How nonprofits can benefit from a market research panel

Charitable foundations are in a unique position because revenue is generated on the basis of individual generosity. This can make developing marketing strategies a particularly difficult task. To assist, UK Fundraising, a consulting firm, suggests nonprofits build an online market research panel, which can assist both the organizations and the donors in a variety of ways.

Contributor Insight
Perhaps the most immediately apparent benefit of constructing a market research panel are the invaluable opinions an organization will obtain. Insight from average low-level donors can help nonprofits plan future fundraising activities, structure marketing campaigns and decide whether to hold online charity auctions. A panel can also dissect the decisions which lead contributors to give to one charity over the over or why they may donate only once as opposed to on a regular basis.

Generate additional income
Establishing a successful market research panel can greatly increase existing revenue streams and potentially create new ones. By gleaning donor insight from the panel, organizations can use learned information to alter fundraising and marketing practices which could lead to increased contributions.

What's more, after the panel has been created and proven successful, the operating organization can then leverage the online panel into a new business opportunity. Having quantifiable evidence of the panel's effects, an organization can open up its research panel to other businesses or nonprofits seeking to gain the same kind of customer/donor knowledge. 

Encourage loyalty
According to a 2012 survey from market research firm Cint, 62 percent of customers are more inclined to purchase products when their opinion has been sought by the manufacturer. A research panel gives donors a voice, which can be particularly important with online fundraising campaigns where contributors might feel lost in the ether. This can also foster donor loyalty.

In a study recently published by Qubit, research found 40 percent of an e-commerce site's sales were generated by a loyal 1 percent following. The amount being spent is a direct result of relationship  people have with the business or organization.

By creating an online market research panel, organizations can gather invaluable contributor insight while simultaneously generating additional revenue and cultivating loyalty. Research panels not only address the growing complexities of marketing to online donors, but also help in bridging the gap commonly found between organizations and contributors.

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