $160/month. At all levels, SurveyGizmo offers basic piping, fully customizable survey look and feel, and the ability to embed images and videos hosted on your own website. More advanced levels offer many randomization options (question options, questions per survey page, and pages themselves), skip logic,  and more.  SurveyGizmo offers an API for integrating survey functionality into websites, blogs and other applications, including integration with Salesforce.com.

PollDaddy (www.polldaddy.com)
PollDaddy offers surveys and polls that can be easily embedded into external websites and applications. The free package offers a maximum of 10 questions per survey and 100 responses per month, plus basic reporting. More advanced versions cost between $200/year and $900/year. Survey features are more limited than some of the other options in this category, with no skip logic or piping, but survey administrators have a lot of flexibility over the look of the survey, by selecting from pre-designed templates, or fully customizing the template by editing stylesheet code. Surveys can be delivered in pop-up windows, and results can be tracked via RSS feed.

Lower Cost Integrated Solutions

There are a number of inexpensive solutions that bundle in additional features outside of surveys and polls. These can be quite useful if you find that your survey needs often overlap with others—for instance, the need to send emails. However, the survey functionality within these integrated tools tends be fairly basic, and they’re unlikely to meet the needs of those looking for advanced survey logic or analysis features.  

Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com): 
Although known primarily as an email marketing tool, Constant Contact offers “Listen-Up,” a hosted survey tool with some interesting benefits. There’s no free option, but fee-based packages are competitive with other lower-cost options, ranging from about $10/month to $150/month, depending on the number of respondents who will be answering surveys. Constant Contact offers more than 40 predesigned templates with some ability to customize. Surveys can include skip logic, and can be scheduled in advance. The tool also offers a variety of emailing and email management services, including contact importing, list segmentation and basic contact management. Reports are quite basic, but data can be exported for analysis in another tool.

FormSite (www.formsite.com):
FormSite offers a tool for building website forms—everything from simple “contact us” forms to evaluation forms. Although the focus is forms for feedback and test-taking, FormSite offers a basic set of survey features, and may be useful to those looking to collect a lot of different types of information via web-forms. Features include multiple page surveys, question randomization, basic skip logic and piping. Surveys can be customized to match your website by someone familiar with HTML. They offer a variety of prices, including a limited free account, and packages ranging from $10/month to $100/month.

Moodle (www.moodle.org):
Moodle is a powerful open source course management software package primarily targeted at schools and universities. It integrates website content management and online course management with survey and test-taking solutions. The survey tools are geared toward those gathering feedback from students to assess teaching methods, and several verified survey instruments are provided for this purpose. Moodle may be appropriate for nonprofits running training programs or schools seeking an all-in-one website, course and survey management solution for their programs. The package is free to download, but will require substantial technical knowledge to install, configure, customize and support.

More Advanced Survey Packages

If you are looking to conduct larger-scale research, marketing and feedback analysis projects, a more powerful survey package could provide welcome functionality. These tools offer significantly more advanced question formats, survey logic and data analysis.  The more complex functionality makes them more difficult to use without training, especially for those without prior survey design expertise.

Qualtrics (www.qualtrics.com):
Qualtrics provides advanced survey logic and analysis targeted at research surveys, with a focus on academic institutions. The Qualtrics Research Suite provides data analysis support for cross-tabulation, conjoint analysis, subgroup analysis, time series analysis, and more.

QuestionPro (www.questionpro.com):
QuestionPro packages range from limited free versions to more advanced $15-$99/month options. The free package lets you re-use questions from one survey to the next, or pull questions from a standard survey template library. The more advanced packages offer unlimited surveys, questions and responses with skip logic, piping, randomization and even more complex survey logic, as well as multimedia and multilingual support. QuestionPro also offers an API to exchange survey data with outside applications, including a module for Salesforce.com integration.

