At GlobalGiving, we believe that collecting and using feedback from constituents is an important part of the development process. We have been working to discover tools and practices that make it easy for nonprofits to listen to those voices. One of the tools we’re exploring is the Net Promoter System.
You may have heard us talk about to the Net Promoter System (NPS) before. You have probably even answered the NPS question before! The Net Promoter System) is a tool that was developed by Bain & Company for the for-profit sector to measure how loyal a customer is to a certain company- and consequently serves as an indicator of future profit. The NPS score is based on a 0-10 scale response to the following question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? This question divides customers into three categories: Promoters (who give a score of 9 or 10), Passives (who give a score of 7 or 8), and Detractors (who give a score of 0-6). The score is then determined by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. Passives are ignored in the equation.
The score is useful when used in two distinct ways: when compared to other companies within a specific industry (which gives you a basic ranking system), but more powerfully when companies use the feedback provided in the common follow up question (“Tell us more about why you chose this score”) to make changes which move more of their customers into the Promoters bucket.
The NPS has been used for over a decade in the for-profit sector, and is considered by many to be the single most useful question a company can ask its customers.
Similarly, we think this could be a powerful, inexpensive, and easy tool for nonprofits to use to understand how their ‘customers’ feel about the work they’re doing. We wanted to test this by asking this question to via a short SMS survey to a group of constituents served by GlobalGiving nonprofit partners.
Designing the Pilot
In June 2014, we began exploring what a pilot experiment around NPS via an SMS survey would look like. We decided to use the FrontlineSMS platform to send out the surveys. We then needed to decide where and with whom it would make most sense to run this pilot. We considered several factors, such as familiarity with SMS surveys, mobile use among the targeted population, and whether potential GlobalGiving partners were already using digital communications with those they serve.
In October 2014, after running an application process with Philippines-based GlobalGiving nonprofit partners, we selected three organizations to help us run this pilot: Mercy in Action, HOST-NGO, and International Disaster Volunteers. One of the reasons we chose to run this pilot in the Philippines was that one of our staff members would be traveling there for site visits and could provide in-person support before the launch of the surveys.
What We Did