What types of insurance should I consider for my charity?

Let’s make this simple! Here are the various insurances you might need as a charity and why…

Running a charity or voluntary organisation takes a very special set of skills, devotion, passion and a lot of heart. Charities, especially in their infancy stages, are often working with tight budgets and valuable but limited resources. It’s for these reasons you need to think about insurance for your organisation – though you may assume no one would see the appeal in targeting your organisation for financial gain, Charities and other not for profit organisations are the subject of legal action more commonly than you would expect.

Insurance for your charity or voluntary group is a key tool in protecting your organisation, your events, your reputation and your people.  In many respects your insurance requirements may be similar to other types of organisations although you will also need to balance your potential risk exposures against the costs of certain covers and limits.

However, we understand that with so many options, choosing the correct insurances can be tricky – so we have created a simple Q&A to help and guide you through some of the common insurance covers available and help you understand what insurance is right for your charity or voluntary organisation.

Do you interact with the public?

If your organisation comes into contact with third parties such as the public, other organisations and/or volunteers, then you should consider Public Liability cover. This type of insurance covers you against claims for any accidental injuries or any damage that is caused to third parties or their property which are due to your negligence.

For example, if an attendee at one of your events injures themselves or a venue is damaged as a result of carelessness or negligence by your organisation, Public Liability would cover the legal costs to defend claims made against your organisation, and any damages which may be awarded against you.

Specialist charity insurance policies should provide cover for a broad range of practical care, support and promotional activities but always check that you have provided insurers with enough information about what you do.

Do you have a board of trustees, committee members or directors?

The trustees, committee members and/or directors of your charitable organisation are often the decision makers and if a mistake is made, they could be held personally responsible for financial loss or reputational damage to your organisation. You should ensure Trustee’s liability insurance protects your organisation as well as individual trustees from the costs of legal disputes and investigations.

Do you have employees or volunteers?

If you employ an individual to work for your organisation, whether they are temporary, part time and/or full-time, it is your responsibility to protect them. This also extends to anyone volunteering on behalf of your charity or voluntary organisation. If you have any paid employees, it’s also a legal requirement for you to provide Employers Liability with heavy fines for organisations which fail to do so.

Employers’ liability cover will protect employers from claims arising from employees alleging that they have suffered injury or disease, (or potentially claims from dependents if the accident has resulted in a fatality) as a result of your negligence whilst carrying out their duties. If you’ve taken out Employers’ Liability insurance for staff, it’s likely that anyone who volunteers for you will be covered under this policy, although you should double check with your insurer/broker.

Do you give advice?

When a charity provides a professional service, they could be held legally liable for any financial loss, injury or damage that occurs if the charity is alleged to provide inadequate advice or a quality of service which falls below standard. Professional Indemnity insurance, often referred to as PI insurance, can cover any legal costs and expenses incurred in your defence against claims, as well as any damages or costs incurred as a result of following the advice or service.

Also bear in mind that if you are engaged in certain regulated activities such as legal or financial advice then more specialist cover may be necessary.

Do you own buildings or other property?

Trustees of charities are expected to safeguard the organisation’s assets and in the event of a fire, flood, or other physical damage, the organisation may need to rely on an insurance policy to cover the cost to rebuild, repair or replace damaged property.

Where your organisation is reliant on the property for your trading activities, you may also want to consider Business Interruption which will replace any lost income or additional costs whilst repairs or rebuilding is underway

Are such covers available under one policy?

The answer is yes. Ideally, you should ask your insurance broker about specialist combined policies which will not only provide cost-effective cover for a broad range of activities but also ease your own administration by covering as much as possible with one schedule and a single renewal date.

Where can I go for more information?

This article has been kindly contributed by Aviva’s charity insurance brokers BHIB Insurance, Allied Westminster, and charity specialist MGA, aQmen Underwriting

Are you looking for specialist insurance or need advice on your charity’s requirements? Our Aviva products are available via insurance brokers across the UK. If you already have an insurance broker, please contact them for guidance and to get a quote.

If you need to find a broker, this look up tool from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) will help you locate one local to you.

