May 11, 2016

Blog

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 peopleRead More
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.”Read More
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 compliedRead More
“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as WE are.” – Anais Nin once said. When this power of personal perspective is used to transform the world we call it “vision”. But it can also color the lens through which we see the world. In that case, we call this misperception “bias”. Observer bias is the reason evaluators and analysts cling to the clarity of numbers, sums, averages, and error bars. But statisticsRead More
Keystone Accountability believes that when everybody has a voice, and the leadership pays attention to what people are saying, this is the best possible form of management. 2016 has been the year of surprising referendum results. In June, 52% of UK citizens voted to leave the EU. This was followed the next day by an unprecedented number of google searches for “what is the EU“. And in November, Donald Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton byRead More
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 argueRead More
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. TheRead More
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: “WhileRead More
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 amRead More
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 inRead More