We were joined on Wednesday by David Bonbright from Keystone Accountability, Sophie Sahaf from LIFT, and Sarah Hennessy from Feedback Labs for a discussion on community feedback in the fourth session of the Social Impact Academy. We learned that community feedback is a powerful tool for informing programmatic direction and achieving social impact. Gathering feedback can be done cheaply, but it should always be done systematically.
Session recording: http://www.meetingburner.com/b/globalgiving/view_recording?c=5IATZJ&h=f
David Bonbright, Chief Executive, Keystone Accountability
- An assessment method which asks the people intended to benefit from social change what they think about plans, performance, and reports. It helps organizations become more effective within the communities they serve.
- Constituent Voice requires building relationships. After you ask for feedback data you must report back to respondents.Let them know what feedback you received and what you plan to do.
- These relationships lead to data improvement. The process of asking and discussing issues with the community lets people understand why they are being questioned. This encourages the community to give more useful feedback and data for future surveys.
Use this systemic approach to move from discussion to action:
- Design: You don’t have to ask 30 questions to get meaningful feedback, just ask one powerful one: “How likely would you be to recommend my company to a friend or colleague?”
- Collect: Perform micro-surveys, made up of 3-4 questions, continuously and record the data; it doesn’t cost much!
- Analyze: Once you have data, analyze it. There’s a lot you can learn using segmentation. Compare your responses with other organizations in your sector. The feedback commons will soon include a feature which allows comparison.
- Close the loop: This is the dialogue phase. Have a discussion with participants asking them meaningful clarifying questions.
- Course correct: You must follow through with improvements and communicate your actions to stakeholders. Repeat the process; it is cyclical!
Borrow techniques from the for-profit sector:
- Keystone Accountability encourages use of the Net Promoter Score which asks the simple question: “On a scale from 0 – 10, How likely are you to recommend my organization to a colleague or friend?” Respondents are sorted into three categories: promoters (9-10) , passives (7-8), and detractors (0-6). The Net Promoter Score, however, is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to collect rapid feedback from stakeholders. It makes it easy to benchmark your performance against other, similar organizations. And it allows you to compare past responses to current performance, in an effort to constantly improve.
- Cisco is a tech company. Every time a Cisco employee has a meeting they ask: “Did you get what you wanted from this meeting?” The answer is then written down and reported. This changes how employees converse; they focus on the needs of the other person. Build a culture of responsiveness into your organization.
Sophie Sahaf, Vice President, Evaluation, LIFT
LIFT provides one-on-one support to help people lift themselves out of poverty.
How LIFT uses Constituent Voice
- It builds evidence for LIFT’s theory of change by asking poignant questions.Ex. LIFT’s theory is that it is important to include social, personal, and economic foundations to create better outcomes for communities. LIFT therefore asks questions that target feedback about social support and personal foundations. Questions might include: “Today, LIFT helped me with the goals and priorities that are most important to me”; and “I would recommend LIFT to a friend or relative.”
- It challenges assumptions of how members are benefiting from programs. Constituent Voice involves collecting and responding to member feedback which improves results.
How can you implement a survey with a small budget?
- Keystone provides excellent free questions on their website. Borrow ideas from this and other organizations.
- Use an iPad, email, telephone or computer to run the survey.
- Keep surveys short, never longer than 5-8 questions.
- Analyze data in house. 90% of LIFT’s data analysis is performed in excel. Much can be learned from simple statistics.
- Continually modify the questionnaire. Change questions and learn as you go.
Make your feedback practical
- Beware of asking vague questions. Surveys are more effective if respondents understand what you are asking.
- You must have the leadership’s support to make community feedback data part of your programmatic implementation.
- Time your surveys to internal planning cycles for annual performance goals or strategy planning.
- Remember, not all feedback is meaningful. Analyze data for contradictions. Create focus groups to explain confusing results.