Closing the loop

For feedback to transform relationships it is imperative to close the loop. Go back to the people you asked, tell them what you heard and what you are doing about it. Then ask them what they reckon. As simple as that is, the dismal truth is that it is rarely done. It is this element of our method, Constituent Voice that makes feedback collaborative rather than extractive. It is here where the relationship building happens[…]

How the weather is linked to social change

If you’re one of the two billion people who own a smartphone, it likely comes with a weather app. The app is probably equipped with convenient features like maps that give you all sorts of forecast spectrums ranging from temperatures and uv index dangers, to allergen warnings. You can share this handy weather snapshot on social media, or text it to a friend to suggest moving that potluck indoors for the upcoming rainy Saturday. We[…]

Responding to the sound of (mostly) silence

Out of the blue, we sent you, our clients, partners and friends, a short survey that asked what you think about us. Here’s what you told us. Firstly, you told us that an out of the blue survey is not the right way to do this. Ninety-two of you responded, for an overall response rate of eight percent. For those of you in current engagements with us the response rate was 12 percent. Our reigning[…]

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[…]

‘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[…]

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[…]

‘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[…]