The following research proposal was a collaborative project written by myself and five other group members for Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis after meeting with the Girls Inc. team last month. The results of the research are TBD.
Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis is a non-profit organization associated with the national Girls Inc. organization. The Indianapolis location serves over 4,000 girls in the area, providing educational programs focused on issues such as media literacy, financial literacy, body positivity and conflict resolution, among others. While Girls Inc. offers a summer school program, the majority of their programming occurs in six-week sessions, four times a year. These programs are facilitated by a base of nearly 300 volunteers, who sign up to volunteer one hour of their time one day a week for each six-week program session.
Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis depends on the recruitment of volunteers to implement their various outreach programs in Indianapolis schools; therefore, the affiliate needs an idea of how to directly advertise themselves to young adults, so that these younger volunteers can grow and stay with the organization not only for the six week program, but for years to come.
The research methods to be conducted will include a focus group and a survey. The focus group will be conducted among college-age women in the Indianapolis area. This focus group will provide qualitative information regarding feelings and motives of the target audience towards volunteering, specifically for a hands-on organization such as Girls Inc. The facilitators will utilize both verbal and projective questioning techniques. Refer to Appendix B for the Focus Group Discussion Guide. Questions could include, “Why do you volunteer?”, “Tell me a bit about your experience volunteering.” or “What comes to mind when you think of Girls Inc.?”
In terms of the survey, Girls Inc. conducts a survey for current volunteers after each six-week cycle. About ten questions will be added to the official Girls Inc. survey in order to determine the most effective advertising strategies for Girls Inc. to utilize. Refer to Appendix A for the specific survey questions.The survey will provide quantitative information to shape a future proposal for a highly targeted advertising campaign.
No costs will be associated with the above research methods.
Two different methods will be utilized in order to best collect both quantitative and qualitative data:
- A focus group
- A survey
The focus groups and survey will be conducted in late October of 2018. The Fall I cycle survey will be distributed to current volunteers by Girls Inc. on Oct. 12, followed by a reminder email on Oct. 16. The focus group will be conducted on Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. with the location TBD. Data from these research methods will be compiled into a formal report no later than Dec. 5.
Focus Group Discussion Guide
Hello everyone and thank you for coming. My name is Mackenzie Taylor, and I will be the moderator for tonight’s discussion. We’re here tonight to talk a little bit about your community involvement experiences and to hear your opinions about volunteering with nonprofit organizations. I will be facilitating the discussion and asking everyone some questions. Before we begin, I want to lay down a few ground rules:
- There are no right or wrong answers
- All opinions matter here
- Everyone should be respectful to one another
At the back of the room, there are a few observers. They may submit additional questions to me throughout our time together. I’d also like to let you know that this discussion will be recorded. However, this information is confidential and will only be used for class and research purposes. Please do not share any of the information we discuss tonight with anyone else. Does anyone have any questions before we get started?
Okay, let’s go ahead and jump in.
I’d like to invite each of you to introduce yourselves. Just tell us your first name, age, year in school and major. Also let us know what volunteer experience you’ve had in the past, if any.
Perceptions of Volunteering:
- What kind of volunteer opportunities have you participated in since you have been in college?
- What factors affect which volunteer opportunities you choose?
- Which of those facts are the most important you?
- Tell me about the decision process you went through the last time you chose to volunteer.
- Probe:Where did they look for opportunities? Student orgs? Facebook events?
- Do you think volunteering is beneficial to college students?
- Probe: Why or why not?
- Describe your best volunteer experience
- Describe your worst volunteer experience.
Perceptions of Girls Inc. vs other non-profits:
- What organizations have you volunteered with in the past?
- What organizations come to mind when I say the following statements?
- “Helping nature and neighbors thrive in Indianapolis”
- “Keeping families close”
- “Making Indianapolis 100% literate”
- “Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold”
- Are you familiar with Girls Inc.? If so, what do you know about Girls Inc.?
- Let’s pretend that different non-profits are celebrities. Based on what you know about the organization, who would Keep Indianapolis Beautiful be? What about Indy Reads? Girls Inc?
- The mission of Girls Inc. is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. What are your initial perceptions of the organization based on their mission statement?
- If you had to choose, which of those words would be most important for girls to identify as (strong, smart or bold)? Why?
- In what way do you think Girls Inc. might be different from other local non-profits?
Perceptions of non-profit advertising:
- What are your perceptions on modern advertising?
- Probe: truthfulness and appropriateness
- What do you think makes an ad “good” or “bad”?
- Probe: Specific likes and dislikes
- What types of advertising do you think could discourage someone from interacting with that brand?
- What non-profit advertising have you seen in the past month or so?
- How does advertising affect your decision to volunteer with a certain organization?
- If you were going to promote Girls Inc. to college students, what would you focus on?
- Let’s imagine that Girls Inc.’s advertising director was in the room.
- What would you want to ask?
- If you could recommend one thing and have it accepted, what would it be?
Thank you for participating in our group. This qualifies as X service hour(s). Please let us know if there is anything we need to fill-out for you to receive credit.
Thank you so much for participating in our 2018 Fall Program Cycle. We are so grateful for your dedication to the Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis!
To learn more about your volunteer experience and find ways to improve our processes, we are conducting a survey and your response would be greatly appreciated.
Please take a few moments to complete the survey via the link provided below.
We look forward to your response! Thanks for your participation!
1. Where do you most often respond to advertisements, such as clicking on an online ad?
- Social Media
2. How often have you responded to an ad in the past two months?
- 1-2 times
- 3-4 times
- More than four times
3. How do you typically learn about volunteer opportunities?
- Word of Mouth
- School or Work
- Other (please specify):__________
4. When you are deciding how to spend your free time, how much do advertisements influence your decision?
- My decision is significantly influenced by ads.
- My decision is somewhat influenced by ads.
- My decision is not at all influenced by ads.
5. How likely would you be to respond to an ad regarding volunteer opportunities?
- Not at all
6. What type of advertisement would make you most likely to volunteer with an organization?
- Testimonials from volunteers who led programs
- Videos of people who benefited from the programs
- Statistics showcasing the need for the organization’s programs
- Other (please specify):__________