Budget pressures and the availability of online survey tools can tempt non-profits to consider do-it-yourself research. It may seem like a good idea, but there are many pitfalls in trying to do the research yourself, and numerous advantages in partnering with a research professional:
Research takes time: At most non-profits, the staff are already overworked. Do you really have the time to select the best methodologies, thoughtfully create the research questions and phrase them in a clear, unbiased fashion, distribute the survey or organize the focus groups, moderate the groups, tabulate and interpret the results, write the research report, and present it to staff, Board, and constituents?
Research takes knowledge: It may seem easy to put together a few questions for a survey, or sit in a room asking questions and leading focus groups. But doing it right takes time, knowledge, and experience - research is a profession, just like being a doctor, attorney, or accountant. Research results impact important decisions that will drive the future of your organization – this deserves professional attention.
To assemble a reliable survey: Knowledge of question construction is essential – questions must be worded in a neutral fashion, order bias must be avoided, using the right response scales is essential to receive usable results.
To conduct successful focus groups or interviews: A skilled moderator involves everyone in the group, knows how to identify responses that are not actionable, handle difficult participants, and ask probing questions that do not lead the participants to a particular conclusion. In addition, participants are less likely to be forthcoming if the moderator is a staff member of your organization.
To interpret survey or focus group results: One must understand which results are significant. What is the statistical margin of error and confidence level of survey responses? Know how to sift through 90-120 minutes of focus group conversation to determine the significant themes and responses. How can the results of a survey and focus group be merged into one plan for action?
Employing a professional ensures reliable, actionable results, and increases the credibility of the research with staff, Board, constituents, donors and other stakeholders.
Be sure that your project is successfully completed by partnering with NonprofitResearchInfo.org. Call us at (719) 541-5374.
Effective research is an investment, not an expense!
No comments yet.
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.