Need to Do More With Less? How Research Can Steer You in the Right Direction

Amanda Barna, Michelle Henry

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

In the past few years, many organizations have seen significant cuts in state and local funding. Organizations everywhere are being asked to do more with fewer resources. So why is now the ideal time to spend resources on research? With budgets shrinking it is more important than ever to be sure that you are spending your money in the right areas in order to have the most impact.

Here are 5 ways that research can be used to maximize your resources:

  1. The Public is Better Informed. Tighter budgets affect households as well as organizations these days. While there is compassion and understanding of the needs in the community, people are not as easily convinced as in the past. Organizations funded largely by donations and tax levies need to make sure services are focused in the areas of greatest need. Are your services in line with the needs of your target and funding populations? Do they know who you are, what you do and the your value in the community.
  2. Reaching the Public is Getting More Difficult and More Expensive. As technology advances, traditional methods of reaching people through radio and tv spots, mail and print advertisements have become more challenging. At the same time the cost of running ads, putting up signs and purchasing air space is on the rise. Assessing and evaluating marketing and PR campaigns will stretch your dollars even further. Are you certain that your marketing efforts are bringing you a return on investment by resonating with your target audience?
  3. Grant Funding is More Competitive. The days of ease in requesting funding to start up or finance a non-profit based on a valuable and worthy mission are gone. Agencies, organizations and foundations that provide funding are asking for more data to support requests for additional or continued funding. In addition many grant funders require data to substantiate the need for your service, the success of your program, or both. Imagine there are two organizations that both provide programs for at-risk youth and one has surveyed all youth that participated in the program to assess success in achieving outcomes and the other has not. Both organizations have applied for a grant from a local foundation to expand services. Which organization do you think is more likely to get the grant?
  4. Requirements for Data are on The Rise. As budgets shrink, there is a call to justify where the dollars are being spent. Public agencies are being asked to provide this justification in the form of data supporting their success in their mission. For example the IRS now requires that hospitals conduct a community health needs assessment every three years to retain their non-profit status. What requirements does your organization have to meet?
  5. To Find Out What You Don’t Know. Whoever said ‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you’ didn’t live in today’s economy. Finding out what you don’t know is the new secret to success. Finding out what motivates your employees, satisfies your customers and makes your organization or services remarkable are the keys to growth and profitability. Are there things that you don’t know that are holding you back. 


About Amanda Barna

Amanda is co-founder and Vice President of the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research. As a small business owner, Amanda wears many hats at CMOR ranging from business management to marketing and business development to acting as a lead researcher and project manager. More specifically, Amanda is responsible for business and marketing development including identifying and recruiting new clients and projects, expanding current business lines, designing marketing materials, and recruiting and retaining a diverse, highly-qualified staff. Amanda is a 2011 Recipient of the Greater Akron Chamber’s 30 for the Future Award. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies from The University of Akron as well as an undergraduate degree in sociology from The University of Akron.

About Michelle Henry

Michelle founded the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research (CMOR) in 2006 with business partner Amanda Barna after identifying a need for research services among community based organizations and agencies. Michelle is passionate about the work CMOR does and the organizations she works with, acting as Principal Investigator or Project Director on research projects over the last 13 years for nonprofits, social service and governmental agencies and academic and healthcare institutions, working closely with community leaders. Michelle holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from The University of Akron and sits on the boards of Greater East Ohio Area Alzheimer's Association, Senior Independence and the Akron Press Club and is a graduate of Leadership Stark County, 23rd Class. Michelle is a 2012 recipient of a Distinguished Sales and Marketing Award given by Akron’s chapter of Sales and Marketing Executives International.