LimeSurvey (www.limesurvey.org):
This is a powerful, free and open source survey package appropriate for nonprofits looking for advanced survey logic and analysis features and who have substantial technology support. Its range of features includes full customization of survey look and feel, support for 40 different languages, piping, skip logic, a library of available survey questions and blast emailing. The tool has a large support community and is under active development. This is an open source package that can be downloaded for free, installed on your own web server, and customized to your needs by a developer with knowledge of PHP/ MySQL. Although the tool itself is free, be prepared to bear the costs for your own web hosting, and the time it takes to properly install, configure, customize and support this product on your own.

Key Survey (www.keysurvey.com):
This is the most robust of the advanced survey tools covered in this article. Prices range from $1,950 to $5,950/year for single-user subscriptions. It offers a full set of features, including several unusually advanced ones such as LDAP integration to allow single-sign-on models for large organizations, role based permissions, support for “teacher/student” surveys, multimedia questions and much more. Key Survey also offers an API to exchange survey data with outside applications, with a module for Salesforce.com integration.

Choosing the Right Survey Tool

Start by thinking about your needs. If you’re just looking to get your feet wet with a quick survey, one of the free or low cost tools will probably work fine. In fact, a more sophisticated survey package is likely to just be considerably more difficult for you to use. On the other hand, if you’re looking for survey software to support rigorous research, the more advanced packages are more likely to have the features you need.

Whichever type of package makes sense for you, take advantage of the free versions to take the tools for a trial run. While many of the advanced features are not available in the free trials, the vendor may be able to give you access to these features as well.

With a little care, you can choose a package that will make it easy to collect and analyze data. When that next annual dinner or research project comes around, you won’t have to guess what people are thinking—you can find out!

Thanks to TechSoup for their financial support of this article, as well as to the nonprofit technology professionals who provided recommendations, advice, and other help:




Copyright © Techsoup, published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.


Another survey site option

I've been working with www.sogosurvey.com and find it very good.  Plus, it's free for students and it meets my needs for the dissertation questionnaire I'm designing.  Check it out! 

Easypromos App Quiz Maker is my Favorite

 This tool has conditional logic based scoring with viral sharing capabilities. I found it easy to set up.

This tool is by easypromosapp - http://easypromosapp.com/surveys  - Quiz Maker and Online Survey Software 



Pick1 - Data collection survey

 I have recently been working with the www.Pick1.com platform as a survey tool. They cover all the needs you would have as a pure survey/poll tool but what is interesting is the amount of data they collect such as full contacts, demographics, analytics, social data and they have a partnership with IBM Watson showing entire behavior, socio-economic personality charts of each respondent. I have not found a survey tool that provides this type of data. My contact there also helped us get templates white labeled for us and reports. We could then use the reports to target ads and provide newsletters that we never been able to do before. They are based in San Francisco and all over Europe. 

An old list, here's a great new tool

 Hi guys,

Wow, seems to be a pretty outdated list as a couple of those companies don't even exist anymore! I've been using www.SuperSimpleSurvey.com which has some great features and is easy to use!

Most importantly, if you drop them a mail for your non profit they give a awesome discount! Nick (I think he's the owner or something) and I chatted via email and he's been super friendly in assisting and gave us a great deal. Definitely worth checking out.

Hope this helps!







ODK which form hub

I used Open Data Kit combine with Form Hubs to create online survey forms by my self. It is alway free and unlimited response.



 This article was so valuable to me in my search for details and clarity related to survey choice. Thank you!

Best Survey Tool

I woud like to state that SoGoSurvey is a highly powerful survey tool that offers just as much capability as any other survey software. Its easy to use and extremely powerful. Although SoGoSurvey has limited surveys and responses for its free version, they offer an annual membership of their upgraded version for students absolutely for free. I'm a student on a strict budget so this opportunity to have full access is extremely important to me. I would recommend SoGoSurvey to anyone whether they be a student or not. It's a highly underratted survey tool that more people should check out.

Here's the link for anyone



very good post. I actually

very good post. I actually bookmarked all of your CSS galleries so that I can review them in more depth later.. Really appreciate your work.. thank

multiple survey aggregation

I do contract surveys mostly gathering opinions. I have a client that wants to gather data and reporting for specific groups then aggregate the information from multiple survey groups (same questions) into one total report. For example, specific group to small geographic areas, then rolled to region, then rolled to national. Is there a tool that does this?

