How can the feedback field recognize, celebrate and support nonprofits that are improving how they listen to the people at the heart of their work?

The Irritants for Change (often called the Irritants for short) are committed to developing shared incentives for nonprofits and philanthropy to listen and act on feedback. They are a network of feedback specialists and nonprofit rating systems that ‘irritate’ the nonprofit sector to encourage more and better listening.

The Irritants collaborate to develop tools to encourage nonprofits to reflect on and improve how they listen. For example, in 2018, they developed the Core Principles of Constituent Feedback, and in 2019 they launched How We Listen, a feedback self-reflection that US-based nonprofits can fill out on GuideStar by Candid. How We Listen starts with a simple question: Does your organization gather feedback (perceptions, opinions, ideas, or concerns) from the people you serve? It then asks nonprofits to reflect on how they collect and use feedback and the challenges they encounter. Nonprofits that use How We Listen to reflect on their listening practice earn higher ratings in the Culture & Community beacon of Charity Navigator’s Encompass Rating System. In the first two years it was live, almost 17,000 nonprofits filled out How We Listen!

Now, the Irritants are hoping to build on the success of How We Listen to find ways that the feedback field can discern the quality of nonprofit listening that doesn’t rely only on self-reporting. In previous brainstorming sessions led by Candid and Charity Navigator, nonprofits expressed interest in peer-based mechanisms that can help them assess their current listening practices, identify steps they can take and resources they can use to improve how they listen and gauge how effective those practices are. At the LabStorm, Berilee Moussata and Alexis Banks presented two different paper prototypes for such a process, dubbed “Peer Success Reviews.”

Read the full article about peer-based feedback by Berilee Moussata at FeedbackLabs.