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There are various different types of market research which need to be conducted by a charity in order for it to deliver the most effective campaigns and generate the highest possible income.
Fundraising teams will hire market researchers, or fundraising researchers, whose responsibility it is to identify and research prospective individuals, foundations and corporations for large donations, aptly referred to as ‘prospects’. This does not simply involve contacting high net worth individuals and heads of corporations asking for donations; what is important is finding people and companies who have some sort of affinity with the cause of the charity.
Once possible donors have been identified, prospect researchers develop strategies and ‘cultivate’ prospects. This involves getting to know the prospect, both personally and by accessing all publicly available information on them, and deciding on the areas of a given charity that might perhaps interest them the most. Prospect researchers need to familiarise themselves with a code of ethical practice and adhere to all data protection regulations.
They work with event organisers, preparing guest lists and invitations for fundraising and promotional events to try and draw in the largest possible number of potential contributors.
Market researchers also play a hugely important role in charities and not-for-profit organisations.
Researchers gather information through interviews and surveys to determine levels of satisfaction among service users and those who benefit from the charity. This enables the organisation to identify the areas in which they are performing effectively and those to which they need to make improvements.