Which survey to use??



I am looking for software that provides the Logic of Survey Monkey though with the feature of adding attachments.

Any recommendations?



Survey Tool to Collect Number Data

I have just started looking at survey tools for a research project and I need one that will allow respondents to put in numbers - not choose a range. ie. How many letters did you receive today? How many emails etc. The reply's could range between 0 and hundreds and I need the compiled data to add these together and provide a total ie. A total of xxx letters xxx emails were received by respondents. Do some all or any of the survey sites allow this? Advice much appreciated. I haven't used online surveys before.

Re: Survey Tool to Collect Number Data

 Hi Zara,

I would say that almost certainly all online survey tools will do this -- most likely through a "textbox" question type, which can accept any character. If a specific number format is required (10 instead of ten, for example), there will probably be an option to validate the text submitted as a number instead of text, or there may be a numeral-only question type, like "numerical textboxes".

I personally feel that survey respondents may be discouraged or frustrated if they get error messages for using the wrong format for an answer, so typically I would request the desired format in the question text itself. For example, "How many emails did you receive today (numerical values only)?"


Even I think that SoGoSurvey is worth a mention. It's way better than the numerous tools that I tried in the past.

Thoughts on Survey Sites

You should update this article - Zoomerang is no longer its own survey site, but instead redirects to SurveyMonkey.

LimeSurvey isn't very clear when making an account - I tried several times, and each time I pushed "Register" it brought me to a page of computer gibberish. I finally got an email confirming my account, but it was very confusing. Also, I don't like navigating their website. I'm not sure if it's worth the installation because I decided not to install to try it out.

Moodle took forever to send an email confirmation. I didn't play with it prior to this comment (I may later), but I know as a student who has had to use Moodle for a few classes, I really dislike Moodle in general.

The survey site I use quite frequently is Qualtrics. It's totally free and it's extremely customizable. It's easy to use CSS, HTML or JavaScript, and Qualtrics has compiled a great number of tutorials and examples. The only thing I don't like about it, though, is they claim mobile compatibility but even when a question is "compatible", it doesn't show up very well on mobile devices. It would be much better if Qualtrics did what QuestionPro does - fit each question to the screen and/or change the question type when accessed via mobile.

I'm done ranting. What I want to know is if there are survey sites like Qualtrics that are great with mobile AND don't cost a dime. If not, maybe you know how to make Qualtrics easier to use with mobile? I've been making surveys that consist of only multiple choice questions and having only one question per page which makes it look much better on mobile.

Thanks for all of these suggestions out of the hundreds of sites out there.

This website

I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity is so fantastic and working style so speedy. Thanks

This website

Great post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I am inspired! Very useful information specially the remaining section :) I handle such information a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a very long time. Thanks and good luck.... 

Survey Software that can import answer options; login for users

Hello, I am looking for a software solution for our sales guys when they review their accounts (retailers).  They all will be using the same question template, but one question will have different answer options depending on the user.  For example, i want a user to be able to login with their username/password.  They will be asked to select an account from a drop down (business name, address) and then proceed to the next questions which are all standard for each user.  I need to be able to easily update the account dropdown question for each user if they change.  I was thinking that I would need to be able to import this data from a CSV file that is exported from out ERP system.

I woukld also  need to be able to export the survey responses and tie them to other account information (sales, volume, etc)


Any suggestions on a solution that will enable me to accomplish the above?

limit of 10 questions on free surveys

Hi, does anyone know if there is a free online surveying tool like survey monkey that allows for 15 questions instead of 10?  I need to find something I can use monthly, but I am only surveying 8 people each month.  Suggestions? 

Here is a new survey web app

Here is a new survey web app with 15 questions limit http://www.easysurveyonline.com 

Re: limit of 10 questions on free surveys

I'm not very familiar with it, but apparently Kwik Surveys http://www.kwiksurveys.com/ has a free account with unlimited questions and unlimited responses, as well as sme reporting and analysis tools. 

