Woodside Animal Welfare Trust

Originally established in 1977 as The Thornbury Animal Group, the Woodside Animal Welfare Trust is an animal rehoming charity located on the outskirts of Plymouth. The trust consists of two elements the sanctuary (a rehoming centre located in Plympton) and 9 shops. The charity homes a large number of different animals including dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, sheep, goats and ponies. Furthermore, the centre is dedicated to encouraging responsible pet ownership. As part of this, there is a spay and neuter scheme and an emphasis on educating owners about their pets needs.


The Dogs Trust (2016) report shows that in 2016, there were 81,000 stray dogs in the 1 UK of which 22% went to welfare organizations. However, the report does also indicate that the number of stray dogs in general has decreased. Furthermore, given that the charity also houses numerous other animals this only represent one facet for the charity.


Marketing Problem/Research Questions


The management has indicated that “Woodside is a large and vital safety net for vulnerable animals. Running costs are high as many of our pets need veterinary attention and may be with us for weeks as they recover.” Therefore, raising more funds to support the charity is crucial. Moreover, the management is also aware of other issues that impact the charity. The main problems identified include the need to better understand 1) the awareness level of the charity and its activities, 2) peoples perceptions of their facilities 3) perceptions of the brand relative to its competition, 4) the most effective means of raising funds (i.e. the type of events), 5) the most effective means of communicating with its target audience, 6) the effectiveness of the charities website and animal profiles and 7) the demographic of people willing to volunteer. Given the number of issues, the management does not expect all of these issues to be addressed in one project.


The management of Woodside has asked students to fully define a specific research problem and outline the research questions they would like to address pertaining to the issues outlined above, given the broad nature of the problem. As such, the researchers have been commissioned to undertake a market research project. The research design should consist of questionnaire surveys (quantitative research) with a sample of at least 100 people.



Assignment Overview


Individual task (50% of the coursework mark)

Each student should submit a proposal (1500 words) of the following:

  • Background of the Client
  • Marketing Problem definition
  • Research questions / objectives
  • Target groups definition
  • Research methods to be applied
  • Develop a structured questionnaire (excluded from word count)

The research objectives of the study should derive from the relevant theory, secondary research and from students’ experience.


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