This chapter describes the steps to set up surveys. If you are connecting a survey to a specific campaign, you will want to review the Campaigns section as well.

Create a new survey

  1. Go to Campaigns > New Survey.
  2. Enter a Title for your survey and select the appropriate appropriate activity type.
  3. If the survey is part of a campaign, select the campaign from the dropdown menu.
  4. If you are using a custom profile for the survey, select if from the dropdown menu.
  5. Enter other relevant information on the form.
  6. Click Save, or Save and New if you want to create another survey.

Your survey will now appear in the summary on the Survey Dashboard. Use the links to the right of each survey to manage the survey.

Create a survey with multiple questions

In its default configuration, the survey feature allows you to capture responses to a single question; but often you will want to ask more than one question.

For example, the public housing survey had three questions. First, the TOFT staff member planned the questions to be asked and the standard responses to a coupe of the questions: Yes, No, Undecided, Declined, and Not Applicable. She then created a custom data set to hold the questions and responses to the survey.


  • If you plan on conducting many surveys throughout the year (let's say 20 - 30 surveys in a year) with only a few questions per survey (let's say 3-4 questions per survey), then we strongly suggest that you create ONE custom data set that includes all the questions for each of the survey.  Then you can create individual custom profiles for each survey that pull in the questions that are particular to that survey.
  • If you plan on conducting just a few surveys per year (let's say about 3-4 surveys per year) with the number of questions no more than 10 per survey, then we suggest that you create different custom data sets for each group of questions per survey.  Then you can use custom profiles to pull in in the questions that are particular to a survey.

Once you have determined your survey questions and responses, the next step is to create the custom data fields:

  1. Create a custom data field set by going to Administer > Customize > Custom Data and clicking on Add a Set of Custom Fields.
  2. Create the custom data set so that it will be Used For field select Activities of type Survey and include the questions as the field labels and the option values as the responses
  3. Enter any help text that you wish to provide and click Save to create the field set for the responses.
  4. Create the custom profile that will pull in the fields of questions from your custom data set for the survey.

To learn more about how to create custom field sets, see the chapter called Creating Custom Fields in Your Data and CiviCRM. To learn about how to create a custom profile see the chapter Profiles in the in the CiviCRM Core Concepts section.

Now you are ready to create the new survey:

  1. Go to Campaign > New Survey and enter the following settings (this example uses the TOFT scenario, where the survey was part of a larger campaign called Demand Affordable Public Housing):
  • Title (required): enter Public Housing Survey.
  • Campaign: select Demand Affordable Public Housing Campaign (to learn how to create a campaign, see the section called Campaign).
  • Activity Type (required): select Survey.
  • Profile: select Survey Response Profile so that the three responses to the survey questions can be collected for the survey.
  • Survey Result (required): if you have created an earlier survey with a survey Result Set you want to use again, select the appropriate Result Set. Otherwise, click Create a new result set and enter the status results you want to track for responses to the survey, for example:
  • For Labels: Completed, Not Home, Moved, Wrong Address, Deceased
  • For Values, enter respectively: C, NH, MV, WA, DE
Once you create a new result set, CiviCRM creates the name for the result set with the following naming convention: Title of the survey and Result Set.

  • Instructions for Interviews: enter any appropriate information about the survey that would be helpful for the volunteers conducting the survey.
  • Maximum Reserved at one time: enter the maximum number of contacts that can be reserved at any one time to be interviewed.  This allows you to divide up the group of individuals for each volunteer to interview at one time.
  • Total reserved per interview: enter the total number of contacts that can be reserved by any interviewer.
  • Release frequency: enter the number of days that reserved respondents are released if they have not been surveyed within that time.
  • Active?: check the box to make the survey active.
  • Default?: check the box to make survey.

Click Save, or Save and New if you are creating several surveys. When you return to the Survey Dashboard you will see your new survey in the summary table.

Survey Types

You can create new survey types to describe the type of activity you are conducting. Survey responses will be recorded in an activity record for an individual. The default CiviCRM survey types are Survey, Canvass, PhoneBank, WalkList, and Petition. 

To create or edit survey types: 

  1. Go to Administer > CiviCampaign > Survey Types.

  2. Click on Add Survey Type and complete the form. 
The next time you create a new survey (or edit an existing one) you will find your new survey type available in the dropdown menu of survey activity types.