Poll Everywhere: Engaging Audiences Through Online Surveys

In the spirit of technology, 501cTECH tried something new at the first 2015 Technology Innovation Awards judges meeting held on September 10th: we conducted voting through online polling application, Poll Everywhere. The application replaced traditional voting by show of hands with a simpler, anonymous system where judges voted from their computers or mobile devices. The judges responded to three polls, one in each of the three Technology Innovation Awards cause areas: PreK-12 and STEM Education, Skills to Succeed & Workforce Development, and Veterans and Military Families. Each poll consisted of a list of organizations who had submitted applications, and based on those lists, the judges voted for two finalists. As the votes came in, they were displayed in real time on a PowerPoint presentation screen.

Using Poll Everywhere was a resounding success. As a result of the time saved through online voting, we were able to place emphasis on discussing the applications themselves – exactly what was needed for the record number of applications that we received!

How Nonprofits Can Use Poll Everywhere

  1. Immediate Audience Feedback

Create a poll to ask a question during a presentation, or to conduct a vote. As an online application, Poll Everywhere allows virtual meeting attendees to participate as well. Using a poll during a presentation streamlines the audience feedback process.

  1. Email Polls

Polls can be emailed out to selected recipients. If your organization is does not have time to hold a meeting, but still needs feedback, email polls reduce inbox clutter. All respondent data is organized into graphs, making responses much easier to interpret than if each response was sent in a separate email. If you do use Poll Everywhere via email, the poll will remain open for up to one month before closing (or you can close it sooner).

  1. Social Media Polls

Interested in getting feedback from your community? Post a link to a poll through social media. Anyone who sees the post can answer the poll, allowing your organization to reach a broad audience.

How it Works

If you’re considering using the app, the Poll Everywhere website will walk you through the entire process of setting up a poll. Here are a few useful details to get you started:

Registration: Poll Everywhere has a FREE version available for nonprofits.

Question Format: Questions can be multiple choice, true or false, free response, or clickable images.

Responses: Audience members can submit their responses through text message on their mobile device, or through a web browser. Respondents who wish to engage through their mobile devices can text a code to a number specific to your poll in order to join the polling session, then they can simply text-in their responses. Those responding through a web browser need only to visit your poll-specific web address.

Results: Responses will be recorded in a bar graph as they come in. Answers will be anonymous to the audience, but the facilitator can choose to see who responded what. Facilitators can present the results through the Poll Everywhere website or, as an optional download, you can get the PollEv Presenter Add-in that allows you to show the poll results in a PowerPoint presentation.

Closing the Poll: Votes are tallied as they come in. When all respondents are accounted for, the facilitator can close the poll and responses can’t be changed. The facilitator can then access the poll results at any point through the Poll Everywhere website.

Timeline: The entire process of voting using Poll Everywhere only takes about 30 seconds.

Try it Out

Go to the Poll Everywhere website and make your poll today!

Polling applications provide a simple way for nonprofits to use technology to streamline a process, while also engaging a broad audience. Poll Everywhere is not the only app of its kind. Others, like Google Forms and SurveyMonkey are also useful tools in collecting responses.


Have technology questions or want to learn more about how Tech Impact can help your nonprofit?