If you don't need some of the more advanced questions or features, and since you're only surveying a few people each month, you could probably get by just using a Google Form in Google Drive. If you're already used to analyzing your results in a spreadsheet, this option should be fine, as the responses will go right into Sheets in Google Drive. https://support.google.com/docs/answer/87809?hl=en 

Calculation 'on the fly' mid survey... is it possible?

I need to add a functionality to our existing survey methodology: I need to 'score' the first part of our suvey (about 20 questions), and then direct respondents to different possible sets of questions, depending on their score. 

Is this possible with any of the major survey providers?

Sadly 'branching logic' does not work in this context, as it does not calculate scores, just allow you to direct the respondents according to their answers to individual questions. 

Calculation 'on the fly' can be done with QuestionPro

Hi Tim, yes QuestionPro can easily do this for you in a few different ways - either by branching based on a particular score or by 'chaining' together more than one survey based on their answers from the previous one, etc.

We also have a nonprofit program for those that qualify that provides a premium license at no charge. Details at http://www.bit.ly/qpnonprofit

DISCLOSURE: I work for QuestionPro :)

Sorry for the delayed response!

I use SurveyGizmo, and this

I use SurveyGizmo, and this can be done there by using a Quiz Score question to 'score' the survey. You can then use regular branching logic / conditional fields to branch or show/hide fields based on the value of that Quiz Score. For this to work the Quiz Score will need to be on an earlier page than your logic; this may require an interstital page added to the survey. (I'd put no user-visible questions on it, just "Thank you, Part One complete, click next to continue with Part Two" or whatever.)

Really nice article!

Great Job.


I would like to add also my fav, www.qfeast.com , where you can create quizzes, polls, stories, questions, pages, all for free



Good for non-profits

Our survey tool (www.surveyi.com) has a free account which offers free unlimited questions, responses and surveys.  I just thought I'd mention it for those non-profits on a budget.  There's no time limitation, and the free account also includes data export into CSV or PDF format in a variety of layouts.  We have some great survey templates and themes, social network integration and plenty more - all with the free account.

breast cancer

I am a graduate student and in process of writing my thesis which is on the coping aspect of breast cancer which means I need breast cancer survivors or newly diagnosed breast cancer persons. I have a survey which grants me permission to use as it is open domain but I need a method to disseminate. Would your website be appropriate and is there any way to target this sample?

Any information you could give would be appreciated.
Thank you.

Same query as Linda

 Hi Linda, I am also working on a project and the main problem arises in targetting the desired audience. Have you found any survey tool which caters the need of targetting a particular sect of the population? Thankyou so much in advance.


Did you try to search for

Did you try to search for something like this http://obsurvey.com/buy-survey-responses ? I wanted to give it a shot couple years ago but i'm not sure if any of those have targetted groups or they just send emails to random people. Now i need something like that again.

Mobile surveys

Does anybody know a tool to make surveys that display well on mobile devices?



I use www.safefeedback.com

I use www.safefeedback.com for mobile devices. It's quite new tool but for me it has video and audio elements which I needed. You can ask their support if you need something special.

Mobile-first surveys

With Survey Anyplace (http://surveyanyplace.com), you can easily make mobile surveys that display nicely on any device: smartphone, tablet and PC. If you need more info, contact us at info@surveyanyplace.com


lets people provide real-time feedback with their smartphone or tablet as they’re experiencing a product, service or event.

Can you recommend any web form creating utility for prof?

As a freelancer I've just received the order to create over 15 web forms for my present client which is a small financial institution. The problem is the forms are huge and very sophisticated with many conditional logic. I have no time (and patience) to code them so now I'm searching for a tool which can help me to do this. I checked the most popular applications for creating web forms like Formstack, JotForm, Wufoo and FormSite. They are OK for simple forms like contact form, but far too simple for my needs. My form are really complicated, i.e. one field should be shown when the complex of 7 (!) conditions is fulfilled. So I need the advanced application for professionals. Can you help me and recommend any applications which can meet my expectations?

Couldn?t be written any

Couldn?t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

I need people to fill the survey

Good article with useful links to tools but one problem with the survey is the cost of fill it


Example: I need 1000 surveys to my project.. If I pay 10 cents for survey I have spent 100 dollars


Sure, there are cheap solutions for this problem.

