Ikamva Youth: How we integrated feedback into our alumni program

Ikamva Youth is one of our 2015 Feedback Fund recipients. Recently they shared this insight with us.

Science & Maths for Ikamvanites

We provide tutoring and life skills programmes to high school students in South Africa, and have many alumni that we track. We want to know whether IkamvaYouth is helping them find jobs or helping them live with dignity in other ways. We decided to collect their feedback with an online form using SurveyGizmo integrated with Salesforce.

Because Salesforce can be rather tricky, we used some of the Feedback Funds to hire a consultant to assist with the customization we needed. This is more complicated to build, but a far better experience for the end user, and a better way for us to use data.

Our major concern was that it looked like we would need to engage the services of a consultant every time we created a new survey. Where would we find the money for that, going forward?

Luckily, to avoid us having to spend the same amount of time and money the next time we want to do a similar survey, the GlobalGiving team came up with a really useful idea:

  • Make a copy of the previous survey on Surveygizmo.
  • The Copy feature on Surveygizmo copies the entire survey, including scripted actions (such as pushing/pulling data to/from Salesforce).
  • Remove the questions we no longer need but keep the ones required for updating Salesforce. Then we can add any new questions to the survey.
  • The survey link has to be sent via Salesforce, so we created a copy of the old email invitation, and just edited the survey link, and some of the email text. This is important to do, otherwise recipients will just be directed to the old survey, rather than the new one.

So in brief, building a custom integration between SurveyGizmo and Salesforce offered these advantages:

  • Consolidates our data in one place.
  • We can track which of our alumni have completed the survey (via our records in Salesforce) then personalize their experience by pre-populating the form with information.
  • We can avoid sending email reminders to those who’ve already completed the survey.
  • The combination was more cost-effective than building it all around either one of these platforms alone.
  • We can reuse this approach with new surveys without having to rebuild the integration.

We’re really excited about having learnt this really simple tip that can help us save both time and money when we do follow-up surveys in the future! Feedback is not a once-off event, but rather an ongoing process, so coming up with ways to make this process simpler is really important.

Author Thabisile Seme is the Alumni Coordinator at IkamvaYouth.

GlobalGiving’s Comment: Great! Doing what you would do anyway, but in a smarter way, is what this be more effective blog series is all about! It is an example of Learn, Act, Learn.

The First Bonus Day of 2016!

The First Bonus Day of 2016!

Get ready for the March Pro-Rated Bonus Day! GlobalGiving is putting up $75,000 in matching to help you mobilize donations to your projects. Starting at 09:00:00 EDT on March 16th, all donations until midnight are eligible to be matched at the Pro-Rated percent.

What is the Pro-Rated percent?

The Pro-Rated percent is based on the total amount of funds raised on Bonus Day, the amount your organization has raised, and the amount of matching funds that are available. This means we don’t yet know what the matching percent will be but we will find out at the end of the Bonus Day.  With this structure, GlobalGiving is able to offer matching funds for every online donation during the day.

Are you wondering how to figure out how much matching you will get?

(amount of funds you raise/amount of total funds raised on Bonus Day) x $75,000 = matching funds you receive

Here is a real life example from last May’s Pro-Rated Bonus Day

  • In the May 2015 Pro-Rated Bonus Day, Children’s Joy Foundation raised $52,505
  • The total raised on that Bonus Day was $289,476
  • There was $75,000 available, here is how the matching worked for Children’s Joy Foundation:
    • ($52,505/$289,476) x $75,000 = $13,603 in matching
    • That would a matching percentage of ($13,603/$52,505) x 100 = 25.9%

Each donation you receive until midnight will be matched at the pro-rated percent! This also means that your donors don’t have to give right away at 9am EDT. They can wait until later in the day or until the very last second!

We are also excited to announce that GlobalGiving UK will be joining this campaign! If your projects are listed on GlobalGiving UK, donations through GlobalGiving UK will also be eligible for their Pro-Rated Bonus Day. Additionally, donations made through GlobalGiving UK by UK citizens are eligible for GiftAid, an 25% match provided by the UK government. Keep in mind, the campaigns are separate and so their Pro-Rated percent will be different from GlobalGiving’s.

To get your project listed on GlobalGiving UK for the Bonus Day, just complete this form by March 7th.

If you have any questions or want some more information, we will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, February 25th at 9am EST and again at 3pm EST. We will be discussing the Pro-Rated structure and providing tips on how to communicate with donors to maximize this unique opportunity!

Register here for the 9am session and register here for the 3pm session.

We also have one-on-one consultations available with our staff if you are interested in speaking with someone about your strategy. You can sign up for one here.

Village Improvement: Testing ways to ask people what they want

Village Improvement Project (VIP, Liberia) is a recipient of our 2015 Feedback Fund. Recently they shared this insight with us.

