Last week in Washington, Feedback Labs, a hub of all things feedback, brought together nearly 200 people to take stock of how far the community has come and discuss the work ahead. There were reasons to cheer: Dozens of foundations and hundreds of nonprofits are systematically building their own feedback loops to connect more closely with their constituents. There were tough questions to confront, too, about whether the feedback movement is truly devolving power to the people–which is one of its avowed goals–or just tinkering around the edges.
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The need for feedback loops should be obvious. They address a fundamental disconnect in the social sector: Nonprofits are typically funded by their donors and not by their clients, so, unlike businesses, they don’t have a financial incentive to be responsive to those they aim to service.
Much will depend on foundations. They may have to insist that their grantees embrace feedback–and be willing to fund it. They surely will have to challenge the mindset that all wisdom resides with smart people with graduate degrees. Tuan says of foundations:
We are the agents of change, and we are the targets of change.”
Read the full article by Marc Gunther about foundation feedback from the Nonprofit Chronicles
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