They wanted to know who would support one of the least popular causes in Britain and how to engage them on a tiny budget. They were also planning to improve their website and wanted to make the most of the opportunity.
This is where research to understand audiences is key. We discussed what they wanted to do with the work (so if we identified an audience, how would they find and market to them again) and what assumptions they made already about where support might come from.
The team had hunches that people who were migrants themselves would be potential supporters, people who were children of migrants and people with sympathetic views who read The Guardian for example might be better than average areas of support. These people were considered to be empathetic, which made us also consider other people who had migrated within the UK to London.
We conducted research groups with all 4 and some of the findings were surprising.
Not surprisingly people arriving in the UK who had shared similar experiences were the most empathetic and most likely to give. Children of migrants were more conditional but also understood the need for support.
Whilst exploring attitudes to asylum seekers, migration, intra-EU migration two findings caught our eye, the ambivalence of all 4 groups to people’s legal status contrasted strongly with the fierce desire to know whether migrants or asylum seekers were paying tax and making a contribution. It seems all are welcome in London, so long as it’s clear you’re making a financial contribution. In other words my charitable donation is conditional. When we tested a variety of stories of migrants and asylum seekers, those which mentioned their back story AND the contribution they make now, for example as a teacher, or community worker were much more likely to engage and motivate action. A vital insight for a fundraiser seeking to engage.
So what of our Guardian readers group, all of whom identified as givers to charity? The people in our group demonstrated little empathy or desire to give to this cause, a reminder perhaps that a shared view expressed through media choice might be a poor indicator of giving propensity?
Our young, 20 something migrants from within the UK to London surprised us too. They expected that during their career they would work abroad in another country and were correspondingly optimistic, open and relaxed about people coming to the UK and doing the same. Secondly as new arrivals to London themselves they wanted to connect with migrants and asylum seekers, wanting to share skills and social experiences. We can’t wait to be invited to the first ‘New To London Charitable Feast’.
This audience insight has helped MRC develop their fundraising strategy and web presence – and before you launch another campaign, or revamp your website, run your own focus group. Find out what your audience is thinking about your cause at the moment.
You might also like this article on how Foodcyle researched foody volunteers or this article on what music events appeal to fundraisers, or get in touch if we can help: firstname.lastname@example.org