We all know that market research is vital for providing businesses and social enterprises with information on their stakeholders, whether beneficiaries or customers. It enables us to better target, serve and support our intended audience. But are the impact evaluations of traditional charities relevant for social enterprises?
I am the Director of Research & Impact at SolarAid and I understand market research to be the collection and analysis of information about a market, about potential customers and their characteristics. I see impact research as the collection and analysis of information on an organisation’s stakeholders; about the changes or differences that come about as a result of the organisation’s programme/project. There is, of course, overlap but in this forum we want to discuss your experiences or thoughts on both types of research and how they can be integrated to help organisations reach their goals.
The dynamic between a donor/beneficiary is different to that of a supplier/customer and it’s important to address how this might change the information we collect when doing impact research as well as the opportunities this can offer for gathering detailed market research.
Please join us in discussing the following questions:
- How can business driven market research integrate with social impact research, and should it when the goal is scale?
- Do social enterprises use research findings more effectively than the wider international development sector, and do you have examples of where research has influenced programmes/projects?
- How does hearing the customer’s voice change on-the-ground practice and delivery?
I will be joined by a great panel for this discussion. We don’t want it to be limited to the solar sector and welcome experiences or ideas from the wider development and/or enterprise field of work.
Steve, Chhavi and I have each written a blog that you might be interested to read to get a further insight on our thoughts and experiences of research.