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The Power of Feedback

From an article published April 19, 2017 By Jennifer Chandler with the National Council for Non-Profits

When we stop listening we may miss feedback that could improve our work. Recognizing this, many charitable nonprofits have created “feedback loops” as an intentional process to ensure that they are first listening to what their beneficiaries must say, and second, that they incorporate suggestions from those they serve into the nonprofit’s operations and activities.

The classic example of a feedback loop may be a suggestion box. A more modern example is an online survey. If your nonprofit has upgraded its website recently, you’ll probably recognize that feedback loops play an important role in website design. A prime example is the federal government’s website, vets.gov: “Our Team used a human centered design approach to create vets.gov. We’ve asked our customers what they want and need and we’ve designed in response to that. We’ve tested and made adjustments based on their feedback, and will continue to do so as we add new features and information to the site.”

Perhaps your nonprofit is already using feedback loops, or is interested in collecting feedback to improve its effectiveness. If so, you may be interested in a funding opportunity through Listen for Good, or “L4G.” The Fund for Shared Insight, a collaborative effort among 30 grant makers, created the L4G initiative to learn more about how nonprofits can use feedback from the people they serve to “continually improve process and outcomes.” Eligible grantees don’t have to demonstrate prior use of feedback loops, but do need to demonstrate a commitment to collecting and using beneficiary feedback going forward. Applications are due May 26, 2017. Nonprofits can qualify for a grant by being nominated by a core funder from among those participating in the Fund for Shared Insight, or by another funder that agrees to participate. Here’s more information about this grant opportunity.

In her article,  “Four Early Lessons Learned in the Quest to Improve Feedback Loops in Philanthropy,” Beth Kanter shares examples of how several nonprofits supported through grants from the Fund for Shared Insight designed effective feedback loops, worked through the feedback data they collected, and “closed the loop” to demonstrate to their beneficiaries how their feedback was incorporated into the nonprofits’ practices. Interested in learning more about the Fund for Shared Insight?

How is your nonprofit using feedback?


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