June 21, 2021

Focus Groups


Nonprofit organizations are frequently faced with challenges concerning recruiting and training volunteers. The Ohio Casa/GAL Association was no exception. They were faced with the even more intimidating task of recruiting volunteers that were more of a reflection of the program participants, namely those who were men of Latino and African American heritage as well as those who live in rural areas.

Profound met with The Ohio Casa/GAL Association and developed a recruitment solution. We brainstormed about various methods to bring non-traditional volunteers and the methods and images that would call them to action. We then began to create art that would be used for statewide print media and billboards. Eight pieces of art were created to encourage men to volunteer. Profound then convened a focus group of the target demographic to discover whether or not the ads informed them adequately about the program and would compel them to volunteer. The focus group discussed volunteerism and what makes individuals want to volunteer. The group was given the opportunity to individually select the ad that compelled them the most. The result was the focus group chose an ad that was different from what the Ohio Casa/GAL leadership would typically have chosen as their art and message. An interesting find indeed.

Not only did the focus group contribute to a successful statewide campaign, 20 percent of the focus group participants later became volunteers (the focus group was not asked to volunteer and were told that they were not expected to take any action, that the group was for informational purposes only). This taught Ohio Casa/Gal that a focus group was not only critical for real-life feedback, but that it was also a great recruitment tool because it relayed important information about the organization to the participants. Profound then continued the success of the program by training the client to conduct its own focus groups as an education tool for future volunteers. In addition, Profound provided packets to Ohio CASA/ GAL for distribution to its local program affiliates. The packets contained print-ready PDF’s on CD for newspapers, instructions for working with the artwork and for buying media placements, definitions of media-related jargon such as columns per inch and camera-ready art. Profound later reported findings from the surveys to further uncover the attitudes of the focus group participants.

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