Here is a story about how not knowing your target audience can go wrong.
Let's say you are running an annual appeal. You craft the content and select the creative. But, you are working with a list missing demographic data.
Under pressure to fundraise now, you don't research the donors and supporters on your list. You send out the mailing with your fingers crossed. Then you learn that you've spent way more money on the mailing than you've fundraised from it.
Come to find out, the donors and supporters were mostly older adults who found the font on the appeal too small. They did not donate because they struggled to read the font on the ask.
In this case, spending money on market research would've been a better idea with long-term benefits. Market research is a study of your market for quantitative or qualitative data.
Research Your Nonprofit Needs
Quantitative research provides you with number-based information. For example, if someone told you to rate chocolate ice cream on a scale of 1 to 10, a number would only tell you so much.
Qualitative research analyzes what people say or do. For example, if you ask people how ice cream makes them feel, you'll learn a lot more as an open-ended question.
Therefore, it is best to pair quantitative research with qualitative research. What you learn from both should help you improve your business or marketing efforts.
Based on the responses and data you collect, you can stick with what you've got going on if it is working. But if you've got room for improvement, use the research to create new or improve your services.
Also, people are rarely unwilling to say how you can serve them better. You can learn so much from these two forms of primary research. They are insightful and will improve your relationship with your target audience. Those who take them feel valued and important when you ask them for their advice.