Transforming survey analysis for better impact insight

Explore how we can overcome traditional survey limitations with the innovative use of data-driven design and survey analysis.

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Surveys have long been an essential tool for collecting data and gaining insights. Surveys provide invaluable information for businesses and organizations, from market research to customer feedback. However, traditional survey tools like SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics are increasingly falling short of meeting the evolving needs of users. 

This article examines the limitations of traditional tools. We will also explore a new approach – data-driven design and real-time analytics – with Sopact Impact Cloud. This approach addresses the challenges posed by conventional tools.

The Limitations of Traditional Survey Data Analysis

Traditional survey tools, such as SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, and many similar ones, have their share of limitations. While these tools are very good at collecting data, their survey reports are often static and question-by-question. While tools like Survey Monkey and Qualtrics have analytics capabilities, many limitations exist. To transform your survey analytics, we need to rethink three things.

  1. Survey Design Thinking
  2. Integrated Survey and Analytics
  3. Integrated Advanced Analytics

Survey Design Thinking

Data strategy designed for mission-driven organizations

Traditional surveys are useful tools for collecting data, but they often miss the mark when capturing deep insights and delivering valuable analysis. This is where Sopact's "Survey Design Thinking" becomes a game changer.

By focusing on the stakeholder, participant, or customer point of view, Sopact's approach ensures that the data collected is relevant, meaningful, and actionable.

One of the major shifts in this approach starts with the data strategy. It emphasizes designing a logical model for your initiatives. This model outlines your programs' expected outcomes and impacts, providing a roadmap for aligning your survey questions with the desired results. For example, if your program aims to boost leadership skills, your survey can be tailored to assess changes in these abilities over time.

Another key aspect of Sopact's design thinking is aligning output and outcome with survey questions. By ensuring that your survey questions are synced with both the immediate results (output) and the long-term impacts (outcome) of your programs, you can comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of your initiatives. This means you're not just scratching the surface with your data collection but diving deep to explore participants' prospects, skills gained, and career advancement.

The structure of your survey also matters. Sopact promotes creating surveys with critical fields for slicing and dicing the data. These fields allow you to analyze the data from different angles, providing valuable insights that might be missed in a more simplistic approach. By examining responses based on factors like demographics or region, you can identify disparities or variations in impact across different groups.

The balance between qualitative and quantitative questions in your survey is another significant consideration. By combining measurable data with open-ended questions and closed-ended questions, you gain a broader, deeper understanding of the impact of your initiatives. This blend of data types complements numerical data with rich narratives, giving you a fuller picture of the outcomes.

Question Type Impact Dimension Frequency Targets
What is your current level of understanding of entrepreneurial principles? (Rate 1-5) Closed-ended What Annually Increase by 10%
What challenges are you facing in starting or growing your business? Open-ended Who, What Quarterly Increase by 5%
How do you currently access resources or support for your entrepreneurial endeavors? Open-ended How Much Annually Increase by 3%
What specific resources or support do you feel are lacking or needed? Open-ended How Much Bi-annually Increase by 15 points
What is your annual income? (e.g., Under $25,000; $25,000 to $49,999; $50,000 to $74,999; $75,000 to $99,999; $100,000 and above) Closed-ended Who Annually 90% satisfaction rate
Which racial or ethnic group do you identify with? Closed-ended Who Annually 90% satisfaction rate
What is your geographic location? (Urban, Rural, Peri-urban) Closed-ended Who Annually 100% attendance rate

Table: Example of open and close-ended Question survey

Sopact also encourages aligning survey questions with the five impact dimensions from the Impact Management Project (IMP): What, Who, How Much, Contribution, and Risk. By considering these various aspects, your impact analysis becomes more holistic, covering everything from the nature of the change to the potential risks involved.

But it's not just about what data you collect—it's also about how you collect it. Sopact's design thinking includes reducing data fatigue by avoiding repetitive inquiries and focusing on gathering the most relevant and impactful data. This approach ensures that participants provide deep responses while minimizing bias. By streamlining the survey process and reducing redundancy, Sopact enhances the overall survey experience for participants while collecting meaningful and actionable data.

Impact Data Strategy

In conclusion, Sopact's "Data Strategy" is truly a game changer. It's an approach that focuses on the participant, tailors the survey to your program's outcomes, and optimizes the process to capture high-quality, actionable data. By putting design thinking at the heart of your data collection and analysis, you can revolutionize how you evaluate your initiatives' impact.

Integrated Approach

Traditional survey tools such as SurveyMonkey often lack the capabilities of modern data analytics platforms. This comparison highlights a significant gap in power. For example, while SurveyMonkey provides basic data analysis features, it is often insufficient for complex data analysis needs.

Impact Cloud's analytics is designed for comprehensive data analysis. They have advanced capabilities for data visualization and analysis.

Another challenge with traditional survey tools is the lack of integration with other systems. For example, SurveyMonkey does not easily connect to CRM or marketing automation platforms. This creates isolated data, making it hard to sync and manage data across different systems. This limitation hinders organizations from obtaining a unified view of their data, hindering data-driven decision-making.

Customizability is yet another hurdle with traditional survey tools. Reports and dashboards are often rigid, limiting the ability to tailor insights for specific stakeholders. Customizability plays a crucial role in sharing relevant information and driving actionable outcomes. Unfortunately, traditional tools offer limited options for customization, making it challenging to meet the unique needs of different stakeholders.