Clean energy for village homes

In 2015 we donated 180 solar lanterns to local people and erected road signs with the names of villages (so they would be “on the map” so-to-speak). With the Feedback Funds we received, we wanted to capture data on how well our beneficiaries use lanterns or what they think about road signs, identify problems/challenges, and gauge their satisfaction and impact.

At first, we were too focused on having predetermined questions and standardized reporting. GlobalGiving’s team challenged us to simplify: Design our feedback around our audience and our goals instead.

We explored automated phone surveys, but when we tested the system with our team, it became obvious it was too complicated for our communities. From this learning, we decided to use in-person interviews for feedback collection. Taking the time to try ideas and being flexible enough to change course was a valuable part of our learning. We will use this feedback to help us better understand what drives sustained adoption of clean energy and safe travel. Specifically, we want to first know are the lanterns and road signs useful, and secondly, what other resources are needed.

If the lanterns and road signs are found to be useful, we will donate more lanterns and road signs to additional communities. If not, we won’t. If other resources are needed, we will research how to obtain those resources. Asking now will help us plan for programs in 2016 and beyond.

What people said about the signs

We placed posters next to each new road sign, asking travelers to “flash” or “beep” the toll-free number and receive a call back from us. People called in about the new road signs. Responses included:

“The road sign is good and useful for identifying the location of our village.”

– Buba Villager

“The road sign is helping travelers visiting our village to find their way easily.”

– Boombula Villager

“Hope that a road sign could be placed in our village too.”

– Kumala-Bonokai Villager

Many callers requested we give them stuff. Here is the wish list, in the order of most requested first:

  1. hand pumps for water (9 requests),
  2. solar lanterns (8 requests),
  3. latrines (4 requests),
  4. palava hut (3 requests) and schools (3 requests).



Having two feedback channels allowed us to experience various strengths and weaknesses of our strategies as well as capture informative data.

Benefits of in-person interviews were:

  • builds rapport
  • can take notes beyond the questions
  • being able to clarify responses immediately

Weakness: Extensive time travel and coordination for interviews. Rough roads damaged vehicle.

Benefits of “flash this number” for a feedback call were:

  • flexibility for people giving feedback – drivers could not instantaneously call when they saw the sign but we could talk to them once they were done driving since the phone number was recorded
  • scheduling wasn’t needed since the calls gave more flexibility for having conversations
  • time and cost was minimized for staff because there was no need to travel.

Weakness: no in-person rapport

We were able to interview 15 callers, 10 villagers and 5 visitors, from 14 different towns [one from the Gaynjabu village from the Lantern project]. We asked “Are the road signs useful?” and “Do you need something else?” All 15 callers indicated yes, the road signs were useful. Of these callers, 5 indicated that their villages lack road signs and feel the signs would be useful.

We know that this doesn’t represent everyone, but it is a good sign that our signs are being seen.

This is an example of a GlobalGiving organization that Listens, Acts, and Learns.

Managing through feedback: Solar lanterns are great when they’re working

Village Improvement Project is one of our 2015 Feedback Fund recipients. Recently they shared this insight with us.

We are sharing feedback on our projects. We used in-person interviews to understand the impact of the solar lanterns provided to a small village in rural Liberia. Two main difficulties arose from this strategy. (1) rough travel through unpaved roads and (2) scheduling interviews.


With much of the village at work or in the fields, daytime interviews were difficult and required extra visits. Rescheduling interviews during the evening yielded better access to heads of households, and us allowed to add context and build rapport. It saves you time to accommodate the people you want to hear from.

The Gaynjabu village received donated lanterns, including six homes with 60 adults and children. Unfortunately, three of the six lanterns stopped working due to mishandling but are being fixed. Two additional homes were built during this time and the occupants did not receive lanterns.

What we asked

  1. How much is life different since you received the solar lantern? (Very, About the Same, Not Different)
  2. Tell us one difference in your life since you received the new solar lantern
  3. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

GlobalGiving’s Feedback Fund consultants encouraged us to ask fewer questions, but more open ended, that could guide us on a broad, strategic thinking level.

During implementation, however, our Liberian staff changed the questions to be simpler due to the lack of literacy. As a result, we asked two questions.

Question 1: Is the lantern useful to you? Why or Why not?

Bendu, age 27, 9 occupants:

“The light is good and useful to us in this village. We didn’t have light before the light was given to us. We used to use candles or ‘jack-o-lanterns‘ using palm oil in a plate as fuel and a piece of cloth as the wig. Right now, we can see to do some of the chores at night and our children can also see clearly while studying their lessons.”

Kebbeh, age 31, 16 occupants:

“We thank you for the light which is benefiting us in this village. Right now we can see at night and our children can also see good to study their lessons. The light is really a blessing and we thank God for the people that gave it to us.”

Bono, age 36, 13 occupants:

“Yes. That’s why I want for you people to replace the one given to me which is not working. I don’t know why but the light is not coming on. My family really needs light to enable us see clearly during the night and for our children to study their lessons.”

