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Polco News & Knowledge

Do Incentives Increase Response Rate?


Incentives may seem like a sure way to increase your survey response rate, but the data shows differently. National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) explains the impact of incentives on survey responses, and how they affect your budget.


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Impact of Incentives

Throughout NRC’s vast database of resident opinion responses, we have found incentives don’t actually have much of an impact on your community survey’s response rate. Additionally, including incentives may increase the cost of the survey in the city’s budget overall.

Civic Duty

We find that residents typically want to engage and provide feedback about the quality of life in their community to their local government; therefore citizen surveys tend to have consistent response rates, which render the use of incentives quite unnecessary.

Publicize the Survey

To increase response rate, NRC recommends crafting a strong promotional plan to publicize your survey. Publicizing the survey through social media, local news outlets and on the city’s website can really make a difference in your final response rate.

Low-Cost Incentives

However, if you would like to include an incentive, consider a low-cost option such as a free pass to your city’s recreation center or another city program like a day at the aquatic center.


This is an updated article originally published in 2017.

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