During the survey

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

It’s really beneficial within your organisation if you can give your staff and/or volunteers plenty of advance notice that the survey will be taking place as well as telling them why you would like them to take part.

You will also need to carefully consider how you want to word the email that accompanies the survey link on your launch day. We suggest pre-writing the text so that it’s quick for you to send out the link on the day of your launch. It’s important to include any specific messages for your colleagues about why you are conducting the survey, how long it will be open for and when they will see the results. It is also important to let them know who will see the comments they make in response to the open questions. We provide some example wording that you can use/edit for this here.

It can also be vital to talk to team leaders/managers to make sure they’ve arranged for all staff to have easy access to the internet* during the survey live period. Many staff also benefit from expressly receiving encouragement from their immediate manager to spend ample time taking the survey. 

*N.B. Hard copy questionnaires can be provided for individuals who do not have access to the internet. Information about this is provided in our Guidance Notes. There is an option to select hard copy questionnaires during your registration but if you’ve missed this and decide you need it after you’ve registered just contact us as soon as possible.

The survey questionnaire will be completed via a web-based survey link unique to your hospice, which you pass on to your staff when the
survey goes live.  

We will ensure that your live survey link is open from 9AM on the day you have chosen for your survey to go live.

Prior to your launch, we will have provided you with your online link to test and check that everything in the survey is as you expected. This means that, by your actual launch day, all that remains for you to do is circulate the Live Survey Link to everyone that you would like to take part in the survey. Click here to download advice on wording the launch email.

Plan to allow the survey to run for a period of at least three weeks to ensure that all staff will have the opportunity to take part.

Let your staff know that you’re personally here to help them if they have any problems getting access to the internet, or the time needed, to take the survey.

Birdsong is on hand for you if you have any queries throughout the survey live period. Please do make contact with us via info@birdsong.co.uk or by calling 01858 525258.

Yes, you can check how many people are taking your survey at any point during throughout the survey period using the personalised live reporting link provided to you by Birdsong. 

A three-week period is an ideal length of time for the survey, but you may wish to give your people a longer period to complete it. 

It is also helpful to send out reminder messages to further encourage responses – see the following FAQ for more information about this. 

You can check how many people are taking your survey throughout the survey period using the personalised live reporting link provided to you by Birdsong.

If some of your survey respondents are using paper copies of the survey (see Guidance Notes) rather than completing it online, it is helpful to gather these in in batches so that the data capture can begin in a more efficient and timely manner. If you are sending them to Birdsong for us to do the data-capture please send in batches rather than waiting until the end of the survey period.

Encourage responses by publicising the survey through, for example, notice boards, intranet, staff forums and simply by asking managers to encourage their teams to take part.

As the survey organiser, you should aim to provide timely reminders about the importance of the survey to staff and/or volunteers. Understandably, it will not be at the top of everyone’s to-do list so helpful reminders help ensure your response rate is high. Just before the mid-way point, and also again in the final week of the survey are particularly good times to send out reminders.

If volunteers are taking your survey, you may need to provide extra encouragement to help them take it. Remind them that the Hospice Survey helps make the hospice a better place to work, adding further value to the help and support they provide.

N.B. A 100% response rate is very difficult to achieve. In our experience, a response rate of over 50% is OK; over 65% is good; over 80% is excellent.

The average response across all Birdsong’s surveys is 65%. This rate is significantly lower for volunteers however.

Yes, we do not limit access to the Hospice Survey questionnaire. The reasoning behind our approach is as follows:

  • The only way to guarantee one survey response per individual is to send out a personalised invitation to each person with a unique link to the survey. We do not favour this approach because it impairs the perception of survey confidentiality, which reduces response rates and inhibits honest feedback.
  • The other option to limit multiple responses is through the use of browser cookies. We do not take this approach because it is very easy for participants to get around this by using multiple devices. Furthermore, many server environments delete cookies or prevent them from being used.

If an individual wants to take the survey more than once (and most, of course, do not), it is rarely a critical problem for a charity. They are not precise exercises and your respondents’ responses will vary depending anyway, on, for example:

  • Their mood on the day
  • Any significant activities taking place within your charity when the survey is running. For example, reorganisations typically increase concerns about job security.
  • External drivers, such as international news events or after national polling days.

Staff and volunteer surveys are designed to provide a guide to future organisational development and the response data should be considered in that context.

Our data management and security document (see our data policies page)  covers the area of anonymity for survey respondents and you will be asked to view and agree to this policy at the time of registration.

You can also assure respondents that, as per our standard practice, no member of the charity will ever have access to an individual’s set of responses from us – and we will not break down responses into groups fewer than seven in our reporting, even in department comparisons. In many cases we do not provide a breakdown unless numbers per group are higher than 10. The individual responses in any small groups will be included at organisational level only, or blended with another group where it makes sense to do so. We will talk to you about this if it becomes relevant before we commence with the reporting.

If you have chosen to add ‘open questions’ to your survey you will receive a Verbatim Comments report where some people may have chosen to write something that could identify them. Comments will only be reported at organisational level and not broken down into department or other categories, unless specifically requested and where numbers are large enough to make this appropriate.

It is a good idea to tell your staff at the very beginning of your survey period who at your organisation will end up seeing the Verbatim Comment report so that everyone in the organisation is clear on this, but also to assure them that the comments made will not be attributable to any individual unless they choose to make them so in their writing (i.e. by naming themselves or their specific job role in their response).

No, each hospice’s survey results are confidential to them. Each hospice taking part in the survey will see a list of this year’s participating hospices. Hospice UK will also see the list of participating hospices.

Yes, each hospice’s results will be included in Birdsong’s All Hospices benchmark and also in our wider sector Charity Pulse benchmark. Any top performing hospices will also be included in Birdsong’s Top Performers benchmark.

  1. Our Data Management and Security policy sets out Birdsong’s approach to data and describes how we use any data that we receive from you.
  2. Our Privacy Notice explains in detail the types of personal data we may collect about you when you interact with us. It also explains how we’ll store and handle that data, and keep it safe.
  3. Our Data Processing Agreement sets out our contract with you for supply of data processing services related to our survey activities. This document is in place to meet the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Even if you’ve taken the Hospice Survey before, we suggest reading the whole of the Guidance Notes documents before registering. Also, hospices might benefit from looking over the other FAQs on the Hospice Survey page.

Alternatively, if you have any further questions please do make contact with us via emma@birdsong.co.uk or by calling 01858 525258.

Contact Birdsong on 01858 525258 / info@birdsong.co.uk. 


Click here to see Birdsong’s data policy documents.