Do you work for a learning organization?

We believe that well-run organizations are also learning organizations. How do you know if you’re a learning organization? Take a diagnostic test. Answer some questions about the way your team works, and it will tell you what features your team shares with learning organizations, and what you need to work on. Here is one from the Harvard Business Review to get you started. Learning is about improving performance, not proving impact. A well-run organization thinks[…]

The Trumpian crisis for civil society – and an opportunity

In March last year New York Times opinion writer David Brooks argued that the Republican Party was at a Kuhnian “model crisis” moment in a historical transition from the Reagan orthodoxy to something new that would be born out of the Trumpian disruption. He noted that Trump would not determine what would emerge because, “Trump has no actual ideas or policies. There is no army of Trumpists out there to carry on his legacy. He[…]

‘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[…]

‘We didn’t know’ is no longer a valid excuse

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[…]

User voice – how charities should measure impact

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[…]

Constituent feedback – the revolution is coming

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[…]

Thou shalt not…only do what you are told

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[…]

From the field – 7 cases and a cautionary tale

Since 2013 World Vision has been running seven DFID-funded “beneficiary feedback mechanism” experiments in health programmes in India and Africa with local partners. Earlier this month World Vision convened a highly informative day-long learning event in London where about 50 practitioners from across the globe discussed the experiments, aided by high quality documentation in video, written and slide presentation forms. This is exactly the kind of feedback practice literature that we need as Constituent Voice[…]