Adding Contacts to Email Invitations

Learn how to add contacts (recipients) to an Email Invitation so you can email people your survey. Or import contacts directly in your SurveyMonkey Contacts, then use them in Email Invitations.

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Adding Contacts

Add Contacts

To add contacts using an import method:

  1. Click the Add Contacts button in the upper-right corner of the message.
  2. Choose an import method (described in more detail below).
  3. Name the group (the email addresses will be stored in your Contacts).
  4. Decide what you'd like to do if someone already exists in your Contacts. You can either update contact information associated with the email address with the info in your current import, or ignore import information so the info you already have for that contact stays as is.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Read the section below if you see any errors.

Check out the below section if you see any errors. To add or remove contacts, you can manage your contact group.

Copy & Paste Email Addresses

You can type in or copy and paste a list of email addresses directly in the Send To field. Just pop them in and hit enter.

Recipient & Message Limits

There is a limit to how many people you can send to, as well as how many messages you can send in one day: Sending, Import & Character Limits


Import Methods

Manual List (Simple Copy & Paste)

You can copy and paste a simple list of email addresses using the Manual import option.

Guidelines: Each email address should be on its own line.


Manual List (Advanced Copy & Paste)

You can copy and paste a list of email addresses, names, and custom data using the Manual import option.

If you're using a city and state (like Portland, Oregon) this will create two fields: one for Portland, one for Oregon.

If the commas are too confusing, you can simply copy and paste the rows of your spreadsheet into the box!

Guidelines: Each email address needs to be on its own line with custom data fields separated by commas. If you don't have info for a given field, leave a blank space. You must put the email address first: Email, First Name, Last Name, Custom 1, Custom 2, etc.

Example: Here's an example list with email, first name, last name, 3 custom fields (age, gender, and favorite ice cream flavor). We don't have Jane's age, we don't have Pat's age or gender, and we don't know Marge's favorite ice cream flavor, so we'll leave those blank:

bob@email.com, Bob, Thompson, 39, male, chocolate
jane@email.com, Jane, Smith, , female, strawberry
marge@email.com, Marge, Simpson, 33, female,
pat@email.com, Pat, Lyon, , , pistachio

CSV Spreadsheet

You can create a spreadsheet with people's email, name, and custom data in an application like Excel, Numbers, or Google Sheets, then download it as a CSV to upload into SurveyMonkey.

Guidelines: Each contact needs to be on its own row in the spreadsheet. If you don't have data for a particular contact, just leave the cell blank. Remove the header row from the spreadsheet before you import it. Put the columns in this order with the email address in the first column: Email, First Name, Last Name, Custom 1, Custom 2, etc.

Download an example CSV

Email Import
  • You can use Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, LinkedIn, Microsoft 365, or Outlook.com to import all your contacts. If you make changes to contacts in your email account, they're not reflected in SurveyMonkey (your SurveyMonkey account is not synced to those applications).
  • To add only some contacts or to import contacts from another email provider or site, go to your email account and export the contacts you want as a CSV file, then import the file to SurveyMonkey. For instructions on how to export your contacts to a CSV, please search your email provider's help center.
  • Outlook.com, the free web-based email service formerly known as Hotmail.com, differs from the Microsoft Office Outlook mail application. To import contacts from Microsoft Office Outlook, first export your contacts into a CSV file, and then import the file. Or ask your IT department if your Outlook application is powered by Microsoft 365.


Invalid Email Errors

If you see an error about invalid emails or that “something went wrong” when you try to send or schedule a message, it means you may have:

  • Added duplicate email addresses
  • Included contacts that are opted out or bounced
  • Imported a contact list that wasn’t formatted correctly

Duplicate Emails

You can send one invitation email per email address per collector, by default. When you Invite More and add a contact that was already sent an invitation from the collector, we automatically remove them from your contact list before sending your new message. Enterprise customers may be able to Allow duplicate invites when they choose to Invite More.

Anyone can create a new Email Invitation collector for the survey if you want someone to take a survey more than once. If you want to send someone your invitation message again, anyone can send them a one-off reminder.

Also, don’t send to a Listserv, distribution list, or email alias (since only one person from the list would be able to take the survey). Instead, add the individual emails from the list.

Opted Out or Bounced Emails

You can’t send messages to people who have opted out or bounced. Ask them to opt back in if they want to take your survey. Then, create a new email invitation collector to send them the survey (the old collector will continue to list them as opted out or bounced).

You can check for opted out or bounced emails in the Recipients tab under the Sent column.

