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Market Research for Nonprofits: How to Be Strategic

Properly conducted market research can benefit all types of organizations, even ones in the not-for-profit sector. Indeed, the case might be made that initiating market research for non-profits is particularly critical since most charitable endeavors have limited budgets that can be maximized if only they know how to reach (and retain!) donors. Just like for-profit companies, non-profit organizations must be competitive if they want to survive; market research leads to insights that better an organization’s business practices, whether the aim is to make money for its shareholders or to spend money for those in need! The key is for nonprofits to be strategic with their market research practices, only then will the expense of market research for non-profits be worth it. Here are a few tips:

A research goal enables a company — whether for-profit or not — to weed through superfluous noise and focus only on harvesting answers to a specific problem at hand. In this way, specificity encourages relevancy, with the research goal defining the problem so that only the information with the capacity to solve it is mined and used for possible solutions. For non-profits, especially those with limited budgets, narrowing their market research focus allows them to make faster, more impactful decisions based on the data at hand.

Necessity — not curiosity — should be the motivation behind market research for nonprofits. While curiosity is often a catalyst for organizational change, it’s a luxury that most non-profits don’t have the budget to explore. To save time, money and resources and, thus, be truly strategic, market research for nonprofits needs to be driven by a distinct need (not a desire) to know more. If a non-profit can’t identify why it needs to know something or how it will act upon the insights learned during the research process, then non-profit market research shouldn’t commence.

Strategic market research for nonprofits depends on using the right methodology. Choose the wrong method of data collection and even accurate information won’t be relevant. The right methodology, even if it’s a mixed modal technique, ensures that only the data capable of informing the research goal are collected and analyzed.

Market research for non-profits is only strategic if it can deliver actionable insights that enable non-profit organizations to attract, communicate with and retain their donors. Research America can help you craft a strategic non-profit market research plan that maximizes your resources and offers you meaningful results. Please contact us to learn more.

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