May 11, 2016

Blog

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A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Or so we are told. But is it true? Words are powerful and we use them carefully to evoke certain feelings and emotions. For example, the vast majority of international NGOs work in “partnerships”. What does this word partnerships evoke? Shared mutual benefits perhaps? Shared risks? Collaboration between actors who jointly deliver activities, supporting each other and holding each other to account? I would argue

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Since the US election result there have been thousands of social media posts and opinion pieces asking “How did this happen?”. People were visibly shaken at the announcement of the next United States President-elect, Donald Trump. I admit that I was shocked too. But should I be? If I’m honest with myself, I spend most of my time trolling news and other websites that usually confirm what I already know and want to believe. The

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Keystone Accountability is built on the knowledge that the voices of constituents are key to improving the performance of your organization. In a paper published today Keystone’s chief executive David Bonbright and NPC discuss how user voice can and should be part of measuring the impact of charities. The guide is intended to help charities use feedback from their users to improve their performance and results. Director of Development at NPC, Tris Lumley said: “While

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For a decade one of my standard introductions to our work has been, “The voices of those meant to benefit from our work is the most neglected important piece of the impact measurement puzzle. Not the only important piece, but the most neglected important piece.” After that past three weeks, I may have to change that intro to, “Constituent Voice – or constituent feedback – is the coming thing in the impact space.” I am

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blake

Keystone’s Chief Executive David Bonbright delivered the talk below at IMPCON 2016 in Atlanta. Despite the striking resemblance, this is not an engraving of Jeremy Nicholls. It is William Blake’s depiction of Isaac Newton. Staying with this theme of artistic perspectives on measurement, I have borrowed from the writer Anais Nin for the title of my talk, a spy in the house of love. I say “a spy” because I am not formally trained in

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feedback

We believe listening to feedback from the people you serve can help improve outcomes. This feedback is an often overlooked but vital part of performance management. To make things easier for time and cash strapped organizations, Keystone Accountability has developed an online tool to help people collect and benchmark their feedback data. The Feedback Commons is designed to help organizations listen and respond to those they serve while gaining insight from others doing similar work.

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Overcoming courtesy bias – the tendency of people to tell you what they think you want to hear – is challenging. Especially in situations with a power imbalance. But for feedback data to be useful it has to be honest. One of our clients came up with various ways to overcome this courtesy bias and find ways to persuade constituents that being frank is in everyone’s best interest. The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) provides

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Like it or not, those with the cash set the agenda. They influence where we work and what we focus on. That is not to say they choose the wrong things or that they don’t take others’ views into consideration, but never the less, they choose. And the rest of us respond. It also affects how we measure and monitor our work, reporting on the things donors want us to report on. This can be

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aidsight

Keystone believes in the power of data and benchmarking to improve how we do development. However, it is not always easy to come by. The International Aid Transparency Initiative is supposed to make information about aid easier to access, use and understand. It is the first (and only) standard for how organizations and governments are supposed to publish information about how they spend their money, who it goes to, and what it’s for. However, agencies

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International non-governmental organizations often ask a lot of partners in terms of reporting requirements – but how many provide reports in return? This simple innovation, introduced after receiving feedback from partners has changed the dynamic for INGO Peace Direct. Peace Direct, which supports local peace-building organizations, engaged Keystone to survey their partners about the state of the partnerships. They discovered that reporting to partners is an important step in accountability. Tom Gillhespy, Head of International

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