Alternatively, we work with three brokers who specialise in charity insurance products. Please feel free to contact them directly to receive their expert advice.

Protection of legal liabilities and Professional Indemnities

Do you need to consider Professional indemnity insurance?

When a charity provides a professional service, they could be held legally liable for any financial loss, injury or damage that occurs if the charity is alleged to provide inadequate advice or insufficient charitable services.

Professional Indemnity often referred to as PI, can cover any legal costs and expenses incurred in your defence against claims, as well as any damages or costs incurred as a result of following such negligent or erroneous advice or service.

The range of professional advice extends from local civic societies and other local charities that provide sign-posting services (i.e. directing people to a source of specialist information) right up to providing specialist legal or financial advice.

Professional advice can be split into a number of main areas.

  • The “signpost” type organisations are usually considered to be low risk. The advice they provide is usually quite generic and is usually accepted as the standard response. They will normally direct service users to more specialist advisors who will be able to guidance which addresses the service users’ individual needs. Quite often the service users will not be paying to receive this advice, which reduces the chances of a successful claim.
  • Organisations that provide more bespoke advice and especially where that advice is provided for a fee, are an increased risk. Insurers may wish to know how this is provided, as well as what specific services they are providing This may include advice on debt management, pregnancy/abortion, careers advice, grief counselling etc. The range of possibilities is potentially very wide; however, each organisation should ensure that they stay within its own area of expertise. Insurers may want to know about the qualifications and experience of those providing the advice too
  • At the higher end of the risk scale are organisations that provide regulated activities such as legal or financial advice. These should only be provided by a qualified practioner and may require a more specialist insurance cover in place. It’s important that you let your broker know if you will be providing any regulated activities.
  • Organisations which provide hands-on care and treatment or more specialised advice e.g. drug/alcohol rehabilitation advice may also need some specialist PI insurance. Medical malpractice risk is usually excluded as part of a professional indemnity cover, so this may also need to be arranged separately.

Charity trustee or not-for-profit organisation’s management liability insurance

There are pressures on all organisations to stay focused on priorities and have a clear direction on the overall aims of the business. Charities and not-for-profit organisations are no different. The trustees, committee members and/or directors of your charitable organisation are often the decision makers and if a mistake is made, they could be held responsible for financial losses incurred  by your organisation or third parties. Trustee’s liability insurance protects your organisation and your trustees from the costs of legal disputes and investigations, and any damages awarded in the event that they are negligent in acting as a trustee, director or member of a management committee.

Top Tips to reduce management liability risk:

  • create a clear business plan that sets out the aims, objectives and policies of the organisation
  • create financial plans and budget controls
  • use career plans and targets
  • monitor financial and operation performance
  • ensure clear two-way communication with beneficiaries and fund providers

Here at Aviva we offer cover to protect individuals for personal liabilities incurred while acting as a trustee or committee member arising from a variety of claims, for example failing to act in a charity or organisations best interests as a result of lack of management or governance.

Need some insurance guidance?

This article has been kindly contributed by Aviva’s charity insurance brokers BHIB Insurance, Allied Westminster, and charity specialist MGA, aQmen Underwriting

Are you looking for specialist insurance or need advice on your charity’s requirements? Our Aviva products are available via insurance brokers across the UK. If you already have an insurance broker, please contact them for guidance and to get a quote.

If you need to find a broker, this look up tool from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) will help you locate one local to you.

Alternatively, we work with three brokers who specialise in charity insurance products. Please feel free to contact them directly to receive their expert advice.

Do you need Employers’ Liability insurance for your volunteers?

What is Employers’ Liability insurance?

Employers’ Liability insurance protects your charity or voluntary organisation arising from employees alleging that your negligence caused them to suffer an illness or injury whilst they were carrying out their work duties. All employers in the United Kingdom are required by law to hold Employers’ Liability insurance, including charities. The law requires that you have a minimum level of cover of £5 million.

Do charities need Employers’ Liability insurance for volunteers?

Charities have a duty of care for volunteers, just as they do for their paid staff members. Having the right insurance in place for volunteers is vital and the Charity Commission strongly advises charities to insure their volunteers as well as their staff.

