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If you are looking for new ideas to engage with your donors and prospects in 2022, then why not ask them directly? Surveying your supporters is a great way to learn about why they give and how to increase your results. People are often remarkably open to telling charities what they think and valuable insights can be gained from engaging with them.
Today, there is a range of ways to carry out research with your donors, which can be divided into quantitative research (asking a lot of people a range of standard questions) and qualitative research (asking a smaller number of people more in-depth questions). Either way, it is very easy and cheap today for charities to carry out research.
For quantitative surveys, fundraisers used to carry out postal surveys, which were slow and quite expensive to run. Now though, this can all be done online via products such as SurveyMonkey, where you can very quickly and cheaply create and deliver a survey reaching many thousands of people and then run the analysis to understand the results. It is very useful for testing new ideas before you execute them.
Quantitative surveys used to be run in focus groups, where a dozen or so people would be assembled in a room and a conversation led by a facilitator to explore key issues in detail. Today, these can also be run online, which reduces costs such as venue hire and also makes it easier to assemble a group. Proceedings can easily be recorded so you have a record of what was said.
Question to Ask
So what sort of issues can you usefully explore in surveys? For fundraisers, the following are some common topics:
Focus groups can also be used to explore very specific information. For example, we use them when planning legacy campaigns to check on things like the messaging, the comms options, the choice of person to front the campaign and so forth. You can gain a lot of useful feedback before you go public.
One caveat with focus groups is to make sure you get a representative sample of the audiences you will be targeting and to ensure when running them that you enable all voices to be heard.
With a bit of planning, both forms of research can not only give you valuable supporter insights, but often motivate people to maintain or increase their support. They can be a good form of donor engagement as well as providing useful intelligence.
So perhaps your plans for 2022 should include some research into your donors? It won’t be time or money wasted.
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