Untold Research Empowers Philanthropic Organizations in Shaping a Better World

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Image commercially licensed from: https://unsplash.com/photos/person-holding-black-and-brown-globe-ball-while-standing-on-grass-land-golden-hour-photography-gEKMstKfZ6w

Co-founders of Untold Research, Monica Sanchez and Kate Vasiloff

A recent survey shows that over 200 nonprofit organizations serving low and middle-income communities in the United States require assistance in fundraising (61%), communications and marketing (51%), program evaluation (38%), performance management (33%), and strategic planning (29%). 

Nonprofit organizations play a pivotal role in providing essential services that contribute to the strengthening of the communities they serve. Unfortunately, nonprofit organizations are forced to do more with less in an era of increasing needs and shrinking resources. These entities, especially those with a needs-centered orientation, would benefit from quality research to understand their communities’ needs and determine the most efficient way to meet them, recognize patterns and trends, and enhance their programs and operations, among many others. 

Recognizing this gap in the nonprofit sector, Untold Research, a woman-owned research organization based in the Washington DC metro area, United States, has made it its mission to help altruistic organizations starved for the support which would allow their communities to be served more effectively, offering tailored, impact-driven approaches to research. 

The full-service research firm goes beyond traditional research. It employs time-tested and experimental methodologies to develop custom studies, creating spaces to explore people’s behavior, thoughts, opinions, and motivations. Aside from thoughtfully crafting custom methodologies to meet the needs of their clients and fulfill their goals, Untold Research assists with seeking areas of opportunity to gather data and transform them into metrics stakeholders find significant for use, like in grant proposals, donor reports, and internal strategies. The research organization also offers data review services, helping entities make sense of existing data.

With its holistic research approach, Untold Research has worked with numerous nonprofit organizations, propelling them to the forefront of the movements they champion. Two compelling case studies exemplify how the research firm has influenced policy and empowered marginalized populations. 

In Honduras, Untold Research embarked on a mission to assist a nonprofit organization to jumpstart a campaign mobilizing citizens to advocate for the legalization of emergency contraception in a country where it was accessible but technically illegal. Through in-depth focus groups and a nationally representative survey, Kate Vasiloff and Monica Sanchez, the co-founders of Untold Research, discovered a significant education gap among citizens. 

Originally aiming for a mobilization campaign, their client had to pivot to an education-focused strategy. With Untold Research’s expertise and crucial insights, the organization understood the knowledge gap and was able to change its approach swiftly. The result of this endeavor was enormous, with Honduras legalizing emergency contraception in March 2023. 

Vasiloff stated, “This specific case is such a beautiful, crystallized example of why research is important not only in shaping effective advocacy but also in adapting strategies based on ground-level understanding. Taking the time to do research and communicate with the people on the ground can provide exceptional insights that can change the trajectory of an initiative.”

Untold Research also collaborated with a small organization working in Morocco, Uganda, and Syria. Despite budget constraints, the research firm demonstrated flexibility and commitment, helping create an empowerment program for internally displaced girls in Syria even with limited resources. Untold Research utilized focus groups and data analysis to uncover the challenges faced by these girls, including trauma, limited educational opportunities, and gender inequality. The research findings prompted recommendations for program curriculum development focused on trauma survival, grief, and mental health support.

The stories of legalized emergency contraception in Honduras and tailored empowerment programs in Syria illustrate the immense influence research, when wielded with empathy and insight, can have on shaping a better world. “In our line of work, we understand the impact might not be immediate. The joy is sometimes found in receiving an email years later, learning a campaign was successful or a program made a lasting difference. We also acknowledge our role is small but a vital part of the larger puzzle as we contribute our expertise to create a positive change,” the co-founders remarked.

Ultimately, Untold Research showcases its commitment to helping the nonprofit sector address the issues it faces in today’s data-driven society by offering comprehensive research services to identify problems, develop strategies, and generate solutions to illustrate impact and create change.



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