Insuring your volunteers against injury and illness usually falls into one of two covers – either Employers’ Liability insurance or Public Liability insurance. Whether or not volunteers are covered under Employers’ Liability insurance can vary depending on the type of policy from your insurer/insurance broker, although it is more common than not that on policies designed for the voluntary sector that volunteers will be treated as employees.  Whilst Employers’ Liability is only legally required where you have paid employees, the cover provided is usually broader than Public Liability and will provide greater protection to you and your volunteers.

Top Tips to manage the safety of employees and volunteers:

  • ensure the requirements of each role is clearly documented and agreed
  • develop written risk assessments and regularly monitor working environments to ensure safe working conditions
  • keep adequate training records

Where can I go for more information?

This article has been kindly contributed by Aviva’s charity insurance brokers BHIB Insurance, Allied Westminster, and charity specialist MGA, aQmen Underwriting

Are you looking for specialist insurance or need advice on your charity’s requirements? Our Aviva products are available via insurance brokers across the UK. If you already have an insurance broker, please contact them for guidance and to get a quote.

If you need to find a broker, this look up tool from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) will help you locate one local to you.

Alternatively, we work with three brokers who specialise in charity insurance products. Please feel free to contact them directly to receive their expert advice.

A Guide to Insuring a Charity Fundraising Event

Holding events is a common form of effective fundraising for charities and voluntary organisations. Whilst you will want to focus as much time as possible into raising money for your cause, it’s important to ensure that you’re controlling any potential risks and arrange adequate insurance protection – should the worst happen.

Whether your event is a small coffee morning or a summer festival involving the whole town, having the right insurance in place is essential. Your charity and your trustees have a duty of care to your employees, volunteers, participants and members of the public and the required insurance can vary depending on the type of event and who is involved – so it is important to make sure you are clear on the details of your insurance policy.

Most types of events you are responsible for should be able to be covered under your main combined policy. However, you should always ensure that all types of events and activities have been declared and agreed with insurers. You should also be clear, where third parties such as stallholders or activity organisers are involved, that they are aware of their responsibilities including having their own insurances in places if required.

Below we’ve broken down the types of cover available and what makes up a typical policy.

Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability insurance covers your organisation in the instance that someone injures themselves at your event or there is damage to a third party’s property which come about because of your negligence. For example, if you held an Arts and Crafts fair and an attendee tripped over misplaced storage boxes and hurt themselves, you could be held liable. Similarly, if you damaged a rented space whilst holding a fundraising event such as a clothes drive or an auction, the owner of the space could look to seek compensation.

Although Public Liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement when holding an event, it may be a requirement of the venue owner to have this in place and it could save your charity or community group thousands of pounds in the event of a claim.

Employers’ Liability Insurance

Employers’ Liability insurance is a legal requirement if your charity is employing staff for the event, whether these are temporary, part-time or full-time workers. If an employee experiences an injury or illness during the event as a result of your negligence, they can take legal action against you. For example, you could be held responsible if one of your staff members injures their ankle whilst putting up decorations for your charity summer ball because you provided them with a broken stepladder

If you have taken out Employers’ Liability insurance for your employees, then it’s likely that your volunteers will also be covered under this policy, although you should double check with your insurer/broker before you host your event. Whilst you don’t legally need to have Employers’ Liability insurance if you are only using volunteers, it does generally provide better protection for them and your organisation.

Equipment Insurance

Whether you are organising a fun run, a fete or a bake sale, if you are using some form of equipment to deliver your event, you may need to cover these too including if they are hired especially for the occasion. The costs of expensive electrical equipment such as laptops, speakers and microphones can soon add up if they need to be replaced due to being lost, damaged or stolen. Equipment cover can protect your organisation against paying out for expensive repairs or replacements.  If you have a combined insurance policy in place you may have some automatic cover already for temporarily taking equipment away from your main premises to the special event venue.

Event Cancellation Insurance

Event cancellation cover can safeguard your charity or voluntary organisation against the costs and expenses that may occur as a result of a cancelled, disrupted or postponed event. Event cancellation may compensate for reasons out of your control such as adverse weather, terrorism or non-appearance of key speakers or performers that would lead to you cancelling the event, as well as a multitude of other reasons.

