Gaining Insight from Parents of Children with Autism: An Op4G Case Study

Posted by Alyssa Picard on April 29, 2019
Alyssa Picard

Gaining Insight from Parents of Children with Autism.Blog.Image


As many might know, April is Autism Awareness Month. This month is part of a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, education, and acceptance; in hopes to allow those with Autism Spectrum Disorder or "ASD" to achieve the highest quality of life possible. As we near the end of April and Autism Awareness Month, we want to highlight a study Op4G recently worked on that was about parents of children diagnosed with autism. This case study will take you through the whole process of a research project with Op4G; from recruitment efforts to final outcomes of the study. 

Recruitment & Op4G Approach 

For this particular project, a client came to Op4G looking for a specific demographic: parents of children under age 10 who have been diagnosed with autism. They needed these parents to complete a 15-minute survey about their experience with autism. The main goal of the research was to figure out how parents navigate the ASD environment and how they were able to find treatment for their child. Official diagnosis and treatment for a child with ASD can be a difficult process for many parents, and the client wanted to know what needed to be done to improve this. 

When a client comes to us with a specific demographic in mind, we first try to see if it's available in our panel of survey takers. To do this, our Non-Profit Coordinator team at Op4G searches our list of non-profit partners for those that might have the specified target demographic. In this case, Op4G contacted all active non-profit partners who had a mission related to autism. The Op4G team reached out to several volunteer coordinators, executive directors, and development departments at autism-related non-profits who are responsible for sharing new volunteer opportunities with their community. After explaining to our partners we were seeking to survey parents who have children under the age of 10 diagnosed with autism, many jumped at the opportunity to participate. These non-profits were eager to share the survey with their family support groups in exchange for a donation to their charity. 

Study Completion 

After contacting our non-profit partners focused on autism, our partner, Autism Society of Alabama agreed to participate in this study. The timeline for the study was quick, so we started a campaign right away. A "campaign" is when our non-profit coordinator department creates customizable marketing pieces to be distributed at events, on social media, in newsletters, and other trafficked channels. Our non-profit coordinator team does all the heavy lifting on creating content and materials. This makes setting up a recruitment campaign as easy as possible for non-profits who are often strapped for time and resources. 

For More Info on Non-Profit Marketing Campaigns View Our Blog "Top 5 Marketing Tips for Your Non-Profit"

Our contact, Lauren, who is the Development Director at the Autism Society of Alabama was excited to get a campaign up and running which would benefit her non-profit and lead to advanced autism care research.

When we work with a non-profit to get a specific study completed, we normally have them share a direct link to the study through social media or an email blast (whatever they think would work best). Lauren believed that sharing this on Facebook, to their ten-thousand followers would be a good way to reach supporters. Our team created the content and gave this messaging to Lauren along with the direct link to the study. Here is the Facebook post that went out to the Autism Society of Alabama supporters: 


Once the post went out and the study went live, we waited for responses. With every non-profit out-reach, Op4G carefully vets each new panelist coming through to make sure they are who they say they are. Op4G takes many steps for quality control to prevent fraudulent responses, duplicate entries, and malicious users. The benefit of having a direct partnership with a non-profit is that if a respondent is flagged in our security system, we can easily call up our partner and verify who the person is and why they might have been flagged. In addition, speeder, cheater, and liars are immediately eliminated and the non-profit is notified. However, we often see that our non-profit recruitment model provides quality responses of the highest order due to member motivation to "do good" and support their non-profit.

Due to the Autism Society of Alabama's large reach, we were able to get a significant amount of interaction with the post. This included 68 shares, many being to other autism support groups on Facebook that are affiliated with the Autism Society of Alabama. The Autism Society of Alabama shared this on their Instagram as well, to another one-thousand supporters. The study ran for about a week, and at that point, we had filled the quotas that the client had set for the study. After this, it took about two weeks for our market research client to go through the data and finalize the completes. At that time we were able to reward the Autism Society of Alabama with a financial endowment.  

A Win-Win for Client, Non-Profit, and Panelists

While the recruitment team was working with the non-profit to ensure the outreach process went smooth, our project manager, Andrew Galvin, was working with the client. Andrew helps the client get the study up and running, and works with them throughout the process to answer any incoming requests and make sure they are receiving the quality data needed. Upon asking him what his overall experience was in regards to this particular project, Andrew noted that,

"It was great having the chance to work with our non-profit partner, the Autism Society of Alabama. Through this project, we were able to obtain high-quality data for our client while also giving back to a non-profit with an inspiring mission. Overall, the process of bringing the Autism Society of Alabama onto the study was easy and they were able to provide a large amount of quality information and responses." - Andrew, Project Manager, Op4G

This approach of recruiting through non-profit organizations is what makes Op4G so unique. We find that supporters of non-profits are much higher quality respondents, especially because they know the money will be going back to their chosen non-profit for the surveys they complete. It's a win-win for the client, non-profit organization, and our survey-takers!  


After the client analyzed the data, they found that parents have a difficult time with diagnosis, treatment, and support for their children who have autism. Through this research, they hope to make this process easier for parents so that children diagnosed with autism can have the best developmental experience possible. Along with these findings, Op4G was able to donate a total of $245 to the Autism Society for their recruitment efforts. This does not include the nearly $500 that went back to parents for their participation and valued responses. 

"We loved providing autism families an opportunity to earn $ while also giving back in such a simple way! Sharing this survey was easy on our part and now we'll be able to apply the $245 toward 20 hours of respite for a family.  Respite is a break for a caregiver and many families consider it priceless!"

- Lauren, Development Director at Autism Society of Alabama

To see how the entire process of an Op4G project works, you can check out the infographic below:



Final Thoughts

As a company, we see the value in building relationships with non-profit partners like the Autism Society of Alabama. These relationships allow us to reach back out to non-profits for future studies knowing that we can help increase donations, while also obtaining the quality data our clients need. Thank you to the Autism Society of Alabama and its supporters for participating in this research project. Op4G is looking forward to the next opportunity to give back to deserving charities! 


Interested in starting a partnership that benefits your non-profit? Or are you interested in learning more about Op4G's recruitment and data collection services? To learn more email 


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Topics: Philanthropy