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How can I run a prize draw to encourage people to complete my survey?

Many survey authors offer incentives to respondents to encourage them to complete a survey. One of the commonest ways to do this is to run a prize draw.

However, responses collected by BOS are anonymous unless you explicitly ask a respondent to identify themselves. In the case of a prize draw you will need to add questions to your survey asking for names and contact details from respondents. If you do not ask respondents to provide this information then you cannot tell who completed the survey.

Selecting a winner

Assuming you have asked respondents to identify themselves, you can select a winner by exporting the data for this question in CSV form. You can either print out the data and put the names in a hat or use a random number generator to select the row in the spreadsheet.

Anonymising results

One problem with a prize draw is that respondents must identify themselves. This means the responses are no longer anonymous and respondents may not be as honest in their answers as they might otherwise be.

Surveys without access control

If you are running a survey and not using survey access control then it’s not possible to remove the responses that identify an individual from the rest of their answers.

In this situation, one way to anonymise the responses is to set up a filter to exclude the questions that ask for a respondent’s identity. This filters the data out of the main dataset so you are effectively working with anonymous data but the information is not permanently removed.

One other solution is to use two surveys to collect the data in the first place. The first survey is used to collect all the data for your research and the second survey is only used to collect the contact details for people who want to enter the prize draw. The link to the second survey can be added to the final "Thank you" page for the first survey. This means that people who complete the first survey can also provide their contact details but these two sets of responses are kept separate.

Surveys using access control

If you are using survey access control, providing respondent credentials using a CSV list and storing respondent’s credentials then you can use this information to pick a prize draw winner and then erase the data to anonymise the responses.

If you do not know how to store the credentials then see our FAQ: Respondents need to log in to complete my survey; can I find out which respondents have responded?

Once the survey has finished you can find out which respondents completed the survey (i.e. the pool of potential prize winners) by selecting “List respondents” from within the results area for the survey. This page lists respondents who have and have not completed the survey. You can export the data in CSV format and use this to pick a winner.

Once you have a winner, and assuming you no longer need the respondent’s details, you can wipe the identifying information by doing the following:

  1. Got to survey "Options" for the survey
  2. Deselect “Record respondent details within the survey.” in the section labelled “Who can complete this survey?”
  3. Confirm that you want to erase the data by selecting:
    “I confirm that I want to stop storing respondent's identities and erase identity data already collected (even if the survey is closed). I understand that, once deleted, this data cannot be recovered under any circumstances.
  4. Press “Save”

The respondent’s information will now be erased leaving only the answers they provided, anonymising the results.