If this type of cover is required it is advisable to arrange as far in advance as possible otherwise it may be more costly or more difficult to obtain if requested too close to the actual event

Top Tips to reduce risk when planning events:

  • create a comprehensive risk assessment for every event
  • ensure your insurance cover meets the needs of any third-party venue hirer
  • check that third party stallholders and activity organisers have the right level of insurance cover in place
  • inform appropriate authorities about your event in good time.

Where can I go for more information?

This article has been kindly contributed by Aviva’s charity insurance brokers BHIB Insurance, Allied Westminster, and charity specialist MGA, aQmen Underwriting

Are you looking for specialist insurance or need advice on your charity’s requirements? Our Aviva products are available via insurance brokers across the UK. If you already have an insurance broker, please contact them for guidance and to get a quote.

If you need to find a broker, this look up tool from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) will help you locate one local to you.

Alternatively, we work with three intermediaries who specialise in charity insurance products. Please feel free to contact them directly to receive their expert advice.

Measuring your impact effectively part 2

Do you have the right measurements in place to track against your goals? Learn how to measure, quantify and communicate your impact to prove your charity’s worth.

Organisations are no longer measured purely on their outputs but also on how they achieve social and environmental goals. We know that, for many of you, measuring and reporting on your impact can be quite daunting and complex.

So, throughout 2020 we’re pleased to offer a free, two part webinar on ‘Measuring the Difference Your Work Makes’ delivered by our expert partners at the Foundation for Social Improvement.

This two-part webinar series is open to all causes.

This is a recording of the second webinar held in September 2020. It provides an overview of evaluation approaches and will equip you with the skills to effectively demonstrate the impact of your organisation.

Please allow 90 minutes to watch the recording in full. If you’d like to view the first webinar you can find this here.

If you’d like to join an upcoming live presentation of this training with the opportunity to ask your own questions, look out for invitations via our Aviva Community Fund Facebook Group.

Measuring impact series: Considerations to be aware of when conducting your own research

Ethical considerations

All research should consider the wellbeing of the participants completing the research and the researcher / interviewer throughout the research process. This not only ensures the safety of all, but that participants take part giving their consent, understand what the research is about and are not mislead in any way. Some key principles that need top be abided by are as follows:

  • All participation should be voluntary
  • Informant consent should be obtained in all instances
  • No harm should come to participants or researcher
  • Ensure anonymity and confidentiality throughout
  • Transparency and not deceiving participants

The MRS (Market Research Society) Code of Conduct

The Market Research Society (MRS) is a professional body for the market research industry. They have devised a code of practice which all MRS members are obliged to follow and is also an excellent guide for those not working in the market research sector. For more information and for the full, official code of conduct, see https://www.mrs.org.uk/standards/code-of-conduct

  1. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in research

Data protection is extremely important in research, not only to abide by the law, but to protect sensitive and personal information from participants. Ultimately, to ensure participants feel comfortable completing surveys and uphold research credentials in the industry.

There are many considerations that need to be taken on board and implemented in research in order to be compliant with GDPR guidelines and regulations. The most important ones to note are:

  • Data collection
  • All participants need to give informed consent and made aware upfront if they will be asked sensitive topics or questions. If you want to invite your customers to take part in a survey, you can only reach out to them if they have given explicit permission to be contacted for these purposes. In addition to this, you will need to gain consent in the first wave of research to recontact participants again if you have any farther questions to ask them.
  • Ensure all data from participants, regardless of whether this is quantitative, qualitative, face-to-face or online, is anonymised and remains confidential unless specific consent is gained at the beginning of the research.
  • Data storage & transfer
  • Make sure all data, even when it is anonymised, is stored securely. If any personal information is obtained, it needs to be securely destroyed within sensible retention period.
  • If the participant contacts you and asks for their data to be deleted, you will need to quickly respond to them and delete their data from all sources as requested.

All research agencies should be abiding by these steps and have a variety of measures in place to ensure no data breaches happen.

