Union Capital Boston (UCB) founder Eric Leslie had ideas about how to incent his community to participate in local education, housing, and political gatherings. But feedback from local community members upended his plans. Leslie had suggested providing community members with items like textbooks and exercise equipment as incentives, but input from Wilbur Brown and other Boston residents led UCB instead to provide Visa gift cards in exchange for doing volunteer activities. The feedback also prompted UCB to begin hosting networking nights for members.

“Sometimes what people really need is cash,” says Brown, who is now one of UCB’s Network Leaders—individuals who organize to address community concerns and help members access resources and achieve goals. “All the best intentions in the world can come to this community, but if you don’t know the culture, you’ll miss the mark."

"I learned a lot of valuable lessons about really listening, not just one time, but repetitively, is its own learning process," said Leslie.

Watch the full video about the impact of feedback on a community organization at Stanford Social Innovation Review.