One of the region’s biggest sporting and education charities, Newcastle United Foundation, is celebrating the findings of research which has revealed high levels of customer satisfaction amongst its beneficiaries and funders.
The Foundation, which is supported by Newcastle United Football Club, marked its 10-year anniversary in 2018 with overwhelmingly positive customer feedback, gained in a series of independent, stakeholder perceptions surveys developed by market research specialists, Marketwise Strategies Limited.
The four months long research programme focussed upon the Foundation’s sporting, education, community, health and wellbeing programmes with children and adults; including its work to support disadvantaged children, young people and families.
Using a mix of telephone interviews and online surveys, Marketwise Strategies worked with the Foundation to develop a rounded understanding of the experiences, opinions and needs of different service users, associates and funders. More than 860 individuals and organisations took part in the research – including teachers, parents, programme participants and corporate funders from across the North East.
The survey revealed excellent satisfaction levels across the Foundation’s activities, which include Walking Football, soccer schools, Disability Football for children and adults, a Free Fit Club and a range of schools’ programmes. Among participants in the Foundation’s activities and fundraising events, 95% were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience. Among parents whose children attended the Foundation’s soccer schools, almost 98% were satisfied or very satisfied.
Some of the highlights that parents identified were; making their children more confident, the quality of the coaching and seeing how proud the children were of their achievements. Adults enjoyed working with the Foundation’s friendly staff and found the activities to be a good way to make new friends while getting fit.
Kate Bradley, Head of Foundation, commented; “Over the last ten years, we have developed and grown the Foundation substantially. Last year alone we generated more than £22.5m in social impact. In 2017/18, almost 28,000 individuals took part in our programmes and attendances topped 58,000. Reaching this 10-year milestone, it seemed to be a good time to invite customer feedback. We wanted to understand how aware organisations and individuals were of the work that Newcastle United Foundation does – and how satisfied they were with our programmes and delivery.
We had previously worked with Marketwise Strategies to provide valuable data and market analysis to support our most ambitious project to date, Project Pitchside. With the help of a small grant from the National Lottery Community Fund through the Building Capabilities fund, we worked with Marketwise Strategies to scope and create a series of surveys, aimed at our different stakeholder groups. Their team spent time interviewing our major donors and partners, to explore their feelings about the Foundation and its work.
We are delighted with the outcome of the research. It is much-welcomed feedback, helps to validate our existing programmes and also suggests how we can improve. We have already begun to use it to help improve our service and plan our staff development and have also shared the findings with trustees and associates. It’s been a very worthwhile exercise indeed, and what’s more, we have learnt how to embrace market research in an ongoing fashion and so are continually working from an informed perspective.”
A summary of the finding of the research is included in the Foundation’s latest Annual Review (//nufoundation.org.uk/our-latest-annual-review/)
Jacquie Potts, Managing Director at Marketwise Strategies, said; “We have many years experience of conducting this type of research – for clients across the UK – so we’re delighted to be able to use that expertise to help the Foundation. We designed the research in a way that minimised the cost to the Foundation, while allowing the maximum range of audiences to be surveyed. Across the project, people were tremendously willing to be involved, and we were able to achieve a very high response rate. As the research developed, it became clear that there is an incredible affinity with the Foundation that exists across its various audiences, which is linked to the power of the Newcastle United brand.”
Building on the knowledge gained through the stakeholder perceptions research, The Foundation has recently unveiled the findings from an economic analysis by Ernst & Young (EY). Fundraising is also being focussed on the next era of development, which includes the new Project Pitchside, a sports and educational hub, which will be located on the site of Murray House Recreational Centre, just five minutes away from St James’ Park.