The best way to achieve high-quality results is by aligning the output and outcome with the survey question design and integrating with the business intelligence system for continuous real-time integration, as shown in the following diagram.

Connection of Impact strategy through Automated Insights

Real-time Survey Result Analysis

Popular analytics platforms like Tableau and PowerBI can provide advanced analytics similar to Impact Cloud. However, keep in mind that just analytics is one pie of a big puzzle.  These analytics are primarily designed for marketing, sales, etc., use cases, not social impact management or funder reporting.

However, Sopact's impact cloud provides integrated data strategy, survey, data integration, and analytics for stakeholder impact -- the best approach to analyze survey data.

Traditional survey tools like SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, and many others have pros and cons. On the one hand, it is easy to use and offers a user-friendly interface, making it accessible to many users. On the other hand, however, its data analysis capabilities are limited, providing only essential statistical insights. Furthermore, SurveyMonkey's lack of integration with other platforms hinders seamless data flow and analysis across systems.

One significant constraint is their limited data analysis capabilities. Modern data analytics platforms like Impact Cloud offer more robust statistical analysis and graph types than essential platforms. However, as surveys become more complex and organizations require deeper insights, traditional tools prove inadequate in providing comprehensive data analysis.

In contrast, modern data analytics platforms like Impact Cloud in data analysis. They provide advanced data visualization, sophisticated analytics features, and seamless integration with multiple data sources. These platforms offer a unified data view, empowering organizations to derive more profound insights and make data-driven decisions. However, they require specialized skills and expertise to leverage their full potential.

Data Sources

Enter Data-Driven Design & Real-Time Analytics

Data-driven design and real-time analytics are redefining the way surveys are conducted. Real-time analytics allow organizations to monitor survey responses as they come in, providing immediate insights that can be acted upon. This enables businesses to make data-driven decisions swiftly, improving their responsiveness to emerging trends or issues.

The data-driven design takes survey creation to a whole new level. Data guides the design process instead of relying on intuition or assumptions. This leads to more effective surveys that capture the required data. This approach leads to more accurate results, better response rates, and deeper insights.

The Sopact Suite : An Overview

It is introducing the Sopact Impact Cloud, a suite of platforms designed to revolutionize data collection and analysis. Start by creating an impact data strategy that matches an effective logic model. This will allow organizations to collect data from various sources, not just surveys.

Benefits of Sopact Suite

The Sopact Impact Cloud offers advanced survey features comparable to the more expensive versions of SurveyMonkey Enterprise. For example, it allows continuous monitoring of results, merging data from multiple sources, and data deduplication. These features empower organizations to gain comprehensive survey insights and effectively manage their data.

What truly sets the Sopact Suite apart is its integrated advanced analytics. It provides automated and advanced data analytics, enabling organizations to derive more profound and actionable insights. With the Sopact Suite, businesses can make data-driven decisions based on comprehensive data analysis.


The limitations of traditional survey tools are evident, and the need for more advanced solutions is paramount. Data-driven design and real-time analytics can help organizations get the most out of their surveys. Platforms like the Sopact Impact Cloud offer this capability.

Through these tools, organizations can overcome the limitations of surveys. The future of surveys requires a dynamic, integrated, and insightful approach. This will empower organizations to make informed decisions based on comprehensive data analysis.


What are the limitations of traditional survey tools?

Old-fashioned survey tools are suitable for collecting primary data, but they struggle when analyzing the data deeply. For example, they can't do fancy things like understanding feelings from the text (sentiment analysis) or comparing different data sets (cross-tabulation).

This means you only get a limited view of the survey results. They also don't connect well with other systems, like CRM platforms, so your data gets stuck in one place. Their reports aren't flexible enough to show different insights for different people in your organization.

How do modern data analytics tools compare with traditional survey tools?

Modern tools like Tableau and PowerBI are much better than old-fashioned survey tools for analyzing data. They can do fancy things like create graphs to visualize data and understand feelings from text or compare different data sets.

This makes them better for handling essential data. They also connect well with different data sources, giving your organization a complete picture of customer experiences. But, these tools can be complicated, and you might need special skills to use them fully.

What is the Sopact Impact Cloud, and what does it offer?

The Sopact Impact Cloud is an excellent platform that changes how organizations handle survey data. It has special survey features, like watching responses to questions, bringing together data from different places, and removing duplicate data.

Impact Cloud is an advanced analytics that gives more profound insights into both number data (quantitative) and description data (qualitative). Hence, an organization can provide access to an impact dashboard to the entire organization, including funders. In addition, the user can slide and dice results by program, location, demographics, and any other relevant filter, depending on access.

How does real-time analytics enhance survey results?

Real-time analytics improve survey results by giving immediate insights when responses come in. As a result, organizations can quickly review survey data and make decisions based on the data.

This makes them quicker to respond to new trends or experiences of customers. Real-time analytics help find patterns and unusual things as they happen. This lets businesses fix issues before they get big or take advantage of opportunities.

How does data-driven design improve survey effectiveness?

Data-driven design improves surveys by creating survey questions based on existing data. This leads to better surveys capturing the necessary number and description data, giving more accurate results and getting more responses.

Mission-driven organizations can understand more and make smarter decisions by focusing on what the data says is essential. 

Learn More: 

Analyzing Survey Data In Excel

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