Surveys and Nonprofits

9, 10, 11, 12

The learners will survey local community members to see what changes they feel are needed in the community, and determine how they feel marginalized, disenfranchised and disadvantaged groups can make positive changes for the common good.

PrintTwo Fifty-Five Minute Class Periods
  • The learner will:
  • with a cooperative learning group, create a community survey.
  • survey five community members and describe the concerns of the community in a newspaper article.
  • Computer or word processor
  • Copy machine to copy surveys
  • Survey Question Possibilities (Handout One), Teacher Copy only
  • "Ball of Confusion" Lyrics (Handout Two), student copies


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Distribute "Ball of Confusion" Lyrics (Handout Two) to the learners. Write the following question on the board:

    After reading the lyrics to the song "Ball of Confusion" by the Temptations, how do you think local women and minority groups acted as alternatives to the power structure to overcome these problems, and are they still here as problems that we are grappling with now?

    Responses may be written as journal entries.

  2. Divide the learners into groups of four. Bearing in mind the examples of various women and minority groups who acted to improve the common good, learners should devise a questionnaire to assess what the community thinks is needed to be done at the present time to improve conditions. Let the learners brainstorm for about ten minutes and come up with a list of questions. Compile a questionnaire of 10-15 questions to be used to compile the final questionnaire. Survey Question Possibilities (Handout One) can provide samples to consider. Allow one week for learners to conduct the interviews and return with five completed surveys.

  3. Compile the data. Have students put the results of the survey into an article to be given to either the school newspaper or the local newspaper. Each learner should write an essay on why s/he thinks the public selected the problem areas they did, what they see as solutions, and why s/he thinks the public feels as it does. Present the information to the class. As an extension, the learners can write their own opinions as to whether they agree with the public's views.


The learner will complete a written paragraph concerning a philanthropic journal question. Participating in a cooperative learning group, the learner will design a questionnaire about problems that marginalized, disenfranchised and dsiadvantaged groups face, and how they can act as an alternative power structure to face them, and help to improve conditions for the common good. The learner will conduct five surveys in the community.

Cross Curriculum 

The learners will go out into the community and interview five people, each using the survey that s/he has created. They will bring back the results, compile them, and share the results with the community and/or school through the school and/or local newspaper.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.5 Describe how women and minority groups have used the civil society sector as an alternative power structure.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.9 Analyze a major social issue as a "commons problem" and suggest ways the civil society sector could help to resolve it.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.