Which is right for me?

 Thanks for the article.However I'm still not quite sure which one I should go for.

I'm a 14 year old student who for an independent project am researching two medical conditions. My project involves asking people of their feelings and experiences and need to ask many people and, with a complex questionnaire, I have many questions I need to ask, which go off in many different directions. I also have a limited budget; my school won't pay for this and neither will my parents. I only need it for one survey and also need to distribute it to many daifferent people and webpages so I need something that gives a link too.

Thanks =)

Very useful article

I've been researching into a potential survey tool for us to use globally and have come across a few suspects you've included in your article. By categorising them, you've given me a holistic view on where they all fit in comparison.  So thanks for a very useful article!

enterprise class online surveys

If you are interested in integrating your CRM, ERP, e-commerce, website or any other system with survey software, check http://mysurveylab.com


Here's one you missed

Great article, but I think you've missed a really great tool. We use a tool called Customer Thermometer. http://www.customerthermometer.com
It doesn't ask loads of questions, just one. It's delivered straight into your inbox and only takes one click to reply - so response rates are through the roof. It's awesome and has saved us from losing dozens of customers, but best of all they love to receive it.

Survey Software

Thanks for the great article. One powewrful survey maker which i came across is missing in the list. It deserves a position in the lsit as it is one of the most economical tool available in the market is ProProfs survey software Check here:


www.addpoll.com is my favourite

Hi Eric,

Congrats on the great article! I found it very useful 2 years ago when searching for the best provider and now I stumbled upon it again. For me though the perfect solution was not in your list. I ended up using www.addpoll.com - the free poll and survey creation tools first, then I upgrated as they were meeting all my creteria and were offering great stuff for next to nothing! And their customer support is just great. Just wanted to share :)



New Survey Tool

There's a new survey tool at http://www.PubPlace.com. On the cheap end there's an excellent free plan and for enterprise customers a powerful full-featured plan- and a couple plans inbetween.  

Thats a good list!

 I'll have to check some of these out. Looks very helpful, thanks!

The first time I found out

The first time I found out how important a survey can be I was already in college. Our teacher assigned us to make a research on our own. It was a tough task and I was thankful I found this http://www.bestcustomwriting.com/research-paper resource as a support. We learned so much from the experience.

I just moved from survey

I just moved from survey monkey to a tool called survey moz. It's a very impressive product and must be new as I've never heard of them before. Anyone undecided should take a look. http://www.surveymoz.com

Try a new tool - Surveyi

There's a new survey design tool available called Surveyi (http://www.surveyi.com) based in Wales, UK. Why not give the free account a try? There are some really good customisation options and survey themes available to the free accounts including customisable site popup banners, mass email invitation sending and tracking, free data exporting and graphical summaries of the response results. There's a feature called response groups which lets you categorise and graphically compare results. Reporting is good too, with cross filtering, charts and more. Everything is intuitive and easy to use!

Admittedly I'm involved with the project (so I'm a little biased) but we really think you'll like it!

Thanks for reading

Survey Face is a free online survey tool

www. surveyface.com is one another free questionnaire tool, sounds lot good. Unlimited Surveys, Responses, Skip Logic, Filter Response, Share Results, Email Collection, Password protection, SSL, Download responses in CSV, EXCEL, PDF, etc.

 Very useful tool, I did

 Very useful tool, I did plenty of things at free of cost, fast and reliable.

Best Online Survey Tool

I have asked a couple of people from the industry about the best online survey software in the market at the moment, and the name that mostly stood out was <a href="http://www.sogosurvey.com">Sogosurveys</a>. I have just registered for the online survey tool. Will let ya'll know how it goes.

Sogo Survey

I will be using so go survey because of all the reasons people have previously mentioned.

Functionality and special conditions for us students.


Survey extension

I'd also add something about Survey extension for Magento web stores like this one http://www.mageplace.com/survey/survey-extension-for-magento.html
Magento is widely used for ecommerce and this exension was developed in order to provide surveys on Magento web shops.