How to use market research to boost profits.
Is your school, parent association, group, or team struggling to achieve fundraising goals? Whether you’re fundraising online or using traditional methods (or both), knowing who your donors are, how they think, and what they want can make a huge difference. That’s where market research comes in. An activity often used in business can easily apply to your nonprofit or group.
So what is market research?
There are tons of marketing blogs and websites out there that define market research. But perhaps the simplest definition comes from TermsCompared.com: “Market research refers to the study of the target market.”
Their blog post continues to explain that market research gathers information about the target market and its consumers. This process can tell you how big your market is; what your customers (or donors) need; what they prefer; and their buying or donating behavior.
This is exciting for nonprofits, schools, and school groups alike because the more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your fundraising efforts to them.
Is market research worth the effort?
Short answer? Yes. Market research is worth it. Suppose your daughter’s band needs to raise money for a competition. Everyone has great ideas for online fundraising options, but you aren’t sure which is right for your school.
If you make assumptions about what will work or go with what the fundraising committee likes, you risk hosting a fundraiser nobody participates in or one that generates lackluster sales.
This is why market research is important. To discover what will work best, you can send an email survey to all parents asking what fundraising activity they’d participate in. What you get back is valuable information that informs your decision.
Or perhaps you’re the chair of a parent association, and you need to cultivate donors that will contribute on an ongoing basis. Because of the pandemic, your gala, historically the best method to attract donors, is canceled. What do you do?
You can still attract and cultivate those relationships online. A little insight into who your potential donors are, where they spend time online, and what types of messages appeal to them will help you craft and deliver the right messages at the right times to motivate them to donate.
Understanding how to conduct market research will give you the foundation to get donors invested enough to keep them contributing.
Want to learn more fundraising news and advice? Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter, where we share best practices, insider scoops, and more.
Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.