Before the survey

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Birdsong is committed to ensuring that our surveys and reporting services provide charities with the most pertinent data in user-friendly formats.  In line with this, we carried out a full review of the Hospice Survey in October 2019 and also sought insight from hospice HR-leads on priority areas of questioning for 2020 onwards.

A set of enhancements to the Survey have since been developed by Birdsong. These include an increased focus on staff well-being, more opportunity to measure perceptions of inclusion and diversity, further analysis of staff engagement levels, and the production of a shorter volunteer-version of the survey. These changes have been prepared in such a way as to allow for continued and unhindered comparison with previous years. 

You can see the detail about all of the changes for 2020 onward below:

i. Even better value for money

We have added value without increasing pricing.

The core survey cost now includes new analysis within the Overall Results survey report at no extra charge.

This year we will apply the discount that is usually reserved for hospices taking the survey within the main spring/summer period to every hospice taking the survey this year, regardless of when you choose to actually run your survey (see revised timings information, below).

ii. Change to the Opinion Scale

We have enhanced the survey opinion scale to improve clarity between neutral and no-opinion responses.

This means that we have:

  • Changed the use of the existing term ‘neutral’ to become ‘neither agree nor disagree’
  • Added a sixth option* at the end of the scale that allows the respondent to select a ‘don’t know’ answer.

These steps allow increased clarity between those respondents who are genuinely neutral in their opinion and those who don’t have enough information to answer the question or who feel it is not relevant or applicable to them.

*Adding a sixth answer option has also enabled an additional reporting element regarding staff engagement levels.

iii. Changes to the questionnaire

We strengthened and tightened the survey structure by renewing question-wording and reducing overall survey length.


  • Added a set of new questions to the survey, increasing the focus on staff well-being.
  • Significantly reshaped the wording of some existing questions to strengthen their purpose, sharpen clarity and update the terminology used.
  • Removed questions that were no longer relevant, that contained some ambiguity, and/or that have been superseded by new wording.

The above steps resulted in a reduction of the questionnaire length (to 44 core questions) with a leaner feel to help encourage healthy response rates.

iv. Results reporting

We developed the Overall Results reporting for each hospice, providing additional analysis around staff engagement.

We added:

  • A Birdsong overall staff engagement measure at organisational-level to every Overall Results report (at no additional cost). This is derived from key indicator questions within the survey.
  • A standalone chart to show topic relevance and engagement for survey respondents at organisational level. This provides hospices with numeric information regarding which questions across the survey have not been answered / left blank, and which questions have been answered as ‘don’t know’.

These developments, along with the other ‘survey headline’ graphs and charts, are designed so that they can be easily ‘lifted’ from the report if required to provide headline-only feedback to executives, trustees and stakeholders.

v. Volunteer participation

We redesigned the volunteer survey to increase relevance and reduce length, retaining the elements valued by hospices who use the existing volunteer version.

The new volunteer survey is:

  • Reduced in overall length (to 32 questions) with question-topics streamlined to amplify pertinence to volunteers and volunteering.
  • Reworded in relevant areas in line with the updates made to the main staff survey, enabling continued effective comparison of staff vs volunteer data for hospices who wish to receive this.

The reporting options remain largely the same as for the past few years, but it could be helpful to refresh your memory by reading the other FAQs below and also to look back at the options you had last time and consider if these fully met the needs of your organisation. If your organisation performed particularly well against the benchmark you might perhaps want to opt for a Top Performers benchmark comparison too if you want to push your organisation that little bit harder. Also remember that if it was the first time you did a survey with us last year, you can have a Previous Years analysis this year to track progress.

The collective “main” early-summer period for the Birdsong Hospice Survey 2021 runs between 24th May and 25th June and the registration for this is now closed. However, you can take the 2021 survey on a standalone basis any time from June onwards and still benefit from being compared to the new 2021 benchmark.

Birdsong usually requires three weeks’ notice before the launch date of your choice, and we recommend that you choose a three week period for your survey to be open to your staff and/or volunteers. Your survey reports will be sent to you a maximum of three weeks after the survey closes.