Spreadsheet and Contact Errors

If you imported or added a contact list that wasn’t formatted correctly, you won’t be able to send your message. Here are some tips to fix the errors, then try to add contacts again.

  • While there's a hard limit of 10,000 rows per spreadsheet, it may be helpful to break large lists down into multiple CSV files. We suggest files with fewer than 2,500 rows each and import them one at a time. Or copy and paste the rows of the spreadsheet using the Manual import option.
  • Delete the header row from your spreadsheet. Any formatting of the header row can cause errors.
  • Make sure you're using an accepted delimiter for the spreadsheet (colon, semicolon, pipe, comma, or tab), and that your character encoding is in Unicode ( UTF-8 or UTF-16).
  • If your spreadsheet includes Asian characters, make sure your character encoding is set to UTF-8 format.
  • If you're using a Mac, try saving your file as MS-DOS Comma Separated (.csv). Go to File > Save As > Format.
  • Review our import, sending, and character limits for more info on special characters and vanity domains.
  • If you're copying and pasting a list of emails using the Manual import option, make sure the email address is listed first, then you can add other info. Check out the example above.


Editing Contacts

Draft or Scheduled Emails

You can remove contacts from draft or scheduled emails. From the Overview tab, click Resume and expand your contact group in your email invitation, or manage your contact group.

Reminders & Thank Yous

When you're sending a Reminder or Thank You message, you don't upload contacts from scratch. Instead, you can choose from the people you've already invited.

Click Edit Recipients in any Reminder or Thank You message to remove recipients. You can remove up to 1,000 recipients.

Update Email Address or Custom Data

To update someone's data in the Recipients tab:

  1. Click your username in the upper-right corner to go to your Contacts.
  2. Find the email address, click the contact to make edits, and save.
  3. Go back to your Email Invitation collector.
  4. In the Recipients tab, you should see the new info. Any new messages you send will use the up-to-date info you saved in your Contacts.
  5. Export the data from Recipients tab to use when analyzing your results. Contact details are pulled into survey results when a recipient submits their response, so they aren't updated when you make edits in Contacts.
Sent Messages

You can delete a recipient from a sent Email Invitation. One reason you may need to do this is if a recipient requests their Right to Erasure. In this case, the account holder needs to delete all the recipient's personal and response data.

To delete a recipient from the collector:

  1. Go to the Collect Responses section of your survey.
  2. Open the Email Invitation collector used to send your survey.
  3. Click on the Recipients tab.
  4. Click recipient's email address.
  5. Click Remove recipient record.

This removes the recipient from the Email Invitation collector. When you receive a Right to Erasure request, we also recommend that you:


SurveyMonkey Contacts

SurveyMonkey doesn’t sell or use your contact’s email addresses for any reason other than to send your survey, as explained in our Privacy Notice.

Managing Your Contacts

To access your contact list in SurveyMonkey, log in and click your username in the upper-right corner of your account. Then click Contacts.

How To
Create a groupAt the bottom of the left sidebar, click + New Group. Adding contacts to a group allows you to easily add the contacts to an Email Invitation just by typing in the group name in the Send To field.
Browse contactsScroll to the bottom of the contact list and use the left and right arrows to navigate.
Find a specific contactUse the search bar in the upper-right corner. You can search by the first three characters in any field. At this time, you cannot search by domain, and there is no wildcard search available.
Edit a contactClick the contact's email address from the list. A small window will pop up where you can make changes. Edits you make to a contact are reflected in the Recipients tab in existing Email Invitations.
Delete a contact

Go to the All Contacts group and check the box next to the email address you want to delete from Contacts. There's a button at the top to Delete Permanently.

This action only deletes their data from Contacts. If the contact was sent a survey invitation via email or text message, you may have to also delete the recipient's data from the collector and delete the individual's response to fully remove a recipient's personal data from your account.

Export contacts to a CSVClick the down arrow to the right of a group in the left sidebar. The limit is 10,000 contacts per export, so you may need to organize your contacts into smaller groups and export the groups separately.
TIP! You can use these contacts to send people Email Invitations to take your surveys.

Team Collaboration

Contacts are unique to your account. When sharing surveys, you can only send email invitations to email addresses stored in your Contacts—you can't access contacts belonging to other members of your team.

You can keep a list of contacts in SurveyMonkey and send them Email Invitations to take your surveys. Upload a spreadsheet of contacts, or import from Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, LinkedIn, Microsoft 365, or Outlook.com.

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