State of research in not for profits revealed

Almost a third (27%) of charities and not-for-profits have concerns about using original market research, according to new data.

However, around one half (49%) has commissioned an external company to help with this in the past, suggesting the barriers are not a lack of willingness, but a lack of resources.

The biggest barrier to charities and not-for-profits using research is, perhaps unsurprisingly, cost (46%), probably because nearly 90% of the UK’s 160,000 charities have an income below £500k per year.

Jane Hales, Managing Partner at Sapio Research, commented:

There is a big prize to fight for as 44 million Brits donate to charity on a regular basis, so the need to be slick, relevant and targeted is ever more important.

Similarly, with 73% of social enterprises earning more than 75% of their income from trade, developing relevant go to market plans through knowing your market is essential too.

The second biggest barrier to commissioning external research was the lack of trust in data quality (22%).

Simon Francis, Founder Member of Campaign Collective, commented:

Original market research is vital to building campaigns or informing strategy, suggesting too many plans are built on intuition alone.

Developments in artificial intelligence as well as traditional primary research can now help charities understand audiences better than ever, meaning a better donor experience and more effective campaigning.

Issues with research and not-for-profits will be discussed at the PRCA event on research in NFPs on 11 October. Jane has written a series of blog posts for the PRCA on how charities can maximise the use of freely available research sources.

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