(Please note that we do not recommend running a survey during August.)

You can see the questions for the 2020 Hospice Survey by viewing our trial survey. To open the trial survey in a new tab click here.

You cannot change the wording of the opinion questions in the survey – to facilitate the benchmarking – but we always offer the opportunity to add ‘open questions’ at the end of the survey. You can add up to three questions to your survey selections for a standard extra charge (see the pricing FAQ below for more on this), and these can be worded in any way that you wish. Open questions can be useful because the narrative responses can provide more detailed information from respondents and also the flexibility on wording the questions can enable you to raise specific topics that are important to your hospice.

We have example wording available to help you:

  1. What is the best thing about working for your charity?
  2. If you could change one thing about working for your charity, what would it be?
  3. Do you have any other comments?


We normally recommend adding up to three open questions but if you do wish to add more let us know as we can give you a quote separately for adding one or two more in addition if needed.

NB: We do also offer bespoke surveys, starting form a core survey cost of £1,950 +VAT, if you require a specifically tailored approach.

We have a version of the Hospice Survey for paid staff only, and one that is more specific to volunteering. The surveys contain enough cross-over to enable effective and meaningful comparison of data if you wish for both your staff and volunteers to take part.

If you would like separate reporting for your Volunteer survey (as opposed to combining your staff and volunteer responses), you should budget for an amount equivalent to your staff survey. There will in fact be a small saving, as we do not charge the full amount for a second Overall Results report (It is £150 + VAT rather than £325 + VAT). Refer to the pricing table in the FAQ below for more information.

In addition to the Overall Results report that is included in the core price of your survey, you can further sub-analyse your results and customise your survey. The choices you make will depend on the size and structure of your organisation – some smaller organisations will be amply informed by the Overall Results report alone and will not require additional breakdowns.

A good way to help you choose which reporting options will best suit you is to think about who will use the reports and what areas of decision-making and planning the information could help inform and feed into. The standard comparison reports available are:

  • Staff / volunteers
  • Managers / Non-managers
  • Clinical areas / Non-clinical areas
  • Length of service
  • Location
  • Department
  • Previous years
  • Top Performers benchmark

These are all listed in the registration form, with click buttons allowing you to indicate whether or not you would like to add each option.
You can also specify a custom sub-analysis that is unique to your hospice. This could be, for example, to analyse the responses from different job types. The registration form will ask you if you require ‘any other sub-analyses’ and give you the chance to input analyses categories that are unique to you.

When considering which groups of people you would like to have compared, please do not choose individual categories that are likely to have fewer than 10 respondents as this could compromise the anonymity of responses.

There is a fixed pricing structure for the addition of these reports, based on the number of categories involved in each. You can click here to view the pricing list, but the prices are also all listed clearly within the registration form.

Core cost of the survey:

Prices have not increased since 2018. We provide a discount of £150+VAT for all hospices who choose to take the survey during our main Hospice Survey period in early summer. This means that the core cost for taking the survey and receiving an Overall Results report is £325+VAT in the early summer period, and £475+VAT at any other time of year.

Extra options:

If you would like to sub-analyse your survey data (i.e. by department, location, length of service or another category) or if you would like a Findings Report or to add open questions to your survey, the costs are added on to the core cost of the survey report by report. You can see the fixed pricing structure for this in the FAQ below.

The choices you make will depend on the size and structure of your organisation – some smaller organisations will be amply informed by the Overall Results report alone and will not require additional breakdowns. You can find out more about the reporting options in the next FAQ or in our Guidance Notes.

There is a fixed price structure for the survey sub-analysis reports, with various options available at additional cost.

The registration process guides you through the available selections and indicates prices for each option as you go through the online form, but we have provided the ‘menu’ of costs here in full too.

The same price structure applies to both staff and volunteer surveys. The costs do not increase with the numbers of respondents that take part.

Core survey cost

Including full set up, support, management of the survey plus an Overall Results report with All Hospices benchmark comparison.


