Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What Are Your Donors Saying About You?

What are people saying about your organization? How are your donors taking about you? If you don’t know the answers to these crucial questions, here’s how to find out: hold a focus group.

Why hold a focus group?

Because as a fundraisers you have got to know your product inside and out. And in today’s donor-centric fundraising culture, this includes knowing what people really think about you.

What is a focus group?

“A focus group is a small group of people whose opinions about something are studied to learn the opinions that can be expected from a larger group.” – Merriam-Webster

In September, Giving Focus held a series of focus groups at Pines Village Retirement Communities in Valparaiso, IN. Opinions were collected from Pines Village residents, vendors, friends, donors, family, and staff members in order to guide the organization’s future marketing and donor communication efforts.

The results?
  • knowing the words and phrases the community uses to describe the organization
  • knowing what makes the organization unique, setting it apart from the other organizations in the community that provide similar services
  • knowing what inspires people to give to the organization
  • knowing in advance the kinds of questions potential donors will ask

Giving Focus will use this information to shape the internal case statement for supporting Pines Village. (For more information on internal case statements, visit fundraising communications expert Tom Ahern’s website at www.aherncomm.com). Then, Giving Focus will train the Pines Village staff and board on the internal case statement. These trainings will enable the staff and board to talk about their organization in a clear and compelling way that relates to and resonates with donors and supporters. 

What kinds of questions should you ask in a focus group?

Questions should promote an in-depth exploration of participants’ thoughts and feelings. Our questions asked participants what they thought were the biggest strengths and challenges of the organization. We asked what specific words they used when describing the organization. We asked them what they would want know before making a donation to the organization, and what reasons they’d offer to inspire a potential donor to give.

For more information about how we can help you understand what your donors really think about you, contact Andrea today. And be sure to stay tuned for our next blog post – it will tell you all about how to hold a successful focus group.