Understanding Donor Motivation: Feed the Heroes — Discovery Research Case Study

This case study originally appeared on the OpinionX blog.

Feed the Heroes got closer to their donors core values using OpinionX

The Challenge

Feed the Heroes (FTH) is a nonprofit that launched as a rapid response from leaders within Ireland’s startup community to support frontline workers during the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. After passing €1m in donations only 3 months after launching, FTH wanted to deepen their understanding of their donorbase.

The team’s research objectives were to understand donors core values, identify their motivations for donating, and gather feedback on the overall management of the campaign. Their base of 17,000 donors consisted primarily of individuals each making small contributions. Focus groups failed to capture the diversity of the donor base as it would limit the research to small sample sizes. The FTH team were not keen to use surveys as it would either limit their ability to learn new things (multiple choice) or result in a large manual workload to conduct frequency-analysis (open-ended).

The Solution

FTH settled on OpinionX for its ability to scale to large audiences, to gather rich open-ended qualitative input directly from respondents, and to prioritise the insights gathered using participant voting data in order to understand what values represented the largest group of donors.

As a community-driven campaign, FTH maintained a high level of engagement with their donors online and therefore had a signiciant amount of donor-generated opinions already collected from social media and their funding page. 38 of these posts were selected to be added to the OpinionX survey as sample opinions. Sample opinions appear to participants as ordinary user-generated opinions within the survey, enabling FTH to validate initial hypotheses, provide respondents with examples of good statements, and help participants to think of new statements to add.

The Results

Surprisingly, the statement with the highest rated importance showed that donors felt strongly about their ability to support frontline staff while also giving local businesses a financial boost through the FTH campaign.

The vast majority of donors were not directly linked to any frontline workers.

FTH created a channel for people stuck on the sidelines of a growing crisis to contribute towards the cause even if they didn’t have the time, resources or job title to make an impact individually.

The FTH campaign tapped into a wider audience by focusing on the ease of impact, creating a broad base of potential donors by enabling people who were time poor to easily contribute and share proof of their donation online.

The Conclusion

Looking at what people said the most or how many of them said it does not tell you about the importance of that topic. Nearly 25% of the 160+ statements described donors’ interest in supporting for frontline staff, while only 5 referenced the dual impact on local businesses too.

If FTH had simply carried out an ordinary frequency analysis by grouping statements into themes, they would never have known how important the duel impact aspect of their campaign was to their donors.

Looking at what ranks at the bottom tells you just as much about what is important. By looking at statements with low levels of agreement or importance, interesting insights can be gathered about outlier versus consensus views.

Decision-making requires an unavoidable mix of qualitative research to discover new insights and quantitative research to figure out which insights have the greatest magnitude.

In the same way that Feed the Heroes simultaneously solves problems for frontline workers and local businesses, OpinionX enables you to harness the power of both qual and quant research to get to better insights faster.

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Daniel Kyne

Daniel Kyne

Founder of OpinionX, a tool for ranking people’s priorities. I write about building startups, product mgmt + ux research. Prev: Techstars, Unilever, DTS.

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