Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are three primary ways to gather feedback, both externally and internally, from your organization. 

• What are the ways that organizations can share feedback strategies? How can effective feedback models help with communication between funders and organization leaders?

• Read more about the power of feedback. 

Grantmaking is a partnership, and you can’t know how effective a partnership is if you aren’t taking active steps to understand your partner’s experiences and needs. To optimize your grantmaking practices, it’s essential that you solicit direct, confidential feedback from your grantees, and then act on it as transparently as possible. Not only does this process improve your methods, it builds respect and equity, and therefore stronger relationships. That’s what Narrow the Power Gap, one of the Principles for Peak Grantmaking, is all about.

Unfortunately, too many of us – 54 percent, according to the Center for Effective Philanthropy – are not asking for feedback from grantees or applicants. To help you design and lead a two-way feedback process, PEAK has put together the member-exclusive resource How to Collect and Act on Community Feedback. In brief, here are some of the tips it contains for the first part of the equation.

Don’t neglect to ask for feedback from people inside your organization as well, especially to get a sense of internal support for any planned changes. Among the internal stakeholders worth asking are staffers who interact with grantees on a regular basis (like grants and program managers), members on your grant review panels, executive-level decision makers, and board members.

How to ask for feedback:

There are three primary ways to gather feedback:

  1. Conduct a survey, either produced internally or produced by an outside entity. Surveys are powerful tools for getting a true account of your partners’ experience: a secure space where grantees and applicants can provide anonymous and pointed feedback.
  2. Use an outside evaluator. Third-party evaluations can often yield more “trustworthy” results than those conducted by internal staff because a third-party can be more critical, open, and impartial.
  3. Meet for one-on-one debriefings. This option comes with many caveats; foremost, you can’t get honest feedback this way without a strong, trusting relationship already established.

Read the full article about feedback by Marc Schultz at PEAK Grantmaking.