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[…]

Formalizing client feedback forces action

Musika is a non-profit organization working with private sector companies that serve the rural poor in Zambia. It provides technical advice, business model support and subsidies to its clients to reduce the initial risks of doing business with smallholder farmers. Keystone Accountability worked with Musika to help it better understand its market and customers, increase client loyalty and promote a client-driven culture. It wanted to find out how clients view the business opportunity presented by[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

Are you really listening to the people you serve?

We believe listening to feedback from the people you serve can help improve outcomes. This feedback is an often overlooked but vital part of performance management. To make things easier for time and cash strapped organizations, Keystone Accountability has developed an online tool to help people collect and benchmark their feedback data. The Feedback Commons is designed to help organizations listen and respond to those they serve while gaining insight from others doing similar work.[…]