A Planning Study Is Research

Sections of this topic

    In my August 12th posting, I provided a link to a three-part piece on Planning Studies. In that series, I discussed how/why the Planning Study is the best way to determine what programs/activities donors are likely/willing to support, and for identifying which donors will support which program/activity.

    In a Planning Study you are interviewing people/donors who have agreed to be interviewed. People who are amenable to being asked detailed questions, many of which will touch on the personal. Without question, the Planning Study is Research.

    Keep in mind that the people who are the best interviewees are likely to be former and prospective major donors; and, it is also likely that they have participated in previous studies … for yours or other organizations. It is also likely that they know and understand the “Study Process” and its purpose.

    The Study, therefore, should be designed with consideration for all of that.

    Questions should be similar to the following:

    “Of which programs/activities is the community most aware?”
    “Which program/activity do you think should get funding priority?”
    “Which programs do you think your colleagues/friends/peers would support?”
    “What about this program appeals to you?”
    “Would you like to name that program after you and/or your wife, or you parents?”
    “What would you do to make ‘that’ happen?”

    Often, the best questions are:

    “What can we do to get you to want to support that program?” and,
    “What can we do to get you to get your others to support that program?”

    But you can’t ask those questions in a vacuum. There has to be a relationship between the organization and the potential interviewees. Those people have to “want” to be interviewed. They have to feel that granting an interview will satisfy one-or-more of their needs; and, they have to feel that the interview will produce the results they desire.

    Next Week, a piece on “Funding for Donor Acquisition & for Donor Research”

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