A sweeping movement is under way among nonprofits to more regularly collect information and consider the perspectives of the people they serve. “The more experiences that are shared about the benefits of feedback, the more credible it becomes,” says Fay Twersky, co-chair of Fund for Shared Insight. “It’s changing from what seems like just a nice thing to do into a best practice.”
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The February 8, 2015 Chronicle of Philanthropy article by Debra Blum “Feedback Movement Blossoms”, highlights the Fund for Shared Insight as part of a growing movement of funders and nonprofit organizations committed to actively listening and responding to the people they seek to help.
Sharing the experience of Feeding America, who is partnering with Urban Institute to build out feedback systems across their food bank network, the article explains how feedback from clients challenged the organization’s long-held assumptions and led to fresh food policy changes that better met client needs. Fund for Shared Insight is supporting Urban’s work with Feeding America to more systematically collect feedback over the next three years.
The article cites evidence of the feedback movement’s momentum. For example, beginning in 2016 Charity Navigator, a leading nonprofit watchdog organization, will take into consideration how well an organization incorporates feedback systems as part of the organization’s overall rating. Fund for Shared Insight grantees Habitat for Humanity, Global Giving, Feedback Labs, and Center for Employment Opportunities are highlighted as organizations developing some of the most promising efforts to more systematically collect and implement beneficiary feedback.
The article mentions some challenges in the feedback movement, notably the cost of implementing feedback systems and a perceived lack of funder interest. However, it is quick to point out that the recent creation of the Fund for Shared Insight is helping to turn the tide. Now with the partnership and support of nine Foundations, the Fund for Shared Insight is actively working to encourage the funding community to support feedback efforts.
The final quote of the article aptly sums up the importance of the growing feedback movement: “We are all really good at moving food,” says the Mid-Ohio Food Bank’s Chief Executive, Matt Habash, “but if we want to move to end hunger, then the best place to start is a conversation with the people who are hungry.”