UPDATE 10/18/2017: This article has been updated to include 7 free survey tools from the original 5, and to add updated information for the original options.
There is a fantastic article on The Muse about the “Power of ‘I Don’t Know,’” which goes into detail about the benefits of admitting the fact that we can’t possibly know everything. Admitting we don’t know gives us room as humans to explore new ideas, meet new people, and make self discoveries.
As an event manager, your job is to bring people together under a common cause, theme, or belief, but the truth is, people in groups can be fickle. Not everyone likes the same speakers, the same foods, and the same atmosphere, and it isn’t possible for you to know every event attendees’ thoughts and feelings about your event in real time. However, you can always plan for the future.
The best thing you can do is admit that you don’t know what it is that your attendees want and ask them yourself. Survey software is the perfect solution to this problem, but if you are an event manager on a budget it can be hard to justify spending money on surveys.
So, in order to cut costs and gather the information that you need, here are seven free survey tools you should consider.
(Software options are listed in alphabetical order)
via eSurvey Creator
Although the beige/green color scheme of eSurvey Creator reminds me of 1970s wallpaper, the functionality of this survey tool for the lack of cost is nothing to stick your nose up at. The free option of this online survey software offers an unlimited amount of questions and up to 350 answers.
But what is an answer limit? eSurvey Creator clarifies that your number of participants is limited by the amount of answers given. So if you have long surveys, each question answered counts against that limit. This means that the free option is better suited for short surveys rather than long, especially if you are trying to maximize the number of respondents.
If you decide that eSurvey Creator is the tool for you, the next step up costs $19/month and your answer limit increases over 14 times to 5,000 answers.
2. Google Forms
via Google Forms
Google is in everything, even the free online survey market. You cannot escape them, they are like the Borg. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.
In all seriousness, there is a reason that Google is in everything and that’s because Google offers great products and software, just like its Forms program. Like most Google Drive applications, it is 100% free and offers features such as unlimited surveys and respondents, automatic data storage in Google Sheets, and unique branding.
Google’s stability and features make it a solid free survey software for most events.
3. Survey Gizmo
via Survey Gizmo
Survey Gizmo’s free option has its benefits and its drawbacks in features, but overall comes out as one you ought to consider. While the free version of Survey Gizmo does limit you to 100 respondents and three surveys, this won’t be much of a problem if you run smaller events.
Where Survey Gizmo truly shines are the features not offered by many other vendors, particularly data exporting capabilities and ranking systems such as star-rating and ranking grids. Most survey software vendors only offer these features with their paid versions.
In order to unlock other features such as HTML customization, video embedding, and custom question building, you have to upgrade to one of the paid plans which start at $25 per month.
via Survey Monkey
The biggest name in online surveys is Survey Monkey, according to Capterra’s Most Popular Survey Software list. Survey Monkey is used by big names such as Samsung and Facebook and offers many of the key features needed to run a basic, free survey.
The key term is “basic” because the free option for Survey Monkey is just that. It offers a ten-question survey for up to 100 users, along with some basic theme customizations. The survey is also embeddable for those of you that need the survey on your event website.
For the more advanced features such as exporting data, data trends, response filters, printable reports, and adding your own logo, you will have to invest in one of the other paid options, starting with a $35 month-to-month plan.
Survey Monkey’s free option is perfect for small events, such as weddings or office parties, but doesn’t offer enough to cover large corporate events and conferences.
via Survey Planet
I had never heard of Survey Planet before researching this list. However, after looking into some of the features, I am surprised that Survey Planet isn’t more popular.
The first three features of the free option alone set Survey Planet ahead of the competition with unlimited surveys, unlimited questions, and unlimited responses, creating a free option that is more friendly to larger events with big attendance lists and lots of feedback to be had.
However, Survey Planet does offer more hardcore data-driven features such as result exporting and survey charting under their paid option at $180 per year (or $20 per month).
If in-depth data analysis is not what you are looking for but you still require attendee feedback, Survey Planet’s free option is a solid choice.
Judging by their clean user interface and their “down-to-Earth” human approach to surveys, my first impression of Typeform is one that values usability and convenience above all else. Since not everyone is a computer wizard, their tagline “Why we’re here… to make things a little more human,” connects with most people.
Relatability aside, Typeform offers several paid tiers as well as a free option that includes plenty of templates to choose from, 100 responses per month, 10 basic fields, basic metrics, data exports, and theme design. While this software doesn’t offer as many in-depth reporting tools as others, it is perfect for surveys that aren’t data heavy.
As long as you aren’t looking to dive deep into the numbers, the free version of Typeform is perfect for smaller events.
7. Zoho Survey
via Zoho Survey
Zoho Survey offers a free option as an alternative to their three other paid options. Unfortunately their free option is not nearly as feature heavy as some of the other choices in this list.
The features list for the free survey software is as follows: unlimited surveys, 15 questions per survey, and 150 responses per survey. These limitations create a narrow set of circumstances where this choice would be helpful at an event. Zoho Survey’s free alternative is best suited for small events, such as get togethers, office parties, and weddings. If you aren’t looking to dive into the data and you are simply looking for responses on certain aspects of your event, then the simplicity of Zoho may appeal to you.
That being said, once you graduate beyond the free option, Zoho offers lots of premium features with their paid software, including Google Docs integration, advanced reporting, share surveys, custom, CRM integration, multilingual surveys, and portal creation.
Other free event management tools
Are there any survey tools that you feel should’ve been included in our list? Let us know in the comments below and we may include your suggestions in further updates!
As for saving money on other event software and tools, the Capterra event management blog is full of tool and software lists that will save you money. If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out these other blog posts:
- Free or Affordable Event Program Templates for Events on a Budget
- The Top 11 Free Event Management Software
- 5 Free Wedding Planner Software Options to Manage Your Big Day
- The Top 14 Free Event Fundraising Templates
Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.