Focus Group

Focus Group

Does your cause spend a significant amount of time thinking about how it is perceived by the community?  Are there decisions that you need to make that have no data or commentary to provide guidance?

Consider running a focus group.  Invite in one or a series of small groups that are representative of a key constituency you want to hear from.  Hire a facilitator or find a person of neutral standing to run a couple 60 minute session.  Send an invitation, provide the respondents with a brief synopsis of the intended outcome.  In advance, select the key questions or areas of concentration, most likely no more than three.  Provide the attendees with a space that feels conducive to a conversation and allow the facilitator to engage the participants in a conversation about the selected topics.  Provide an additional feedback mechanism (electronic or hard copy) for anyone who may have additional observations to share once the group’s session concludes.  Of course, thank the attendees and keep them in the loop.  How did their input help the organization advance its purpose and mission?  Anyone who is willing to participate has a motivation that needs to be reasonably honored.

I predict that you will gain tremendous insight and it will fill-in some of the uncharted gaps that exist on your strategic map.

A Seven Line Focus Group

Spring break season so here is a quick way to perform a focus group with only a pencil, piece of paper and a couple minutes.

Direction: Using only seven lines, draw a representation of your nonprofit organization.  

What stands out?  What did you include?  What was left out?  Are there people, buildings, programs or symbols?  If your board and staff completed this exercise, what would they draw?  What would your customers, donors and volunteers design?