As we have discussed throughout our blog series on market studies, the ultimate goal of this type of project is to collect data that creates a set of actionable steps an organization can take to better identify and respond to the need and demand in their current and/or potential service area. Once all of the data has been collected and analyzed, the market study moves into its final phase: developing recommendations for action.
In this final phase of the market study, the project team takes the key findings from the analysis phase to develop corresponding recommendations for action. In each market study that FUND Consulting conducts, the recommendations for action are developed specifically to answer the key research questions developed at the outset of the project, and provide the client with specific steps that it can take to reach its organizational and strategic goals.
It is important to note that while the recommendations that emerge from the market study will be actionable, market studies are not reports or comprehensive plans for implementation like a strategic plan or business plan. As such, the market study often serves as the foundation for an organization to engage in a broader strategic planning process.
In 2010 FUND Consulting embarked on such a project with Wayne Metro Community Action Agency (WMCAA), a nonprofit organization in Wayne County, Michigan. WMCCA wanted to gauge the potential for launching a non-profit CDFI Loan Fund in their community, and the market study was the first step in this comprehensive planning process.
The results of the market study determined need and demand for a non-profit CDFI Loan Fund in the community as well as a specific credit builder loan product. FUND continued the process by developing a business strategy for the loan fund as well as an implementation plan for the credit builder loan program. The business plan included an analysis of the most successful loan fund models as well as specific strategic recommendations on which product features would be most successful in the market. Further, the implementation plan for a credit builder loan program included marketing copy, the loan application, the loan’s underwriting policies, as well as an investor packet. In 2011, FUND completed the final step in establishing WMCAA as a non-profit CDFI Loan Fund by preparing and submitting the organization’s CDFI Certification application.
Market studies are a powerful data collection tool for nonprofit and mission-driven organizations to uncover the information they need to inform strategic decision making and improve their product and service delivery. We hope that this series of posts has helped to shed light on the ways in which engaging in the market study process can help your organization understand the steps it can take to maximize time, resources, and impacts.
If your organization is interested conducting a market study, please send us an email or give us a call to discuss how FUND Consulting can help you maximize the results of this process.