Three reasons why charities should build a market research panel

Howard Lake | 30 October 2013 | Blogs

Brands, businesses and charities have long recognised the benefits of market research to help them gain valuable insight on their target market when assessing the potential success of a marketing campaign, product or service. Usually, using a market research agency can help in this area in providing a survey panel for the organisation to use. However, building a panel for on-going use can have many benefits, particularly for not-for-profit organisations. Here are three reasons how charities can benefit from owning their own panel that can be used for market research.

Gaining opinion

The most obvious way to use a survey panel is to gain opinion, and this is as valid for charitable organisations as it is for big brands. For example, charities can obtain opinion on fundraising activities from supporters to help the charity in making these activities more successful, thus enhancing fundraising opportunities and positively affecting the amounts raised.
It can also be a useful tool to reach out to corporate donors to seek their opinion and gather insight that can be used when targeting further potential donors.
It is also valuable to gain opinion on marketing efforts, such as what messages and imagery resonate with supporters, where to concentrate ad spend or whether street fundraising is valuable. A charity may also wish to understand better what are deciding factors when people choose one charity over another, either on a one-off or regular basis, and what could influence a change of resolve.

Generating an income

A survey panel provides another opportunity for charities to generate income. Building and maintaining a credible online panel brings with it the opportunity for the organisation to open its community to others that want to poll consumers. For example, a market research agency working on behalf of a global technology brand that wants to understand mobile usage habits, an entrepreneur that wants to test the demand for a new beauty product, or a publisher that needs to collect opinion on breaking news to use in an article.
This gives both the panel owner (the charity) and the panel member (the survey respondent) – a ‘thank you’ payment. This makes it mutually beneficial so that revenue is generated for the charity and the members are incentivised and also duly remunerated. Supporters can then of course be given the option to donate their thank you payments to the charity.


Securing loyalty

It has been proven that people are more loyal to a brand that asks the opinion of its advocates. In fact, a Cint survey in 2012 showed that 62% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product if their opinion has been sought by a brand, meaning charities can also take advantage of this boost towards greater loyalty from supporters.
Being asked their opinion gives the panel members a sense that they have a voice and are valued, which means they are likely to continue supporting the charity and taking part in surveys. This enables the relationship to evolve and strengthen, helping to achieve a long-lasting bond.
Charities and not-for-profits can set up survey panels using DIY research tools that are easy to use and cost effective, meaning they can start to reap the rewards immediately.
Bo Mattsson is the chief executive of Cint, a global provider of technology for creating survey panels and obtaining market insight. Bo founded Cint in 1998 when he decided to apply his experience of trading online to the market research industry. He then took over as CEO in 2003 to revamp the core market research software into an exchange-based offering for respondent access.
Image: Market research panel questions by Hoperan on