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CHRA Stakeholder Communications Research

Subject Matter

The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) wanted to undertake stakeholder research to better understand membership needs from a communications perspective, as well as to assess broader performance issues. Areas of investigation include: why members belong to CHRA, members’ needs, and members’ views on CHRA’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Also assessed were the CHRA website, newsletter and magazine. The CHRA intends to use the results of this research to assist in shaping interaction with its membership, and to modify its communications strategies and tools.


A combined methodology was used for this research study. The core element of the research was a set of 30 in-depth interviews with a cross-section of the association’s membership. The types of stakeholders interviewed included non-profit housing organizations, government officials, provincial housing agencies, private developers, academics, tenants associations, and housing consultants. Interviews were conducted in both French and English. To supplement this core element, a short self-administered survey was sent to all 300 CHRA members to provide representative feedback. In total, 69 completed surveys were returned by fax/email, representing a response rate of 25%. In-depth interviews were used as the core element of this research for a variety of reasons. In addition to assuring confidentiality and encouraging candour, there were more practical needs to address such as the heterogeneity and geographical dispersion of the membership, cost-effectiveness, and convenience for members (i.e. their availability).

This study involved a number of challenges:

  • While the main requirement for this study was qualitative data, it was also important to ‘measure’ key issues. Accordingly, the core research was augmented by a short self-administered survey sent to all CHRA members. The survey was designed to obtain quantitative data for a small set of key issues, to supplement the qualitative data.
  • While qualitative data could not be viewed as representative of CHRA’s membership, it was important to hear from many ‘types’ of members so as to maximize the extent to which the results were reflective of the membership base. To achieve this, a detailed sample frame was developed with a mix of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ quotas applied to different characteristics. Characteristics included region, type of organization, level of involvement (i.e. board/committee member vs. regular member), and language.
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