Adapting research in accordance with target audience & other considerations

Research among children

If the research involves interviewing a child under 16, parental (or locus parentis) consent is required. For further information on points to consider see https://www.mrs.org.uk/pdf/MRS-Code-of-Conduct-2019.pdf – point 16-22

Research among vulnerable people

The research design and process will need to be reviewed if research is carried out among vulnerable people. Those running the research will need to make sure that participants are able to give informed consent and careful consideration will need to think about their wellbeing during the research which may mean introducing specific safeguarding measures.   

For more information visit: https://www.mrs.org.uk/pdf/MRS-Code-of-Conduct-2019.pdf – point 23-24

Research on sensitive topics

Before any research is carried out, consideration should be taken if the survey or interview covers any questions or areas that may be sensitive to others or cause embarrassment. Such topic areas could be, sex, health, religion, ethnicity etc.

To minimise this:

  • Make sure topic area is outlined at the beginning of the research and informed consent is gained before research commences
  • Potentially provide details of a confidential helpline telephone number and email address which participants can contact if they need support or information.
  • Reassure participants about the anonymity of their data
  • Make sure participants are not forced to answer any sensitive questions or provide demographic information if they feel uncomfortable doing so.

For more information visit: https://www.mrs.org.uk/pdf/MRS-Code-of-Conduct-2019.pdf

Conducting pilot research and/or participatory research methods help to minimise some of the risks associated with these types of research. It is always good practice to reach out to market research specialists if you have any worries or concerns.

This article was kindly contributed by Hannah Kilshaw, Research Director at ICM Unlimited.

Measuring impact series: Different ways to carry out qualitative research

Ultimately, qualitative research is used to explore and understand a research problem (rather than quantitatively measure it). It focuses on attitudes, feelings, language and expression.

  1. Qualitative Research Approaches

Broadly speaking, there are three types of qualitative research….

A. Groups e.g. focus groups, co-creation workshops, online bulletin boards
B. Depth interviews e.g. one-to-one interviewing, in pairs or threes
C. Observation e.g. passive observation and ethnography

Groups and depth interviews can be conducted both online and face-to-face. As there are several techniques, here’s a brief overview of the most well-known and frequently used ones.

Focus Groups

A standard face to face focus group includes 6-8 participants per group. The attendees are normally recruited on certain criteria e.g. they all live alone for example. Focus groups are usually 90-120 minutes long. An online focus group will hold fewer participants but can still last an hour and a half.

Advantages

• Range of views in a short space of time; highlights similarities and differences quickly
• More creativity and debate – participants spark off one another
• Can be observed by others from your organisation
• Can be relatively quick turnaround, and cost efficient

Disadvantages

• Strong personalities in the group can dominate, affecting other’s willingness to talk or open up and be honest
• Group affect – can lose individual differences, in preference for group consensus
• Hot-housing – focusing too narrowly on an issue, losing perspective

Depth interviews

Depth interviews are often used when independent recollection is needed, for decision making processes, e.g. how they accessed your services, or for intimate and personal subjects. You can conduct 1-2-1 depth interviews or have paired / triad interviews. This will depend on the research aims, nature of the topic, locations, budget etc.

Advantages

• More depth of information; more probing
• Less sense of embarrassment / more sensitivity
• Understand the individual story without fear of what a wider group think
• Useful for independent, individual experiences and where peer discussion isn’t needed

Disadvantages

• Time-consuming – travel, conducting the interviews, analysis; therefore more costly per participant
• Less opportunity for creativity and interaction
• Sometimes one-to-ones are mistakenly viewed in a quantitative way

Observation

A typical qualitative observation is when data collection is usually a passive process where the researcher does not interact with the observed person. The researcher needs to remain objective when interpreting ambiguous behaviour. Qualitative observation can also involve other aspects of customer behaviour e.g. accompanying a participant whilst they use an aspect of your services, observing their behaviour, audio / video-recording as well as using a guide for discussion.

Advantages

• Can reveal discrepancies between what people say and what they actually do
• Can be conducted as an observation therefore removing interviewer effect

Disadvantages

• Subject to observer’s interpretation
• If observation only with no other interaction, reasons for behaviour can be missed

Creating a discussion guide

What is a discussion guide? Why is it useful, and typical length

A discussion guide is used to provide structure to the interview / group. Qualitative research should still be unambiguous, clear and concise, unbiased, and rigorous and reliable. This is so the research can be replicated by other interviewers or facilitators if need be.

