The value of focus groups

The Value Of Focus Groups

We love crunching data and using the insights we find to improve a peer-to-peer fundraising program. But sometimes the numbers simply aren’t enough.

Truth is…qualitativeanalysis is just as important as quantitative when assessing the performance of your fundraising event or campaign. The feedback you collect from your participants, donors and volunteers can help you understand the ‘why’ behind the metrics and trends you’re tracking with your data. And, most importantly, it can be your key to understanding the bestway to optimise your P2P program.


Focus groups are one of our favouritemethods for collecting this essential qualitative information. And we’d like to share one recent example of how we used focus groups to improve the overall revenue performance of a very special event for one of our Dutch clients…

The COCis the oldest LGBT community organisation in the world, and a regular consultant to the United Nations. Their annual event, called True Colors, had been a sellout event for the previous 3 years, but still struggled to hit their desired revenue targets.

After reviewing their registration and fundraising data, communication strategy, event materials and competitive landscape we developed some theories as to how they couldgenerate significant revenue with the event. But those theories needed to be tested.

So we decided to conduct focus groups for their two distinct participant segments: corporate partners and leaders from other LGBT organisations. Through those sessions, we gained a deeper understanding of the root of the event’s revenue problem…and also realised that some issues that the COC had assumedwere big were actually quite small and easy to resolve.

The insights we gained from those two different perspectives gave us the reassurance we needed to make our final strategic recommendation. As a result, this year’s True Colors event saw a 300% increase in revenue!

Not only can focus groups help you optimise an existing P2P event or campaign, you can also use them to “kick the tires” on a brand new concept. By pulling together members of your desired target audience you’ll able to validate your marketing approach, perfect your fundraising “ask” and refine the participant experience. In the end, you will have a more polished idea and have the reassurance you need to move forward with the launch of your program.

As you can see, focus groups provide insight where quantitative (data) analysis and other qualitative methods (like surveys and participant observation) can fall short. Focus groups explain the ‘why’ behind the data, provide context to the bigger picture of what’s happening with your peer-to-peer program and give you a deeper understanding of how to engage your target audience.

This post is part 1 of 2 in our series about focus groups. In part 2 Arko shared his top tips for conducting a successful focusgroup.FocusGoup

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