Listen for Good (L4G) is an initiative dedicated to building the practice of listening to the people we seek to help. We invite nonprofits and funders to join us in exploring a simple but systematic and rigorous way of getting feedback from the people at the heart of our work. Listen for Good is focused on applying a semi-standard survey instrument, which includes using the Net Promoter System (NPS®) employed widely in customer feedback circles, to the nonprofit beneficiary context. Organizations implementing L4G are all customer-facing nonprofits. In 2016, we made 46 Listen for Good grants supported by 28 nominating co-funders.
2017 grantees of L4G will receive $45,000 over two years ($30,000 from Fund for Shared Insight and $15,000 from a nominating co-funder), as well as access to technical assistance to guide their implementation efforts. The core feedback tool is simple, consisting of six standard questions* that all participating L4G organizations are required to ask:
1. How likely is it that you would recommend […] to a friend or family member?
2. What is […] good at?
3. What could […] do better?
4. How much of a positive difference has […] made in your life?
5. Overall, how well has […] met your needs?
6. How often do staff at […] treat you with respect?
In addition, organizations can ask four optional demographic questions and add up to five custom questions to their survey.
The quantitative and qualitative responses to the L4G survey are gathered using a variety of data collection methods — including kiosks, tablets, paper surveys, and in-person interviews — and in multiple languages, when appropriate. Our survey-platform provider, SurveyMonkey, provides benchmarks to compare organizations’ responses to those of organizations in similar issue areas. Through our high-quality technical assistance, we help organizations step-by-step with collecting, interpreting, and responding to feedback.
We look forward to sharing what we learn as we continue to scale this effort, reaching more co-funders and customer-facing nonprofits across the country and supporting them as they listen for good.
*These questions may change slightly (though not significantly) in 2017.
Purpose of Listen for Good
With the Listen for Good initiative, Fund for Shared Insight aims to:
- Support diverse, customer-facing nonprofits to initiate or improve their practice of systematically collecting and using feedback from the people they seek to help. By “diverse”, we mean nonprofits of many budget sizes, issue areas, populations served, and geographies. By “the people we seek to help”, we mean individuals whose voices are least heard. For example, these might be families visiting food pantries, youth attending afterschool academic and enrichment programs, residents living in public housing, recent immigrants using legal-aid services, or individuals participating in job-training programs.
- Accelerate the building of infrastructure needed for strong beneficiary feedback loops in the social sector, including technology, analytics, reporting, and access to tools and benchmarks.
- Experiment and learn about applying/adapting the Net Promoter System to the beneficiary feedback context – including determining what survey questions work best for organizations and building out benchmarks in key issue areas (e.g. food insecurity, community and economic development, health).
- Engage more funders in supporting, using, and valuing beneficiary feedback by structuring Listen for Good as a co-funding/matching grant opportunity.
- Capture and share lessons learned with grantees, co-funders and the field to positively catalyze the feedback movement and inform the work going forward.
Grants in 2016
In 2016, we made 46 Listen for Good grants supported by 28 nominating co-funders. The structure of Listen for Good and criteria/expectations/guidelines for 2017 are largely the same as they were in 2016.
The changes we made and rationales are as follows:
- We can make more grants in 2017 than we could in 2016, due to having (1) allocated additional funds to this program and (2) lowering the amount for nominating co-funders (which may enable more funders to participate).
- In 2016, the grants were $60,000/2 years and in 2017 they are $45,000/2 years. We believe that there are start-up costs to getting Listen for Good going and want organizations to have the funding necessary to support staff time, buy materials as needed, and so forth. That said, it’s pretty clear that the costs go down in the second year in most cases, so we’ve re-calibrated size accordingly.
- We increased the minimum organization budget size as we felt that it needed to be higher in order for organizations to have sufficient capacity to implement Listen for Good in light of other work commitments.
- We will add additional technical assistance providers this year because we are making more grants.
- Finally, we may make changes to the standard question set this year, based on what we’re learning from the organizations who were funded and started implementing Listen for Good in 2016.
Articles and Resources
- An Under-Tapped Source of Insight: Listening to the People We Seek to Help February 2017
- Listening to Beneficiaries Helps Nonprofits Learn What Doesn’t Work December 2016
- Closing the Feedback Loop (PDF, 2MB) Summer 2016
Read the article online (Subscription required)
- Net Promoter System: Experimenting with SMS surveys in the Philippines November 2015
- Brief Review: Use of NPS To Gather Beneficiary Feedback In the Nonprofit Sector August 2015
- Net Promoter Score for the Nonprofit Sector: What We’ve Learned So Far July 2015
- Net Promoter Score for Nonprofits? June 2015
- Why We All Need to Listen for Good June 2015
How to Learn More
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