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5 Best (100% FREE) Survey Tools for Businesses & Nonprofits [2019]

Allie Decker
Allie Decker
17
October 07, 2019

There is a huge difference in how different survey tools handle the most important aspect of your decision making: Data.

For example, the smarter tools will be gathering demographic information that you can use to improve your marketing and communication strategies, without asking users for it in the form itself.

But how do you get all this info without blowing your entire budget? This is where online survey tools – sorry, free online survey tools – come in handy.

With so many different tools available, how do you know which one is right for your needs? Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve tested all the top free tools to bring you this list of the very best. You can use any one of these to better understand the ideas, opinions, and feedback from the voices that are important to your organization.

Let’s take a look.

Our Top Survey Tool Picks for Businesses and Nonprofits

  • Google Forms – A big name tool that can help you create surveys for free, forever
  • SurveyMonkey – Popular tool with hundreds of templates and pre-written questions
  • Typeform – Gorgeous surveys that are sure to engage your audience
  • SurveyPlanet – The survey tool with the most unlimited features at no cost
  • Crowdsignal – Embed simple surveys, polls, and ratings in no time

What We Look For in the Best Survey Tools

  • Flexible design capabilities: Your surveys should reflect the design and branding you want. These tools offer customization options so you can choose elements like color palette, fonts, and layout design.
  • Simple survey builders: Building a survey shouldn’t be overly complicated. These platforms provide easy-to-navigate tools that help you incorporate intelligent questions, logic, and question branching.
  • Easy embed and share options: Get your survey in front of your audience. These tools give you a plethora of survey sharing options, from embedding them on your website to posting a custom URL on social media to emailing out your survey.
  • Templates and questions: Sometimes, we’re not sure what to ask or how to ask it. These tools offer pre-designed survey templates and themes, and some even provide libraries of pre-written questions that correspond to your survey goals and purposes.

Google Forms – The Survey Tool with the Most Value

Google Forms is part of the G Suite platform. While this tool is technically a form builder, you can also use it to create surveys, polls, questionnaires, and quizzes.

On Google Forms, you can build surveys with more than ten types of questions (from multiple choice to linear scale to file upload), embed images or YouTube videos, and see your survey results in real-time. You can also have responses automatically exported to Google Sheets, where you can analyze and evaluate them.

However, since Google Forms is a 100% free tool, it is also quite limited. For instance, it doesn’t offer very many templates or pre-written survey questions. Most businesses will probably be better off with a different tool that offers better features.

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Features

  • Build unlimited surveys with unlimited questions and receive unlimited responses
  • Upload your logo, and Google will pick a matching color palette – or choose from a list of curated themes
  • Create surveys that can be easily answered on desktop and mobile devices
  • Share your surveys via email, with a survey link, through embedded HTML, or on social media – wherever your audience is
Survey response limitsUnlimited
Data exportTo Google Sheets or CSV file
Free supportCheck out Google Drive Help and the Help Community
When to upgradeNever! Google Forms is free, forever

SurveyMonkey – Perfect for Survey Beginners

SurveyMonkey is one of the most popular free online survey tools. It’s also very beginner-friendly. When building a new survey, you can start from scratch or have SurveyMonkey build it for you. If you choose the latter option, SurveyMonkey pulls together suggested questions based on your survey audience and purpose.

You can also access the Question Bank, which is SurveyMonkey’s database of hundreds of pre-written survey questions organized by question intent – including everything from fundraiser feedback to customer satisfaction. The Question Bank also recommends any of SurveyMonkey’s dozens of pre-designed templates based on the questions you choose.

SurveyMonkey’s free Basic plan is pretty limited: you can only ask up to ten questions (out of 13 question types) and receive 100 responses per survey. Moreover, to customize your survey, add your branding, or export your survey results, you’ll have to upgrade to the Standard plan. However, SurveyMonkey does offer discounts for teams of three or more.

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Features

  • Receive 24/7 email support, even with the free Basic plan
  • Upload your logo, customize your layout, or choose from SurveyMonkey’s library of survey themes
  • Create your survey with 58 supported languages
  • Password-protect any survey you’d like to keep private
Survey response limits100 per survey
Data exportOnly with paid plans
Free supportAccess 24/7 email support or the SurveyMonkey Help Center
When to upgradeIf you need more than ten questions and/or 100 responses per survey, want to completely customize your survey, or need to export your survey results

Typeform – The Prettiest Survey Platform

With a motto that says “Asking questions should be easy, human, and beautiful,” Typeform leads this bunch with the most intuitive, design-centric survey builder on this list.

On  Typeform, surveys are called, well, typeforms. The free Basic plan allows up to 100 responses per month and ten questions per typeform – not much compared to some of the other options in this article. You can create typeforms with a handful of basic question types, embed your surveys on your website, and integrate Typeform with dozens of other tools you may use (like Google Sheets or Mailchimp).

