Feedback Series, Part Three: Leadership Council Case Study

Feedback Series, Part Three: Leadership Council Case Study

In the third part of our Feedback Series, we’re excited to share a behind the scenes peek at GlobalGiving’s Project Leader Leadership Council.

Last week, we introduced our Annual Project Leader Survey as one way that we collect feedback from our nonprofit partners. The survey is a useful tool for checking the pulse of our community and understanding the general needs and priorities of a large portion of our partners.  But, the survey doesn’t allow us to engage respondents in a conversation, to ask clarifying questions, or to dive deeper into specifics. That’s where our Leadership Council comes in!

A Diverse Advisory Committee

The Council is an advisory committee made up of about 20 representatives from GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners, who meet to provide regular feedback and engage in discussions about new features on the site and ideas for future campaigns. Members represent GlobalGiving’s diverse group of partners: from old-timers, who have been on the site for years and seen how GlobalGiving has changed over time to some of GlobalGiving’s newest community members, who can bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to the group. Our Council members also vary widely in their geographic location, access to the internet, experience with online fundraising, and other identifying traits that tend to also make GlobalGiving organizations so unique.

Influencing Important Decisions

The Council meets via conference call at least twice a year to discuss important GlobalGiving decisions, and each member also provides ongoing feedback via email and the Leadership Council Facebook group. Because we believe that project leader voices and opinions should go into the design and implementation of all of our programs, we often present new programs or website features to our Leadership Council for testing and feedback before rolling them out to the entire GlobalGiving community. In addition, we often solicit new ideas or solutions to problems from our Leadership Council members.

For example, in 2014, GlobalGiving’s Bonus Days had skyrocketed in popularity and, consequently, matching funds began running out early in the day, resulting in unmatched donations and dissatisfied donors and Project Leaders. With limited matching funds available, we knew that we needed to begin exploring alternative Bonus Day structures, so we took this challenge to our Leadership Council. Several Council members presented their ideas for new Bonus Day structures to the group, which engaged in a productive conversation about which solution best met the needs of GlobalGiving’s diverse network of  nonprofit partners. From this conversation, several viable options emerged, two of which we have already tested in the past year! Thanks to our Leadership Council, we tested time-released matching funds in Microsoft YouthSpark’s #GivingTuesday Bonus Day in 2014 and a Pro-Rated Bonus Day in May 2015. Keep an eye out for more on our Pro-Rated Bonus Day later in our Feedback Series!

More recently, GlobalGiving invited our Leadership Council to share feedback on our new GG Rewards dashboard before it went live. We asked Council members to do some simple tasks on the new dashboard to test its usability, and we invited participants’ feedback on everything from the rationale and purpose for the new GG Rewards program to the look and feel of the actual webpage. This was one of many conversations that we’ve had over the years with our Leadership Council as GlobalGiving has moved in the direction of rewarding organizations not only for their fundraising activity but also for the ways in which they Listen, Act, and Learn on and off the GlobalGiving platform. This most recent conversation won’t be the last! We will continue to solicit input from the Leadership Council as this program evolves.

Proposing New Ideas

In 2014, after years of running our Annual Project Leader Survey and leading the Leadership Council, we were feeling pretty good about the way that we collect and act on feedback. I, for one, was starting to think we had this feedback thing nailed. And then we got a wakeup call. One of the Leadership Council members reached out individually to discuss her concerns that GlobalGiving was really steering the feedback conversation. We were determining the discussion topics and only reaching out when we needed input. As she pointed out, we weren’t inviting unsolicited feedback or entirely new ideas.

So, this year, we’ve made some changes, and we’re trying to take a step back and invite Leadership Council members to steer the conversation. For the first time, we invited Leadership Council members to submit one-page proposals to GlobalGiving about changes or improvements that GlobalGiving could make to enhance their organization’s experience. Last week, we invited five members to present their proposals. These proposals ranged from improvements to project reports to translating our website into multiple languages and offering donations in several currencies. Representatives from several GlobalGiving teams were present to listen and ask questions. We will be using the proposals and subsequent feedback on the proposals from other members of the Leadership Council, to inform future improvements to the website and our services. Stay tuned for more information about the proposed ideas in 2016!

We’re still learning the best way to solicit, collect, and act on feedback from the Leadership Council. If you would like to be a part of this journey with us, you are invited to apply for GlobalGiving’s 2016 Leadership Council. Applications will be available in early 2016.

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