How to Get and Use Great Testimonials

Major brands report that Facebook offers their highest social media return on investment. Their second highest social media ROI is from ratings and reviews. and have trained us to look for the star ratings and user reviews.

If you’ve ever tested trust logos, such as BBB and Charity Navigator logos, tests prove time-and-again to increase conversion rates, especially on donation forms. Trust logos simply boost donor confidence at a critical decision point.

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Consider boosting your donor confidence even further with donor testimonials. It’s an essential conversion tool for major brands, why not nonprofits?

Here’s how to get the best testimonials:

1. The best time to ask for testimonials varies by nonprofit, but here are some ideas:

  • Immediately after your thon-event
  • On the heels of a highly visible “win” or “success” that your organization was a key player in
  • When you conduct your annual donor survey
  • Immediately after classes that you offer
  • During your annual General Assembly

2. Create a feedback survey using SurveyMonkey, WooForms, or Google Forms. Use the questions listed below.

3. Send an email including the deadline by which you’d love to have their feedback.

4. Send a second “last chance” email to respond to your survey with a 48 hour deadline.

5. Post a link to your survey on both Facebook and Twitter. Be prepared to capture the comments via screenshot from both social media platforms.

6. Video is powerful. If you have the resources, call a select few donors that you already know, or you pull from your survey results. Use Skype to record your  interviews. If you have a Mac, use call recorder for $20

7. Use supporter gatherings to capture video testimonials. If you host classes, host an Advocacy Day, or host an annual Assembly, you can video tape higher-quality live testimonials, also using the questions that follow.

8. Check the “BS Meter.” People’s “BS Meter” goes off when testimonials are fake, or worse yet, “drafted by committee.” You must use authentic comments from your donors. You can still easily control the quality of your testimonials by asking the right questions. When you get your survey results back, you simply pick and choose the best answers. If you need to edit slightly that’s okay.  Only then, do you ask the donor’s permission to use their testimonial. Add their photo with their name on it for even more authenticity and impact.

9. Ask empowering questions to get the best results. Use these questions or a slight variation customized to your organization to get the best responses:

  1. What hesitations did you have about donating to us? – Use this information to overcome last minute objections
  2. What inspired you to make your first donation to us? – Use this information to inform acquisition messaging
  3. What is the most important accomplishment we’ve achieved since you began donating/partnering with us? – This offers concrete proof of your effectiveness and reinforces why they support you
  4. What do you think would happen if we weren’t here? – This is a gut-check question that gets to the heart of why you exist.
  5. Would you recommend us to your friends, colleagues, and family? If so, why? – This is where the rubber meets the road. You’ll get some great soundbites to use and truly understand what your donor values about you. Making a public recommendation declares who the donor is, and their values.
  6. Is there anything else you would add? – Give your donors a chance to provide valuable feedback–some of which will be usable testimonials
  7. Are you willing to be interviewed at a later date? – Set up the option for you to call to book a video testimonial, or simply approve using their written testimonial.

There’s no downside to using donor testimonials, only upside to your conversion rates.