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Identifying new donor groups, and understanding the motivation to donate


To reach fundraising goals, a major hospital foundation needed to identify ways to increase donations among groups who are traditionally less likely to donate, while increasing the amount given by their existing donor base. To do this, research was commissioned to identify motivators that could be used in the development of effective messaging to target existing donors and potential donors. The research was designed to identify potential opportunities among non-donor groups and also identify preferred channels of donation.

Additionally, given growing cultural diversity, the Foundation also felt it was important to understand the motivations within specific ethnic communities. The research separately targeted the Italian, South Asian and Chinese communities to understand any differences that might exist in attitudes to donating.


A two-stage research process of qualitative exploratory research followed by quantitative research was undertaken. Focus groups, mini-focus groups and on-on-one interviews were conducted, followed by an extensive set of surveys, both telephone and online, among donors, former donors, non-donors and corporate donors. An ethnic oversample was included in the non-donor research to provide additional insight on how to encourage those from Chinese, Italian and South Asian communities to donate.


The research identified areas of opportunity for the Foundation in its fundraising activities. It also revealed the key types of messages that are more likely to draw the public into donating, all the while de-prioritizing other potential messaging avenues that were found to have little emotive value.

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