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[…]

Those Low Response Rates

Surveys are a double-edged sword. It is useful, irresistibly so, to be able to assert something that is supported by survey results. Most of us are enthralled by this sirens’ call – I certainly am! But at the same time, surveys are riddled with two kinds of distortions. These have various technical names but boil down to two simple things – accuracy and representativeness. First, in surveys we tend not to give “honest” responses. It[…]

Surveys: You’re doing it wrong

I have a confession to make. Despite two years of surveying thousands of respondents for our clients I still fire up Google in the hopes that it will one day tell me how to conduct surveys the right way. Now, this is mainly due to being overly ambitious: I would one day love to see a 100 percent response rate or a completely full raw dataset. In the meantime though, I’ll settle for actionable insights[…]

20 ways to know if partnering is paying off

Nonprofit organizations and foundations love to talk about “partnering”, “co-creating”, leverage”, and “synergy” – but do these hook-ups really yield as much value for the effort involved? Or is it just beneficial to be seen collaborating? I searched for reports on what value non-profit professionals typically get out of collaborations, but sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much research on this. One exception is Keystone’s own Partnership Survey. We measure this along dimensions of the[…]

‘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[…]

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[…]