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Send a Cow

Supporter Survey, Spring 2013


Send a Cow is a local charity that was set up over 25 years ago to help African communities to build new lives free from poverty and hunger. By providing training, livestock, seeds and support, the charity aims to restore hope and create stronger communities for the future.  They achieve this through the “Pass it on” principle, where families working with Send a Cow pass on young livestock, seeds or training to others, with the result that communities develop skills and continue to thrive in a sustainable manner.

The charity has a religious foundation, with donor recruitment largely taking place in churches, but it does not make this overt in its communications.

The requirement

The charity sector has been experiencing a decline in donation value due, in part, to external socio-economic factors.  Against the backdrop of a biting recession Send a Cow had to continue to achieve fundraising targets with lower budgets.  In order to develop the fundraising strategic direction and plans, Send a Cow needed to understand their donors’ motivations for supporting the charity.

To do this we needed to test four hypotheses:

  1. That Supporters are aligned to the central proposition that SAC helps those in need to help themselves
  2. That Supporters feel close to the cause because they have experience of Africa, either through working there, holidaying, etc.
  3. That Supporters support the practical nature of the work and can see how their donations have made a difference and how they are spent.
  4. That Supporters support the notion of “pass on”.

Very little reliable personal information existed on the Supporter database, so the survey represented an ideal opportunity to update and add key personal data onto the database.  Send a Cow also wanted to understand whether its faith base was important to its Supporters.

The challenges

The survey was  to be printed on both sides of A4 folded to C5, thus the number of questions have to be limited in order to make best use of the available space without resorting to a tiny font size which, given the average age of the Supporter base, may have been a deterrent to responding.  Thus, the questions needed to be focused on the primary and secondary objectives of the research at all times.


What we did

a) The Survey design
We designed a two page, 10 question online and printed survey that was inserted into the Spring edition of the Lifeline magazine.

A balanced mix of dichotomous, Likert scale, ordinal, ranked response and free text questions were used to ensure that interest was maintained, to avoid “happy ticking.”

The question battery focused on the three objectives:

  • To establish the top 3 motivations to support Send a Cow to help develop the public fundraising case for support”
  • How important is it to Supporters that the charity has a faith base
  • Confirmation of lifestage/lifestyle and charities they support

b) The analysis
Aszent data captured and analysed the responses, using FastStats to structure the data, create data tables and Word Clouds for easy analysis and interpretation.  Three levels of analysis were undertaken:

  • Level 1 – study statistics, response rates and distributions to each question
  • Level 2 -  cross tabs of respondents to two specific for deeper insights
  • Level 3 – isolation of respondents who share traits to determine whether:
    • a connection with Africa is important
    • a faith based foundation is important

The results

The survey results were enlightening for the charity and were used to craft the design of their next Lifeline magazine, as well as individual campaigns.  Highlights are as follows:

  • 11% overall response rate
  • Online respondents were younger and male dominated
  • The top three motivations for supporting the charity were established as:
    • The charity helps people to help themselves
    • My donation would be used effectively and wisely
    • I was concerned about poverty
  • The four hypotheses were proven by the results, although the link to Africa was not as strong as had been thought
  • The respondents did not consider that the faith base of the charity as motivating or an incentive to supporting its work, indeed it was the work itself that motivated Supporters
  • The survey results showed that Supporters tend to have a repertoire of charities that they support, mainly medical research and overseas development charities.

“ We want to say a huge THANK YOU for all your work on our Supporter Survey…we have learned a lot about our Supporters and have already been able to make better informed decisions based on the results.”

Clare Walsh
Fundraising manager, Send a Cow


Aszent has proved invaluable in automating SeachStar’s web analytics and statistics; we’re able to save time and focus on our core business as a result of their innovation and dedication. They have delivered 100% customer delight & are hugely recommended for their intelligent solutions and genuine customer service. — Dan Fallon, MD, SearchStar

Call Aszent on 07887 653595