How to make the most of feedback

How do you make the most of feedback? – discuss further with the people who gave it to you. We have writing recently about how closing the loop is the most scary but also most valuable part of understanding feedback. Going back to the people who gave you the feedback should not be an optional extra but, we believe, an essential part of the process. It enables you to make sense of the feedback you[…]

Collecting feedback from young people – 10 tips

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[…]

Is it actually smart to set goals?

Usually if you want to get something done you set a goal. Run a marathon, lose a stone, reduce poverty – that kind of thing. This is certainly how traditional development projects work. Logframes are full of targets – 500 people attend training sessions, 1,000 families lifted out of poverty, or 3,000 jobs created. There is an obsession with these SMART goals. As I see it, there are two problems with these targets however ‘SMART’[…]

Closing the loop

For feedback to transform relationships it is imperative to close the loop. Go back to the people you asked, tell them what you heard and what you are doing about it. Then ask them what they reckon. As simple as that is, the dismal truth is that it is rarely done. It is this element of our method, Constituent Voice that makes feedback collaborative rather than extractive. It is here where the relationship building happens[…]

Get a grant to work with Keystone Accountability

Grant funding is now available to help charities working in England improve their social impact. Charities and social enterprises can apply for a grant to cover Keystone’s expertise, allowing us to work together at no cost to the organization. Keystone Accountability, along with other organizations working on social impact, has been selected as an approved provider in the Impact Management Program. This program aims to support charities and social enterprises to increase social impact and[…]

Using client feedback to test a theory of change

US nonprofit LIFT, which works to end intergenerational poverty, has been using client feedback to test its theory of change. LIFT works with low income families in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. Parents (who LIFT call members) are paired with volunteer advocates and they work together to achieve the member’s goals. These could be finding affordable housing, decent education or building confidence and skills to manage tough times. LIFT has been using[…]

‘Speak Up Week’ – how to get clients interested in giving feedback

Our House in Little Rock, Arkansas provides housing, children’s programs, career and homelessness-prevention services. And a master class in how to get your staff and your clients enthused about collecting feedback. Joy Ritchey, Grants Manger for Our House, which serves more than 1800 people a year, explained that they have a history and culture of seeking client voice in programing. Such as their mini documentary series staring their clients. But when they had an opportunity[…]

To increase impact – listen to those you serve

Foundation leaders believe to increase their impact they need to listen to the people they are supposed to serve. There is concern among US foundation leaders that this is not currently happening. These insights come from a report by Centre for Effective Philanthropy commissioned by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to mark its 50th birthday. It makes interesting reading – particularly where CEOs highlight the need to listen and learn both from the people[…]

Shifting the power to service users

The Mayday Trust totally overhauled the way it supports people experiencing homelessness after listening to feedback (See previous blog). The new way of working involves really listening to clients and to do this effectively involves addressing the multiple power dynamics in play between funders, charities and the people they serve. Pat McArdle Mayday Trust’s chief executive officer said: “We began to shift the power dynamics in all interactions to give people more power and choice.”[…]

From client feedback to radical redesign

Client feedback resulted in a radical redesign of how one homelessness charity offers all its services. Back in 2011, thanks to the tough funding climate in the UK the Mayday Trust was considering whether it should merge with another organization and decided to review its services. In an attempt to discover the charity’s unique offering they spoke to over 100 people experiencing homelessness and frontline staff inside and outside the organization. The results were complied[…]

Lynn coordinates Keystone's various programs and manages outreach, crafting stories on the power Constituent Voice. Previously she was Rwanda country director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and before that, BBC Media Action.