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When you create a new typeform, you can either start from scratch or choose from Typeform’s gallery of templates, which are organized by format (such as survey, poll, or quiz). The designs are great, but you really have to work for them. Compared to some of the other options on this list – especially Google Forms or SurveyMonkey – Typeform’s survey builder can be quite difficult to use. Adding and designing new questions can feel like a pretty in-depth process.

Features

  • Receive an email when a respondent completes your survey
  • Create custom themes to apply to all questions and surveys
  • Apply your typeform answers to other questions with the Recall feature
  • Integrate your typeform data with more than 500 Zapier applications (and HubSpot)
Survey response limits100 per month
Data exportTo Google Sheets or a Zapier application
Free supportUse the Typeform Help Center or reach out with questions
When to upgradeIf you need more than ten questions per survey or 100 responses per month, to incorporate question logic jumps, or create a custom Thank You screen

SurveyPlanet – For the High-Volume Surveys

SurveyPlanet is a simple, straightforward survey builder. It’s a highly-regarded tool due to the extensive list of features you can access – even with just its Free plan.

With SurveyPlanet, you can build unlimited surveys that have unlimited questions and gather unlimited responses. You can also add opening and closing messages to better engage your survey recipients. You’ll also get access to more than 90 pre-created surveys and a library of pre-written questions that you can easily add to in.

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SurveyPlanet’s survey builder is super easy to navigate but it does have some drawbacks. For starters, the surveys aren’t as easy to create as they are on Google Forms and they aren’t as pretty to look at as the ones on Typeform. But this tool does the trick – and you get to survey as many people as you want.

Features

  • Create surveys in more than 20 languages
  • Share surveys via email or on social media – wherever your audience is
  • Embed your surveys on your website or landing pages
  • Access an extensive library of pre-written questions that are organized by survey type
Survey response limitsUnlimited
Data exportOnly with the Pro plan
Free supportUse the SurveyPlanet Documentation Base or send an email
When to upgradeIf you’d like to export your survey results, add custom formatting to your survey, or incorporate question branching

Crowdsignal – Best for Simple Polls and Surveys

Crowdsignal is an excellent tool for simple, straightforward surveys and polls. Crowdsignal was created by the people at WordPress, so you have to have a WordPress account to login and use it.

Crowdsignal’s drag-and-drop survey builder is incredibly intuitive and easy to navigate. Add and customize more than a dozen types of questions and incorporate question branching for a more engaging survey experience. From the same screen, you can also change the survey style, alter the survey settings (like change the URL), and see your sharing options. Survey results live in the survey builder, so you can access them whenever (although you’ll need to upgrade to export).

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Where Crowdsignal really pulls ahead is with its no-nonsense polls and ratings. If you’re looking to give your audience a one-question survey or use a simple rating scale to get feedback on a blog post or video, Crowdsignal is for you. The tool provides lots of ways to customize both ratings and polls so you can gather the most accurate feedback from your audience.

Features

  • Run unlimited polls and surveys with the Free plan
  • Access a separate Crowdsignal iOS app to survey your customers or donors on-the-go
  • Share your survey using eight different digital methods (including popup slider, banner, and QR code)
  • Customize your survey settings by changing the URL, adding a progress bar, or changing the language on embedded surveys
Survey response limitsUnlimited
Data exportOnly with the Pro plan
Free supportAccess the Crowdsignal Knowledge Base and online support
When to upgradeIf you want advanced reporting, to export responses and reports, or customize the design of your surveys (using CSS)

And the Survey Says…

There are a lot of online survey tools to choose from, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Wondering which is best for your business or nonprofit organization? Well, that depends on your needs.

  • If you need to survey a large audience, either Google Forms or SurveyPlanet will work.
  • If you want your survey tool to create the survey for you (and provide 24/7 support while doing so), choose SurveyMonkey.
  • If your priority is gorgeous, engaging surveys that reflect your company’s branding, go with Typeform.
  • And, if you’re interested in simple, one-question polls or ratings, Crowdsignal would be the best choice.

Here’s a comparison table to help you decide.

Online survey toolBest for…Not so great for…Survey limits
Google Forms Collaborating on surveys and exporting the resultsTemplates and pre-written questionsUnlimited
SurveyMonkey Getting started, with access to hundreds of pre-written questionsExporting survey resultsTen questions and 100 responses per survey
Typeform Creating gorgeous, intuitive surveysHigh-volume survey responses100 responses per month
SurveyPlanet High-volume survey responsesNeeding an intuitive survey builderUnlimited
Crowdsignal One-question polls or ratingsCustomizing your surveysUnlimited

Because all of these tools are free (or offer free trials), it’s easy to test them out. We’d recommend choosing a simple set of questions and walking through the steps of how to create a survey on each platform. This will help you see how you can navigate each survey tool and which one best serves your team and organization – and your audience.

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