May 11, 2016

Blog

For anybody interested in feedback, technology offers huge potential; the potential to reach communities, the potential to do so affordably, and the potential to access such feedback in real time. At Keystone we view these three elements as key to effective listening. Aleem Walji, director of the World Bank’s Innovation Labs recently spoke about technology as a “real game-changer”, giving us the ability to use simple technologies like mobile phones to “listen at scale”. In hisRead More
 Every sector has its misconceptions: stereotypical ideas about how the sector works, its values and how people both within and outside the sector perceive it. In this blog I present five ‘fun facts’ that come out of feedback data we collect at Keystone. They are yet another illustration of why, as a sector, we need so badly to have systems in place for hearing the voices of those meant to benefit from our work. AtRead More
Nonprofits are preparing to meet the new Charity Navigator Ratings system. Charity Navigator evaluate whether charities have healthy finances and policies in areas like conflict of interest and donor privacy. But soon all of the nonprofits that Charity Navigator rates, will have to do more than that to get good marks. It will also have to show that it measures whether its programs actually work. Read more about Charity Navigator’s plans and how organisations areRead More
Having provided the reasoning and rationale behind gathering feedback about our relationships with our partners and intermediary organizations, Kai discusses Keystone’s Performance Surveys, which benchmark principal-agent type relationships for international NGOs, impact investors, grantmakers and social change networks. In doing so,  he focuses on the practical side of this kind of feedback, exploring key findings from some of the Keystone Performance Surveys and the value organizations have found they get from participating. Read the full blog here.Read More
Dennis Whittle has published an important piece on the signficance of feedback loops. His discussion of how feedback loops can subvert the prevailing mental model (top-down; expert-driven) and the limitations of RCTs is particularly relevant. A must read for all those seeking to make development organizations more responsive and adaptive. http://international.cgdev.org/publication/how-feedback-loops-can-improve-aid-and-maybe-governanceRead More
Bridgespan’s new report provides an excellent overview of and framework for thinking about constituent engagement. It provides an excellent complement to Dennis Whittle’s recent paper on feedback mechanisms and the earlier Twersky and Threlfall SSIR article. The field of Constituent Voice is building its own literature!Read More
The Slum Youth Map Community Development Fund will be mapping and reporting about the progress of local government development projects in the slums to increase accountability and transparency of community funds. Many projects that make use of a fund for community development aren’t completed or are not successful and Global Giving want to document them so that they can make sure the communities get the full benefit of development. Global Giving joined Keystone as a founding memberRead More
Writing on the Feedback Labs blog, Kai argues that intermediaries – implementing partners of an international NGO, a grant recipient, or an impact investor’s awardee – are an important and active agent of change and a key to successful development outcomes. And as such, we must understand these relationships and strive to improve them. To do so, we must ask them! Kai discusses the value of benchmarking for accurately extracting understanding and meaning from the feedback data.Read More
In his article “Voice As Both Means And End”, David discusses the value of valuing relationships. David refers to Albert O. Hirschman, who died at the age of 97 last December, arguing that his seminal 1970 treatise, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States, is feeling younger and more relevant every day. One of Hirschman’s observations about voice was that it was not always comfortable or polite but any organization wantsRead More
Nick van Praag, Director of Keystone’s Ground Truth program argues that the best way to gauge whether humanitarian programs are making a difference is to ask the intended beneficiaries Writing on the Feedbacak Labs blog, Nick discusses The forum on humanitarian standards, which was held in Geneva with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). He suggests that the big question is whether these supply-side initiatives, by distilling best practices and determining whether aid organizations are capable of actingRead More