The guide is used by the person leading the group to help direct the flow of questions (with prompts and probes as required) and allows the researcher to follow a consistent path across groups / depths.

Discussion guides can be creative, and a wide array of stimulus can be used, e.g.
• Existing materials, communications (websites, newsletters, email) or promotional materials (adverts, brochures). These are easiest to use.
• New ideas (concepts, pack designs, storyboards), which can be valuable to test before launch.

Moreover, projective techniques (replacing direct questions with inventive / creative ones) can be used in qualitative research and gives participants the opportunity to talk more openly about the subject. These techniques are particularly helpful when participants feelings are subconscious, irrational, too personal or embarrassing. An example of a projective technique is ‘personification’ – If our charity was a celebrity, who would they be?

Further reading & information
Additional information and guidance on qualitative research approaches can be found here:

  1. MRS events and conferences
  2. Yvonne McGivern. 4th Edition (2013). The Practice of Market Research: An Introduction
  3. Get in touch with a market research specialist https://www.mrs.org.uk/researchbuyersguide

This article was kindly contributed by Hannah Kilshaw, Research Director at ICM Unlimited.

Measuring impact series: Designing your questionnaire

Questionnaire structure

The structure of a questionnaire is important to ensure it is clear and easy to complete, and that participants are guided through the questions in a chronological order.

Also consider the order of your questions as you want to minimise priming or framing topics to reduce bias if they are asked about later in the questionnaire.

A typical questionnaire will be structured as follows:

  • Screening section at the beginning of the survey will ensure you are talking to the right people i.e. your target sample
  • Main body of the questionnaire will cover the key questions you want to find out, starting broadly, then becoming more focused as the questionnaire progresses
  • Lastly, any final demographic information not essential in the screening section is gathered for profiling and analysis

Types of questions

The questionnaire should include different types of questions to achieve robust data and maintain participant engagement throughout the survey. Different question types include:

  • Structured questions (closed and open-ended)
  • Question styles e.g. yes/no, choose from list, agree/disagree, drag ‘n’ drop etc.
  • Open-ended questions – participants can freely type or say what they want to answer the question

Also think about question wording: questions should be clear, specific, and easy for every participant to answer.

Questionnaire length

Overall, you need to be mindful of the length of the questionnaire. An optimal online questionnaire will last no more than 10-15 minutes in length. Any longer than this tends to lead to respondent fatigue and potentially a higher level of drop out.

If a face-to-face method is used, the questionnaire length may need to be very short if intercepting people in the street. Conversely, a longer questionnaire may be acceptable and appropriate if you are completing an in-home face-to-face survey.

  1. Further reading & information

Additional information and guidance on quantitative research approaches can be found here:

  1. MRS events and conferences
  2. Yvonne McGivern. 4th Edition (2013). The Practice of Market Research: An Introduction
  3. Get in touch with a market research specialist https://www.mrs.org.uk/researchbuyersguide

This article was kindly contributed by Hannah Kilshaw, Research Director at ICM Unlimited.

Measuring impact series: Different ways to carry out quantitative research

Quantitative research methods are typically used to measure how many people feel, think or act – essentially, they quantify how many people say ‘X’, do ‘Y’, think ‘Z’. Standard quantitative methods are polls or surveys. Here we look at some of the different ways to carry out quantitative research.

  1. Quantitative Research Approaches

There are two main ways quantitative research can be completed by the target sample, either by ‘self-completion’ or ‘interviewer administered’. The former means that the participant (a person who has agreed to take part in the research) completes the research themselves, whilst the latter means that an interviewer asks the questions and records the participants’ answers for them.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach to quantitative data collection, and self-completion or interviewer administered techniques are chosen for several different reasons. Factors such as budget, timings, subject matter of the research and the target sample need to be considered.

Self-completion methods

Online 

An online survey is one that participants complete themselves on a device (e.g. laptop, tablet or mobile phone).

