REDF is a dedicated investor in employment social enterprises (ESEs), which are businesses that have a transformative social impact by providing jobs, training, and support to individuals overcoming employment barriers. They collaborate with social entrepreneurs who lead these businesses, aiming to amplify their success and the positive outcomes for their employees. REDF’s programs encompass various elements: capital infusion to drive sustainable growth, capacity building to enhance leadership and operational excellence, and community engagement to foster learning and connection.

To ensure consistent feedback practices across all programs, REDF is working towards creating a unified framework. While all programs are currently collecting and analyzing feedback data, the challenge lies in aligning these diverse approaches to facilitate comprehensive organizational reporting. In instances where REDF collects feedback, they aspire to improve their application of an equity lens, aiming to better understand the unique needs of their program participants. Furthermore, REDF seeks to establish a trust-based relationship with the ESEs they support, acknowledging and addressing the inherent power dynamics between funders and grantees. By changing their approach, REDF aims to share and redistribute power with the ESEs they support. During the LabStorm session, various strategies were discussed to bridge the gap between funders and grantees.

Prioritizing feedback from BIPOC leaders and leaders with lived experience 

In the process of facilitating external feedback with grantees, it is crucial to go beyond the traditional dynamics of funder-grantee relationships. It is important to acknowledge that not all feedback will align with or satisfy everyone involved.

Incorporating a third party 

One potential solution discussed during the LabStorm session is for REDF to involve a third party in their feedback process. By including an external entity, REDF can introduce an unbiased perspective and expertise to facilitate feedback collection and analysis. This can encourage greater honesty from participants, as they may feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences with someone who is not directly connected to REDF.

Embracing vulnerability

Lastly, it was suggested that REDF continues to show vulnerability. By doing so, REDF creates an environment that encourages open and honest communication, fostering a culture of trust and authenticity. This willingness to be vulnerable demonstrates a genuine commitment to listen, learn, and improve. It allows REDF to receive and act upon difficult feedback, gaining valuable insights.

Read the full article about ensuring feedback practices by Sophia Johnson at Feedback Labs.