Giving Compass' Take:

· Writing for AVPN, Lucy Moore highlights four reasons why philanthropists need to understand the needs and experiences of beneficiaries.

· How do grantmakers incorporate feedback into their efforts? How do they receive feedback? 

· Here's how to create a more meaningful feedback loop.

It’s hard to imagine a for-profit company that does not incorporate customer feedback into its business model. Whether it’s Apple smoothing out glitches in a software update based on user experience or hotel staff responding to comments posted on TripAdvisor, customer reviews are integral to a company’s success and in turn enhance those customers’ engagement and empowerment.

In this light, it’s odd that there is not a similar integration of feedback in the non-profit sector. Non-profits serve clients just as businesses serve customers, and their impact is closely tied to understanding those clients’ needs. However, feedback is often obtained anecdotally or in an ad-hoc manner, and it’s very rarely embedded into non-profit programming. This gap may be at least partially attributable to the cost — surveys can be expensive to administer and analyse, and grant budgets may constrain their use — but grantmakers should not overlook the value of feedback in achieving meaningful impact.

Two AVPN members have begun incorporating feedback into their partnerships with grantees: the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation with Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI)–a social enterprise which promotes housing opportunities for women by capping mortgages at twenty percent of their income–and the Expedia Group with Daughters of Tomorrow, a Singapore-based non-profit dedicated to facilitating livelihood opportunities for underprivileged women. To do this, they piloted the Listen4Good (L4G) program in Asia. An initiative of the Fund for Shared Insight, L4G supports nonprofits through a five-step feedback process designed with the recognition that philanthropists cannot perfectly understand the needs and experiences of their beneficiaries without hearing directly from them.

Read the full article about using feedback to create meaningful change by Lucy Moore at AVPN.