Case study: Trees for Life
Trees for Life is a charity that aims to restore the Caledonian Forest and all its constituent species of flora and fauna to the Scottish Highlands.
Ten years ago it purchased Dundreggan, a 10,000 acre site in Glen Moriston. Dundreggan is the organisation’s flagship forest restoration project and most of the work there is undertaken by conservation volunteers. The organisation has plans to open a “Rewilding Centre” at Dundreggan to educate visitors about its work.
Trees for Life engages with a wide range of stakeholders, who in turn have a wide range of views about its strategic objectives. The organisation identified a requirement to refocus and rebrand the organisation as it moves towards the next phase of its development.
The purpose of the research was to test awareness of, and attitudes to, Trees for Life amongst two key stakeholder groups:
- Existing Trees for Life supporters, many of whom had been engaged with the organisation from its inception
- Local residents in the Dundreggan and Inverness area, who may have been less aware of the organisation and its activities
An online survey for existing supporters was emailed to all supporters and shared on social media, whilst the views of local residents were captured through face to face interviews in Inverness. As far as possible the research tools contained consistent questions, allowing us to benchmark opinions or attitudes according to the level and duration of engagement with the organisation.
The research with supporters identified a priority group in terms of geography and age, and these criteria were used to recruit supporter participants in online focus groups. Bringing together supporters from across the country was a great opportunity to test reactions to some of the new proposals for the organisation and to determine how best Trees for Life should communicate its key messages.
Scotinform’s methodology was informed by the original client brief and adapted as the project progressed./ For example, we had originally planned to undertake consultation with the community immediately around Dundreggan but following discussions with the organisation were able to combine this with work already underway as part of the Rewilding Centre planning, reallocating the budget to additional quantitative work in Inverness.
As a result of the research work, Trees For Life was able to prepare engagement and development plans for each of the target audiences.
“As an organisation experiencing growth and change, it was important for us to pause, reflect on and test our ideas for our strategic direction. Scotinform have been instrumental in helping us understand where we are now and so how we can steer where we go in the future. Scotinform brought a wealth of experience from which we continue to benefit and also a flexible approach which has delivered a rewarding and rich result.”
Colin Mackenzie-Blackman, Fundraising and Marketing Manager, Trees for Life
We have extensive experience working with both the charitable sector and with visitor attractions; the two combined perfectly for this project.
We recognise that things change and are happy to adapt our programme accordingly.
We can select from a range of methodologies (in person or online, qualitative or quantitative) based on the characteristics of the audience and the research needs of the client.
We don’t stop with the research findings. We will prepare conclusions and recommendations based on the results, as well as on our experience of the sector more widely.