Case Study

Using Segmentation to Target Those Most Likely to Give


A medical and research non-profit was developing a strategic plan to grow their base of charitable donors. To help with this initiative, they sought to gain a thorough understanding of the different motivations to support charitable organizations, as well as general attitudes and emotions associated with the act of giving.

C+R created a multi-phase qualitative and quantitative project culminating in a comprehensive segmentation of donors (based on motivations for giving); the final product was touted by the client and stakeholders as one of the most impactful pieces of research ever conducted at the organization.


Need to Uncover Motivations/Emotions to Boost Donations

A non-profit medical and research treatment facility wanted to gain a thorough understanding of the different donor audiences and prospects’ motivations to donate and support charitable organizations, as well as to uncover attitudes and emotions associated with the act of giving.

They approached C+R to help them conduct research that would be used to inform the ongoing strategy as well as identify opportunities for growth.


Using many methods in our toolbox

C+R developed a multi-stage qual and quant project that included stakeholder interviews, exploratory qualitative and a quantitative segmentation.

First, the client and research teams engaged in a kickoff meeting to review what was known and unknown. As part of this meeting, the teams also put together a wish list of things the client wanted to learn to push the business forward. Stakeholder interviews were then conducted to identify success criteria for the organization.

Next, C+R conducted exploratory qualitative research using online discussions, webcam interviews, and video emotion tracking. Through rich discussion, emotion-based projective activities, and ZOE, a video emotion analysis tool, this phase helped explore and bring to life current donors and prospects and identify motive and emotions.

The learnings from the qualitative phase were used to feed into the survey and supplement/support the quantitative segmentation solution. Via a large-scale segmentation, C+R identified why this charity is chosen (or not) over sister charities, along with universal motivations to give. Donors were then segmented on the differentiating motivations and values to give. A deep dive of each segment was delivered, including segment size and each segment’s story and strategies for where to reach them, messaging themes and tonality, and more.

Once the research was completed, a series of presentations throughout the client organization were conducted to introduce the segmentation, as well as to institutionalize the learnings as part of the client’s on-going strategies. Additionally, a concise final presentation was delivered that included data and qualitative insights. To bring the segments to life, donors were recruited to participate in these sessions to represent attitudinal segments via a virtual panel discussion and speed-dating exercises. This provides stakeholders a “firsthand look” at each of the segments.

The result

A Critical Playbook for Targeting & Messaging Strategies

C+R discovered four universal themes for why donors give to charity, which led to five distinct segments for whom our client can strategize. The results of this research have been used to drive significant changes within this charitable organization specific to their strategies for motivating donations.

Our client called the research the most impactful study they have ever conducted. Other accolades include these comments made by our client’s internal stakeholders:
“This segmentation research is helping our work daily.”
“This is a marketer’s dream. It is so strategic and helps us build data-first strategies.”
“This is a game-changer!”
“This information is validating and extremely insightful.”

proven experience

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