In 2013, RTi was invited by a non-profit organization to propose, design, analyze, and offer insights and recommendations to guide an important strategic initiative. Each year, we conduct strategic studies for a wide array of clients. So the initiative seemed to be on familiar ground at the outset. But this experience was atypical. We immediately started to feel quite differently once we met the client team and began to internalize the organization’s goals and mission.

This was not a typical commercial research study to identify “primary targets and appropriate messaging bundles”. Instead, this initiative was to be a comprehensive study of several thousand American parents of school age children with learning and attention issues.

Being parents ourselves, we felt a very strong personal connection with the parents we were surveying. We have heard it said that “we are only as happy as our saddest child” – so being a part of work that would yield meaningful, improved resources for parents so they could more easily find the right help and guide their children was very rewarding and personally gratifying.

The crux of the study was to understand all of the critical attitudes, challenges, difficulties, and successes experienced by these parents and their children in the home, socially, and in the educational system. Insights were being sought into the underlying segmentation structure that reflected a meaningful spectrum of differences in the parent-child journeys.

The ultimate activation was the development of social resources and channels to help ease the impact of day to day learning issues and problems, but not just for the best target segments as is usually the case with commercial market research studies.  In this instance, the client team was philosophically committed to help all parents of children with learning and attention issues.

So we experienced yet another reward. As the assignment progressed, it dramatically highlighted for us that we were part of a truly humanitarian team effort. What we all were doing was for the greater good, for all parents of children with learning and attention problems, not just those who might be “easiest to reach”.

The enthusiasm was catching.  We are about to embark on our next not-for-profit engagement.