Advantages

  • Is typically cheaper & faster than other methods
  • Large sample sizes can be achieved nationally and internationally
  • No interviewer bias
  • Stimuli such as videos, can be included in the survey

Challenges

  • Potential sampling issues can occur –hard-to-reach participants can be difficult to identify. Consider whether your online survey is accessible by all recipients.
  • Technical issues – some online surveys may not open correctly on certain browsers or devices – carry out a quick test before sending if possible.

Using an interviewer:                                                                                                                 

Face-to-face

A face-to-face survey can be carried out almost anywhere; in-home, at an event or by asking people on the street.

Advantages

  • Rapport – theinterviewer can build rapport, which is important for sensitive research subjects
  • Targeted – you can very selective about geographical areas and/or demographics
  • High quality – has a reputation for delivering representative samples and high quality data.

Challenges

  • Cost and time – additional costs, such as interviewers time, need to be accounted for and time completing the interviews can mean the project can be time-consuming.
  • Reach – can be difficult, or at least very costly, if you need to reach all regions/areas of the population.
  • Bias – the rapport and influence of the interviewer can generate bias

Telephone

Advantages

  • Sampling – localised geographical targeting can be achieved more easily. Reaching customers via telephone may be required if you’re lacking email addresses of those you want to survey.
  • Access – overcome geographical and technical barriers, no travel required.
  • High quality – has a reputation for delivering representative samples and high quality data.

Challenges

  • Cost – additional costs, such as interviewer’s time and cost of the calls, need to be accounted for so tend to be more expensive than other self-completion methods.
  • Visual aid(s) not possible – participants will not be able to see stimuli such as videos

Measuring impact series: Conducting your own research – top tips

What to consider when carrying out some research

What is market research and why do it?

Simply, market research is the collection and analysis of data to uncover what people think (their attitudes or opinions) and what they do (their behaviour). It is used to produce quality information for planning and decision-making, using robust/credible evidence to ensure:

  • Better products and services
  • Better relationships with customers / beneficiaries / other stakeholders
  • Greater longevity for the organisation
  • Better quality decision-making and use of resources
  • More effective Government policies

How to decide on what research method is best?

Stage 1 – What do you want from the research?

  1. Define the research problem

‘The problem’ is a formal way of identifying the ‘core need’ for the research to be undertaken.

Before starting any research, or considering reaching out to any external research agencies to undertake the work for you, it is a good idea to be clear on the background (what triggered the need), the objective (how will the results impact your organisation) and what the research objective(s) are (what is the research actually trying to achieve).

For example, is it to help develop a service you provide? Is it to understand what your beneficiaries think of your organisation? Would you like to know more about the characteristics of a group of people?

  • What data / insight do you need?

Also ask yourselves, what do you need the research for? What type of data or insight do you need at the end of the research?

For example, are you looking for data from a small number of people that is qualitative in nature and may go into more detail about the ‘why’ or are you looking for data from a large number of people in which you can quantify their answers?

Stage 2 – Creating the research design

  • Do you need to conduct primary research?

Once you know the type of data you are looking for and what you want it to tell you, it is a

good idea to consider what research already exists. For example, is primary research (research you are conducting yourself and is not publicly available elsewhere) actually needed? Is there already sufficient data available internally in your organisation or publicly available? Is it feasible to undertake the primary research?

Once questions like these have been considered, you can go on to identify what research method is most appropriate and confirm what the research requirements are.

  • Who do you want to talk to?

Who in particular would you like to talk to – whether that be members of the general public, your beneficiaries, your employees and volunteers, other stakeholders etc.?

When this has been ascertained, you will need to think more about the sampling strategy i.e. who the target population is, how you can access this group of people (the sampling approach) and the sample size (the number of people you want to research).

  • Choosing the data collection method

Once you have thought about what it is you want to research, what you require from the data, who you want to talk to and how you would get access to this group of people, then you should have a clear idea of whether you want to conduct qualitative research or quantitative research.

Next steps are to think about whether you can conduct the research in-house or need support from an external research agency.

For more information on quantitative and qualitative research methods see our other articles.

Thanks to Hannah Kilshaw, Research Director at ICM Unlimited for contributing to this series of articles.