To move forward with an online administration of the Satisfaction-Priorities Survey, the first step is to place your order via the web, by phone (1.800.876.1117) or by email (Shannon.Cook@RuffaloNL.com). When you place your order, all you need to provide is the estimated number of students you will invite and your estimated response rate. You will also want to indicate any optional materials you would like to order. You will not need to provide any of the online account customization pieces at the time that you place your order.
Your survey customization will take place in your online administration account site which will be accessible to you after your order is placed and your confirmation is emailed to you. Another option is to send all of your customization information to SPS.Tech@RuffaloNL.com and ask us to upload the information for you.
What we will need from you (after your order is placed):
1. Recipient file containing email address, first name, and last name. Sample Recipient File
Note: The file must be in this exact order and your header row must exactly match. If you are not uploading all the requested information, leave the header row but leave the column blank. If you are not uploading a passcode, a random passcode will be assigned to each individual. The items noted with (*) are required. Once your file is uploaded, save as an Excel document and use the Browse – Import button or drag and drop the file to the designated area.
2. Email message(s) with timeline and needed information. Sample email text and previously used email text can be found at your administration page. Below are examples of our standard email text.
Note: Register our system email address of SPS.Tech@RuffaloNL.com with your technology department to avoid many security settings; be sure to provide the dates emails are expected to come through.
|Student Surveys||Student Email|
|Parent Survey||Parent Email|
|Campus Personnel Surveys||Campus Personnel Email|
Note: In the sample email messages, you will find merge fields (%first%) and a URL that need to be included in order for the system to merge the information properly. Leave them as they appear.
3. Optional Survey Customization
|Campus Defined Items||10 statements (20 for ASPS) that may be rated on satisfaction and importance (125 character limit per question).||Contact Shannon Cook for examples.|
|Campus Defined Demographic Questions||2 multiple choice questions or statements that provide up to six options to select one response from (character restrictions: 109 characters per question and 40 characters per response).||Contact Shannon Cook for examples.|
|Programs/Majors||An unlimited list of your specific programs/majors with a four digit numeric identifier.||Sample Program/Major File|
In order to achieve the best response rates, Ruffalo Noel Levitz encourages a combination of offering incentives and implementing an intentional communication campaign.
The information provided here is primarily focused on increasing student response rates. Some of the ideas may also be applicable for encouraging campus personnel or parents to complete the Satisfaction-Priorities Survey. Contact SPS.Tech@RuffaloNL.com if you would like to further brainstorm ideas for campus personnel and parents.
Another resource for you is a 7-minute tutorial recording, “Online Administration Tips” found here. This session will talk you through a variety of suggestions for an effective administration. This tutorial is part of a series of sessions that are available.
Research indicates that people need up to seven touches (or exposures to an idea) to take action. You may want to consider implementing a “Seven Touch” campaign to encourage students to complete your online survey. You can create a theme for your campaign that makes sense for your institution. Here are a few examples of themes for your consideration:
- Share your opinions; Make a difference
- We want you to be heard!
- Let your voice be heard!
- We are listening to you.
Seven Touch Strategy
Our suggestions for a “Seven Touch” campaign are below, but feel free to modify this approach in order to best meet the needs of your survey recipients.
|On-campus campaign||Posters, Table Tents, Digital Signage on campus||Sample Poster and Flyers|
|Online Campaign||Website, Facebook|
|Invitation Email||As part of your standard online administration through our system||Sample Email Text|
|Twitter Campaign||Utilize Social Media Ambassadors||Sample Twitter Message|
|Reminder Email||As part of your standard online administration through our system||Sample Email Text|
|Announcements in class by faculty||You may want to target departments with low response rates||Sample Announcements|
|Final Reminder Email||As part of your standard online adminstration through our system||Sample Email Text|
Suggested tactics for encouraging participation with on-campus activities and email messages for student surveying:
|Incentives||To provide something to the student that shows “what’s in it for them.” We have found that MORE of a smaller amount ($20 and above) gifts have the best response. (Example: ten $20 gift cards vs. one $200 gift card)||10- $20 gift cards for things people use every day (gas, discount store, online retailer, coffee)||Include incentive information in all mailings/promotional pieces. Ruffalo Noel Levitz will capture information of all recipients that complete the survey for you to use when selecting incentive winners.|
|Loyalty||To emphasize the connection to the institution.||“We know you care about this school and we want you to help make your experience even better.”||Include this type of language in the email messages and any promotional activities.|
|Recognition||To call attention to those who have completed the survey.||“The winners of last week’s $20 gift card drawing were Jane White and Sam Jones.”||Include names in reminder email messages so students who have not yet completed the survey can think, “I know Jane and Sam. Maybe I will win a gift card too.|
|Competition||To foster higher completion rates with a competition (for pride or a prize).||“The major/program with the highest completion rate will receive a pizza party.”||The administration page displays the counts and percentages of all demographic responses. If you have customized the survey with your majors/programs, you will be able to monitor these response rates.|
|Peer Pressure||Having students encourage other students to complete the survey.||“I just shared my opinion through the SSI. #SSI #UniversityPride”||Via Twitter and other social media sites. Recruit Social Media Ambassadors who are well connected on campus to Tweet and post information to encourage their classmates to complete the survey.|
|Identity/Appeal/Social Information||To stress that students who care about the institution will take time to complete the survey. Or reference the fact that students who perform well academically are more likely to complete the survey. Other students may want to be a part of the majority.||“Do you care about improving the student experience?” “As a member of this college community, we need to know what you are thinking.”
Include specific positive percentages about other students completing the survey.
|Include messages in emails and promotional pieces.|
|Information Exchange||To stress that their feedback will benefit them.||“We listened to your feedback on the SSI and we now have extended our registrar office hours.”||If you have surveyed before, be sure to share how the data have guided decision-making and improvements in the past. If this is your first time, share what you plan to do with the data.|
A note about incentives:
Ruffalo Noel Levitz has not identified a “silver bullet” incentive. You will need to consider your population and the incentives that are most likely going to be attractive to them.
Research on incentives:
Julie Bryant, Associate Vice President for Retention Solutions at Ruffalo Noel Levitz attended a session presented by James Cole and Shimon Sarraf at the 2015 Association of Institutional Researchers Forum that cited the following:
- Intentional promotional efforts have a 4-5 percent boost in response rates
- Offered lottery incentives reflected a 3-5 percent boost (with multiple chances better than just one prize)
- Offered guaranteed reward has up to a 10 percent boost
- The amount a school spends does impact response rates – the more incentives or everyone getting something is more likely to see higher response rates.
These two additional notes are also from that session:
- Research suggests the incentives are an effective way to boost response rates. (Sarraf & Cole, 2014; Laguilles, Williams & Saunders, 2011; Heerwegh, 2006)
- There is little evidence that incentives negatively impact the quality of the survey results. (Cole, Sarraf & Wang, 2015):
- Incentives don’t effect straight lining.
- Incentive group more likely to submit responses with no items skipped.
- Incentive group more likely to complete the entire survey.
- Practically speaking, the responses to the survey items were the same for those in the incentive group and the non-incentive group.