Question 2: Do you need anything else?

Topah, age 41, 8 occupants in the home:

“Our village need a latrine and knowledge (awareness) on hygiene and sanitation practices.”

Jenneh, age 35, 11 occupants:

“We need a hand pump to be able to get safe drinking water.”

Musu, age 35, 13 occupants:

“Besides having the light repaired or replaced with one that is working, we need more help like used clothing and footwear; text books, copy books, book bags, pens, pencils, etc. for our school-going kids.”


From the responses, we learned that solar lanterns were a valuable resource and enable more studying and other family activities. Several requests were made for a latrine and a hand pump for clean drinking water as well as others of ranging from low-cost to a huge undertaking like a medical facility.  To continue our learning and further develop our feedback loop, we plan to return to the village to conduct a second survey using the three original questions to compare the result to the first survey.

We will research which are the priorities for the communities and how to obtain those resources or engage others that are better able to assist the village. Having this feedback from the village will help us plan for programs in 2016 and beyond.


This is an example of an organization that Listens, Acts, and Learns.


LIN: From Paper to Online Surveys

LIN is a recipient of our 2015 Feedback Fund. Recently they shared this insight with us.

The LIN Center for Community Development (LIN) supports 186 organizations in Vietnam. In 2013 and 2014, we sent out LIN’s Annual NPO Partner Survey in hard copy and via email as a MsWord attachment. It was 11 pages long. Data collection was onerous and riddled with human transcription errors. In 2015, we hoped to upgrade to an online format. There were several options on the market and we were uncertain which was best. Fortunately, GlobalGiving connected us with a feedback expert who was able to answer our questions and help us decide that a “basic” subscription to SurveyGizmo (which offers a 25% discount to nonprofits!) was best for our needs.

We launched our annual survey in October and received 86 completed surveys, a response rate of 46% (86 out of 186 NPO partners in Vietnam). While the overall experience transitioning from a paper/Word survey to an online survey was positive and presented many advantages, the LIN team and our NPO partners did experience some challenges during implementation. Below is a brief summary of the key challenges and advantages resulting from the transition.


  • Technology – Internet and power disruptions do happen and, for some of our NPO partners it caused the loss of already inputted data.
  • Learning Curve – After launching the survey, one NPO partner discovered errors in the logic and validation for a couple questions. After correcting the errors, we later learned that any NPOs that partially completed the survey (and saved it) before the errors were corrected would have to start the survey over again. (It pays to pre-test!)
  • Accessibility – NPO representatives with a disability and those older in age shared frustrations with regards to the online survey format: One man with a visual impairment said the software he uses to “read” online text did not function well with the online format; Meanwhile, an NPO Director said she struggled to understand the error messages that popped-up when her answers did not fit the required format.


  • Design – The online survey is more attractive compared with the paper version and adapts well to smartphones and iPad’s on our chosen SurveyGizmo platform. Though LIN did not take full advantage of the possibilities, SurveyGizmo allows users to select from a variety of themes, colors and fonts, insert images and more.
  • Confirmation – The online system allowed LIN to send an automatic “Thank You” email when an NPO completes and submits a survey. We also selected the option to include a complete record of that NPOs answers to our survey in the email, which was an unexpected benefit to many of our partners. And, after receiving their “Thank You” email, two of our NPO partners contacted us to correct mistakes they noticed after reviewing their own answers in the email.  People liked seeing evidence that their response was saved more than we could have anticipated.
  • Reduce Human Errors (& Effort) – The online survey helped to reduce errors in data entry. Whenever a user inserts text instead of a number, for example, SurveyGizmo rejects the answer and provides an explanation so the user can revise their answer. Although this frustrated some users, it saved the LIN team from having to go back to each respondent that filled in the wrong information. Also, by using an online survey, we eliminated the need to transfer data from paper surveys to Excel, which further reduced the possibility of human error.
  • Real time Tracking & Checking Responses – SurveyGizmo allowed us to easily track our survey responses. And we used that feature often to check-in with NPOs that started but did not complete the survey and for reminding NPOs that did not start the survey. We were also able to do some quality control on the submitted data and run early analysis.
  • Language – our survey system handled English and Vietnamese without breaking. This is not always the case with technology in Vietnam.

We encountered notable challenges in the transition. Despite this, the online format offered many key advantages, the most important of which was an increase in the integrity of the data we collected.   With continued practice, the LIN team believes we can help our users to overcome, or at least mitigate, the difficulties that they faced the first time around.

Thanks to the GlobalGiving Feedback Fund 2015 for helping LIN to improve our feedback process!


Above is an example of how SurveyGizmo’s logic option ensures that our respondents answer questions only if they are relevant.

This is an example of a GlobalGiving organization that Listens, Acts, and Learns.