Fundraising proposition focus groups

Kidney Research UK

Row of people receiving hemodialysis


// How we went about it

Kidney Research UK's supporter numbers had been static for a number of years, despite the increasing numbers of people being impacted by Kidney Disease. Through market sizing work we helped identify a large potential audience that the charity was failing to reach and motivate, they wanted to explore that through qualitative research.

Fundraising proposition

// How could the charity engage new supporters


We worked with a team from Kidney Research UK, fab fundraising consultant Jaz Nannar and wonderful writer Bill Hinchen to create several potential fundraising propositions. These were statements that aimed to encapsulate why a supporter would give money to the charity, and were based around the areas the charity was working on and broad reasons for support. After the workshop we honed these, making sure we included tangible examples of work that could be used in a campaign or fundraising ask.

These propositions formed part of a topic guide which also explored people's experiences of Kidney Disease, the language they use to talk about it with others, the imagery Kidney Research could use and a review of the charity's current communication materials. With audiences who were less directly impacted we also included questions to explore how much people knew about Kidney Disease and the misconceptions around treatments like transplants.

Focus groups

// Listening to the audiences

Alongside this we determined which audiences we would research through the focus groups. We decided to take an approach which included audiences close to the charity or the cause and people who were more distant. We recruited some participants through the charity, including current supporters and some Kidney patients, for people who didn't know the charity we used the agency Healthcare Fieldwork, who were also able to supply us with viewing facilities.

We held focus groups in London, Birmingham and near to Cambridge and spoke to a range of people linked to Kidney Disease or health charities. Running and viewing these groups was a powerful experience as people shared their personal stories of living with or supporting loved ones with a chronic illness. We also carried out depth interviews with Kidney patients to understand their views and experiences of living with the disease.


The outcome

// How this made a difference

From the focus groups we were able to identify the strongest elements of the different propositions and recommend how Kidney Research could connect better with audiences. The research provided a huge amount of insight into the different audiences and a really strong message to the charity to communicate what life is really like for people with Kidney Disease. It also gave a really great steer on the imagery the charity use, which helped settle internal debates and base communications around what supporters will respond to.

This project provided Kidney Research UK with their first in depth understanding of their potential supporters and has had a significant impact on their fundraising and communications. Using the findings from the research they refreshed their brand: creating a new strapline and way of talking about their work. The findings also fed into a major fundraising campaign, based around the propositions and imagery that worked for audiences.