Established in 1984, St Richard’s Hospice is an independent registered charity caring for local patients and families in Worcestershire. St Richard’s exists to improve, through specialist palliative care and education, the quality of life of people affected by a serious progressive illness and their loved ones. Each year St. Richard’s provides free care and support to around 3,300 patients and their families - made possible through the generosity of donors and supporters. A strategic aim is to develop and maintain its profile across Worcester, and other areas from where patients come, to support the essential work of the charity.
Having not previously conducted market research, the charity recognised that research could provide insight into local perceptions and understanding of its work and services. Research could also measure brand awareness and the public’s knowledge of the organisation, and to ideally identify new and potential supporter types through segmentation analysis.
It has always been assumed that communities living geographically closer to the hospice would have a greater understanding and awareness of services in comparison to those further away, such as people living in Evesham for example. St. Richard’s wished to use market research to test this geographical assumption to allow for more targeted future engagement activity.
We conducted a face-to-face survey at a range of on-street locations, with high footfall, in Worcester City, Droitwich, Evesham and Malvern. In total we completed 511 interviews across the areas. An online survey was also developed for supporters and other interested parties of St. Richard’s Hospice. An additional 486 people took part online.
To test awareness, the survey included anonymised logos of six local support charities and asked respondents which charity they belonged to. It also asked respondents to spontaneously name any local hospices they were aware of and what they thought hospices actually do. The survey then asked for prompted awareness of St Richard’s and whether people had heard of it and supported it, such as by volunteering, fundraising or donating items, gifts or money. The survey then explored perceptions of the services provided by St Richard’s, levels of volunteering more widely, motivations and barriers, funding streams and reasons and barriers to donating to charity.
The findings were used by the Senior Management Team to refine their communication messages, while our ACORN profiling and segmentation analysis has allowed them to more closely target volunteering opportunities to key demographic and geographic profiles.