How to Write the Perfect Survey Email

Mastering the survey email is both a science and an art. You need the clarity to stick to the rules - keep it succinct and include the essentials - and the finesse to convey the importance and establish a meaningful connection with parents so they take the survey.

Follow these 7 tips, distilled from the survey emails we see at schools, for crafting your own perfect survey invitation email and see improved survey results. 

1. Write a short, indicative subject line

Subject lines should tell the reader what is to come in the email. It is good to indicate what the email is about and what is in it for them. Keep it simple or try something with more character.

"Important: Please complete Lincoln School’s Annual Satisfaction Survey"

"Parent Survey - Your input is very important"

"Lincoln Parent Survey - What should next year’s programs look like?"

"MONEY MATTERS! CA School Parent Survey"

2. Show them the link

It is obvious but make sure you include a clear link to the survey and call to action.

Include the link early in the email. Make sure that the link has a good amount of clear space around it so it does not get lost in the message. You can also bold the link to make it stand out.

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. 

Click here to start the survey

Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur."

3. What is the purpose of the survey?

Let them know how information will be used. Parents care much less about jargon terms and your commitment towards the state and much more about about how they will benefit. 

“This survey is designed to gather information on some of the most important topics for the school, including the enrichment programs.“

“The survey will be used in evaluating our current programs, and for planning programs & priorities for next year.”

“Your school district needs your input on how we spend your tax dollars!”

“The LCAP is a plan by which the district makes critical decisions on how best to improve and deliver an effective educational program to the students we serve.  Feedback from the parents and community is a critical part in this annual process.”

4. How long will the survey take

You should give a realistic estimate of the time the survey will take. Saying “brief” doesn’t inform the respondent how much time the survey with take. Say 10 minutes not “a short time”. 

Remember that shorter is always better for surveys but resist the urge to deliberately under-estimate this time.

“The survey takes less than 10 minutes but the information can change the future!”

“The survey only has multiple-choice questions and should take you no more than 5 minutes to complete.”

“There are 5 questions where you select one or more choices with a comment box, if you wish to add more detail to your answer. As such, the survey should take you anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes to complete.”

“We are asking all families and faculty to fill out this brief 7 question survey. It should take about 5 minutes to complete. “

5. Assure anonymity or confidentiality

Indicate if survey is anonymous and if it is not, let your users know that the results will be kept confidential 

“All of the information is confidential, and your participation in voluntary, but we can't emphasize enough how important it is that we hear from YOU!”

“This is an anonymous survey. It is designed so that no one can be identified from the data. You do not have to respond to any questions that you feel could be used to identify you. Simply skip any such questions.”

6. Provide a deadline for your survey or send a reminder

Include a deadline for survey completion. You can instead also send out a reminder email 1-2 days before the survey end date. You can also choose to do both. 

“It would be helpful to have responses by Tuesday, March 7.”

“We ask that surveys be completed by Tuesday, February 21st.”

“We have more than 500 families at our school, and are hoping to get at least 200 survey responses by Friday, February 3rd so we can get a genuine snapshot of what parents are experiencing.”

“Thank you for taking 10 minutes to take this important survey! The deadline is tomorrow.”

“Thank you families! The feedback I have received so far has been constructive and very encouraging! IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY, please take a moment to complete the survey below.”

7. Don’t forget to thank them

Show them appreciation! Not only does thanking someone make them feel good, it shows that you care and are acknowledging who they are. It can be a simple but sincere thank you.

“Thank you for providing your feedback. We appreciate the time you have taken and will actively use it to improve our programs.”

“Thank you for your partnership in this important effort. ”

Here are some example survey emails

Please complete Lincoln School’s 2017 Parent Survey

Greetings Lincoln Families,

It is time again to check in with our families as to the successes and struggles here at Lincoln School. Please fill out this survey at your earliest convenience.

Link to Survey

The survey will be used in evaluating our current programs, and for planning programs & priorities for next year. There are 7 questions where you select one or more choices. Each question also has a comment box, if you wish to add more detail to your answer. The survey should take you anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to complete.

All of the information is confidential, and your participation in voluntary, but we can't emphasize enough how important it is that we hear from you!

We have more than 500 families at our school, and are hoping to get at least 200 survey responses by Friday, March 3rd so we can get genuine feedback on areas that are going well, as well as areas that need adjusting.

Thank you for your partnership in this important effort. :-)

Parent Survey - Your input is very important

Dear Lincoln Parents,

We need your help in our planning process for next year. Please fill out this 5 minute anonymous survey designed to gather information about what you think has worked this year at the school and what needs improvement.

Click here to start the Survey

Please fill out the survey by Friday, February 17th. Your time and feedback is greatly appreciated.

Do you have a survey email that works for you? Share it with us under comments here. Thank you!