Philanthropy today often looks like a race to use the latest shiny object: big bets, impact investing, LLCs, social impact bonds, donor-advised funds, whatever. Many of the new “new ideas” are not actually all that new. Some generate more discussion than action, and none has yet delivered the sector- and world-changing impact its advocates breathlessly promise. Every once in a while, though, an idea emerges that offers a way to genuinely improve how we practice philanthropy.

Listening to beneficiaries is one such idea. While it has yet to receive the attention it deserves, the movement to seek and use feedback from the people who organizations seek to serve, is rapidly gaining ground. It’s a practice that funders and nonprofits alike should think about embracing.

The case for doing so seems screamingly obvious. How better to learn what works and what doesn’t than to ask those most directly affected? How better to seek out ways to improve? How better to learn about unintended consequences, galvanize demand and support for solutions, and know whether efforts are matching intentions?

Read the full article about feedback by Larry Kramer at Stanford Social Innovation Review.