Back to main

Blog: How Research Can Benefit Your Association

How Research Can Benefit Your Association

Using market research is a great way to make informed and strategic decisions for your not-for-profit organization. While observational data from sources such as Google Analytics or Facebook Insights is widely available, it fails to provide you with deeper insight into your supporters and their reasons for interacting with your not-for-profit. 

Fortunately, quality market research can fill these information gaps for your organization. By relying on valuable research, it’s easier than ever to help your organization thrive. You can not only make more informed strategic decisions but also sustain growth and convert members into enthusiastic advocates. Below, we explore the benefits of using best practices for survey research. 

Market Trends as an Invaluable Tool

If you operate a trade association, your organization can both use and provide information on key market trends for your sector. By doing so, you can not only gain the insight your association needs to make informed decisions, but you also position your organization to be a vital source of insight into key market trends for your sector.

Market research should be considered an excellent investment opportunity for long-term non-dues revenue generation when executed properly. Start by implementing a customized and comprehensive statistical program that collects, analyzes, and reports on unique, highly confidential trends based on actual member data.. Doing so will allow your organization to produce unique market research that provides crucial intelligence on trends and competitive movements within your sector. Such a strategy is a great way to make your organization thrive, as the information in industry market reports would be invaluable to association leadership, members, and other key industry stakeholders. 

Keep in mind that the key for converting market research into non-dues revenue is to select a revenue-generating funding model, whereby your association does not absorb the program costs. Instead, your not-for-profit can generate a consistent revenue stream through annual subscriptions and customized research fees.

Assess Industry Peers to Remain Competitive  

Today’s software and cloud-based research databases make it possible for you to access research that is specific to the size, demographics, and geographical location of your not-for-profit, and its members. Focus on conducting or obtaining research that is narrow in scope and industry-specific in order to gain insight that both your internal stakeholders and members can take advantage of. This way, your members can compare themselves to their cohorts, and they can learn from others while promoting healthy competition in the industry.  

Getting Started With Market Research

Now that you know more about the keys and benefits of market research, you may wonder about the best approach to getting started. Before you embark on your research journey, consider the goals and strategy of your organization so that you can decide on the best direction. Ask yourself:

  • What are your overall organizational goals (both from a mission and values standpoint, and an operational one)?
  • What are your strengths (what does your not-for-profit do best)? What are your weaknesses (the things you wish you could improve on)?
  • What do you know about your audience or community? (This is a great time to develop niche-personas if you don’t already have them in place.)
  • What would you like to know about your audience?
  • Are there any audiences that you’d like to reach or serve, which you aren’t already?

Answering these questions will help you develop clear goals and objectives for your market research. Take your time during this exploratory period. Remember, the more specific and well thought out your answers are to these discovery questions, the more tailored and valuable your research will ultimately be. 

Get the Research Solutions You Need With Vault

Remember, great research is only the beginning. Once your research is complete, integrate it into your content strategy (via workshops, white papers, and even webinars) and regularly solicit your membership for ideas to further enhance the program.

At Vault Consulting, we tailor our research services to help your not-for-profit meet its goals. We take a comprehensive approach while helping you grow the perceived value of your research program over time, so your organization thrives. Contact us for more information about our market research and financial management services. 

Laura Clark, IPC
Laura Clark, IPC
Laura Clark manages every aspect of custom qualitative and quantitative research projects, from research design to presentation of results for associations as well as clients working in consumer, business to business and healthcare...
see full bio