Survey Design & Outreach Tips

How to Engage Stakeholders with a Survey: 6 Winning Methods

June 28, 2022
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Survey Outreach

You’ve created a survey, but how do you engage stakeholders and ensure sufficient response rates? It’s not enough just to design fun engagement survey questions (although it’s a big part of your questionnaire’s success). You should also have a strategy for how to engage stakeholders relevant to your project.

Urban planners, consultancies, communication specialists, and researchers who work with questionnaires use these 6 methods to increase response rates and engage the community. You don’t have to implement all of these at once in your next community engagement project. Instead, add these methods into your outreach toolkit and use those that fit your project’s scope and stakeholder profile.

Here are your 6 winning methods for engaging stakeholders that urban planners, consultancies, communication specialists, and researchers working with Maptionnaire swear by.

1. Engage stakeholders by promoting surveys on social media

Know which social media channels your stakeholders use.

Don’t just publish something once – instead, build a consistent social media presence. You can rely on your organization’s official media channels (such as those of your municipality or city). For example, Instagram can work well for engaging the youth while for contacting local business owners, you might use email outreach.

If your stakeholders are not following your organization on social media, you can invest in paid advertising on relevant social media channels. Although costly, you will be able to directly engage your stakeholders.

Make sure to accommodate enough time for a survey to reach stakeholders. It’s often a trial-and-error path as you get to better know your target audience’s behavior on various social media channels.

Have a look at how you can enhance digital outreach with Maptionniare surveys.

Find local community Facebook groups and spread the word about your survey there.

But you should clearly explain the relevance of this questionnaire to your stakeholders: what the project is about, how their opinion will be reflected in the planning process, and why this is relevant to their lives and interests.

Don’t be afraid to use humor!

When done correctly it can bring extra attention to your publication.

Use visual communication to catch the eye of potential respondents.

maptionnaire tools for social sharing help to engage stakeholders with a survey
When a Maptionnaire survey is shared on social media, your stakeholders will immediately have a preview of what the project is about and why it’s relevant for them to participate.                                

Maptionnaire features that can help you with this:

  • You can set up a short survey description and an image that will be visible when your survey is shared. So every time it’s posted, for example, on Facebook or Twitter, respondents are already getting a preview with valuable information on the survey. You can edit these settings under Card in the questionnaire settings.
  • Enable respondents to share the survey! Add social media sharing buttons to your survey to do so. Word of mouth is a powerful way to spread the news about your project. 
  • Use various types of engaging survey questions. Vary open-ended questions with map-based surveys and sliders, or even experiment with using images and videos as an answer option!

Here are more insights on how to make a visual survey that grabs your stakeholders’ attention.

2. Network with local groups and organizations to engage stakeholders

Find local groups and networks that are experts in their area.

Rely on these networks not only for survey outreach but also for questionnaire design. This way, you’ll make sure that you’re asking the right questions in the right way. These can be, for example, NGOs working in the field that is affected by your development project or local residential communities.

Tap into the already existing online networks.

Instead of just posting about your project on your organization’s official channels, share the link to your survey in local or neighborhood groups and other similar online communities.

3. Use a range of advertising methods for stakeholder engagement

Leaflets are still relevant for engaging stakeholders.

Social media is important, but don’t forget traditional print advertisements.

Advertise where your stakeholders live and work.

Advertisements on public transport and in public spaces, and information letters directly sent to their homes are good ideas.

Use shortlinks and QR codes to share your survey.

If you’re a Maptionnaire user, you can always create a shortlink ( of your survey URL and feature a QR code that respondents can scan with their phones. Learn more about creating QR codes and shortlinks here.

enabling social sharing with maptionnaire helps to increase response rates for your survey
This is how a Maptionnaire survey with social sharing buttons looks like!             

For example, Residents in Tallinn learnt about an engagement project while strolling in a park and seeing an outdoor poster with a QR code to the survey!  

4. Make your stakeholder engagement survey easy to find                    

an example of a stakeholder engagement website built with Maptionnaire
This websites lists all engagement opportunities available for residents and stakeholders and also features the results of previous activities.

Create a one stop shop with all your surveys and engagement projects.

Encouraging public participation is an ongoing process that’s not limited to one project. Make it easy for respondents to find all ongoing and future projects under one address. 

It will also become a habit for those residents who care about neighborhood and city development to regularly check this page. You can create such a page with the Webpage builder module.

5. Follow up on your survey results and project implementation

Stakeholder engagement doesn’t end with the questionnaire.

Neither does it end when the respondent hits the ‘Done’ button at the end of the survey. Let your stakeholders know about the results and how they will be used, as well as further steps in the process.

Transparency is an important feature of building sustainable participatory practices.

6. Consider hiring a panel company to advance  stakeholder engagement

A panel company will direct respondents to your survey.

How? A panel company will find a target audience for your survey (usually by incentivizing participants with a small bonus). Although costly, it will guarantee that you get a certain number of respondents. Maptionnaire’s Panel tracker functionality makes it easy for panel companies to track which respondents have already responded to the survey. More information about Maptionnaire’s panel tracker element here.

Your Takeaways: How to Engage Stakeholders

  1. Get to know your stakeholders: where they spend their time (both virtually and in reality), what networks they are part of
  2. Plan survey outreach using this information — share the survey and project details through relevant media channels and networks
  3. Make your digital survey easy to share online (social media sharing buttons) and easy to spot in the city (using posters with QR codes)
  4. Follow up on the survey results using the same tools — an engagement platform with dedicated project pages is helpful for this
  5. Get help from advertising and/or panel companies if you have budget and high participation goals. It’s possible to get great engagement results organically and through networking but partnering with professionals will advance your response rates even more!

Interested in trying out Maptionnaire for stakeholder engagement?

Our team can show you around in a 30-minute demo.
Get a Maptionnaire demo here!

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