How can youth charities collect meaningful feedback from the young people they serve? Twelve UK based youth organizations received grants to listen and respond to the young people they serve and in this blog post we share what they learnt.
The organizations were all charities supporting young people in the UK and funded by the Blagrave Trust.
To ensure the voices of young people are central to the organizations it supports the trust launched a ‘Feedback Fund’ to build the youth sector’s capacity to listen and respond to young people. Last year the fund supported 12 youth organizations with grants ranging from £1000-£4000.
Grantees used the money in a variety of ways; supporting young people to tell their stories, training young people to be advocates for the services designed to support them, and providing specific tools to capture feedback.
This is what they learnt:
- Even a relatively small investment made a real difference to the charities’ ability to respond to young people’s views
- When they know how their views will be used young people are very positive about the opportunity to give feedback
- It’s crucial to build relationships before young people will commit to expressing their views
- When feedback mechanisms are co-produced with young people they are more effective in generated responses
- Staff skills are critical – they need to be empathic and able to deal with vulnerable young people. Much of the insight was generated through qualitative discussion
- Offering a variety of ways to give feedback helps
- It’s challenging to get feedback from young people who have used a one off service – the way to do this is to build in agreement at the start of the relationship with the young person
- Sharing what is heard from young people with a broader community of organizations and youth workers is necessary for change
- Good feedback practice increased the workload for charity staff but this is essential to really listen to young people
- To invest in meaningful feedback you have to be open to whatever arises
If you have additional tips please add them in the comments section below. Because after listening to its partners the Blagrave Trust is expanding its Feedback Fund. Later this year it will be making larger grants to continue improving feedback practices.
With further funding the youth organizations plan to; develop monitoring and evaluation processes to include feedback, review every element of service delivery to identify how practically young people can give input, invest in new technology to allow easier and more systematic capture of feedback, carry out wider consultation with young people – those who use services and those who don’t, and meaningfully co-design projects with young people.
Read more about how the youth organizations used the Feedback Fund money.
Keystone Accountability has been working with the Blagrave Trust to help understand how it could help its grantees improve their impact and test the hypothesis that gathering feedback is a key component of this.