£325 [reduced from £475]

The discounted rate applies to all hospices taking the survey during the collective May/June period

Optional reports



Separate Overall Results report for volunteers


If you have volunteers taking part but do not wish to combine data

Staff /Volunteers comparison



Managers / Non-managers comparison



Clinical areas / Non-clinical comparison



Length of service comparison

– £200

See Note 1

Location comparison 

– £300

See Note 1

Department comparison

– £300

See Note 1

Any other custom sub-analyses

– £300

See Note 1

Verbatim comments report – containing narrative responses to open questions


For three ‘open questions’ added to the survey

Pandemic-related section of questions – relating to changed working circumstances since 2020


Includes a separate results report, work-status comparison and one ‘open’ question for comments

years comparison

– £300

Two years of comparisons
Three years of comparisons

Performers benchmark comparison


Further insight within the sector

Other services



PDF version of the


For you to print out paper copies

hard copy responses


Per questionnaire

Diversity and Equality questions – gathering anonymous demographic information from staff

From £300

 Includes a standalone report of all diversity information – not linked to the main survey data

Comments summary report – summing up open comments & identifying recurring themes

From £375

Dependent on number of comments involved

Findings report – an in-depth narrative report with recommendations and key strengths

From £750

Dependent on number of sub-analyses included in the survey

 Note 1 – The report cost depends on the number of
reporting categories:


 Up to three: £150


Up to six: £200


Up to nine: £250


Up to twelve: £300

The same price structure applies to both staff and volunteer surveys and the costs do not increase with the numbers of respondents you are asking to take part.

Many of our charity and hospice clients are finding a continued need to check how staff have adjusted to changes in working circumstances necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have designed a set of survey questions which can be added to the Hospice Survey to help gauge how staff are navigating the ongoing situation at work.

Results for this (optional) extra section can be compared in groups by working status (i.e. working wholly at home vs coming into the workplace/using a blend) if applicable.

These questions can be viewed within the Trial Survey as well as in the Guidance Notes.

Yes, we can add an extra section to your survey if you would like to gather non-compulsory and anonymous information from your staff and/or volunteers about their age, disability status, ethnic group, sex/gender, religion and/or belief and their sexual orientation. We have added an option on the registration form where you can select to add our set of diversity questions to the end of your survey to receive a standalone equality and diversity report – the data within this report will not be linked to your survey data. The base cost for this service is £300+VAT.

If you’d like a copy of the questions in our standard set please contact

Please do contact us to ask us if there is more information you’d like that you didn’t select at the point of registration. We would be able to produce Previous Years Comparison reports at a later stage, as well as separate Staff vs Volunteer comparisons if you have had both groups taking the survey. However, for most sub-analyses options, if you did not select it at the point of registration we cannot add it as a breakdown category after the survey as we will not have the necessary respondent information available to us. Therefore please make us aware at the point of registration and/or testing if you think there might be an area you’d like the flexibility of adding at a later point.

Birdsong can provide a PDF file for printing a hard copy of the questionnaire at your site if your organisation requires this. You will be able to select this as an option during your registration process.

You can find more information about utilising paper copies of the Hospice Survey in the next FAQ question. 

Two options are available to hospices using paper versions of the survey questionnaire in addition to the online survey.

You can enter the data yourself manually within your organisation via an online Data Capture link provided to you by Birdsong. To do this, there is a flat fee of £50+VAT for us to produce a PDF copy of the questionnaire for you to use to hand out to your teams. Please carefully consider the confidentiality implications involved if you choose this option.

Alternatively, completed paper surveys can be sent to Birdsong for us to carry out the data capture on behalf of your hospice. The price for this is the same £50+VAT fee for producing the PDF copy, plus £3+VAT for each questionnaire that we receive back by post to enter into your survey. 

You can select either of these options when registering for your survey.

If you have any further questions about your Hospice Survey, please do make contact with us via or by calling 01858 525258.

To return to the Hospice Survey page, where you can find other FAQs and register your hospice for the Hospice Survey, please click here.

Contact Birdsong on 01858 525258 /

Click here to see Birdsong’s data policies.