Debra Blum, writing in The Chronicle of Philanthropy:
A sweeping movement is under way among nonprofits to more regularly collect information and consider the perspectives of the people they serve.
New tools and services, like apps that run text-message surveys, are springing up to aid feedback efforts, and new grant money is trickling in.
What’s more, in 2016 Charity Navigator, a watchdog organization, will start to include in its ratings system an assessment of whether and how well nonprofits collect and publish feedback from the people they serve.
"Momentum is building," says Fay Twersky, director of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group, noting mounting evidence, much of it still anecdotal, that listening to clients and making changes in response improves results.
"The more experiences that are shared about the benefits of feedback, the more credible it becomes," she says. "It’s changing from what seems like just a nice thing to do into a best practice."
Hewlett and eight other foundations are part of a new $18-million effort [Fund for Shared Insight] to promote such sharing.
Dennis Whittle, co-founder of the online fundraising platform GlobalGiving, which gives its members incentives to gather opinion data from their clients, agrees that all the talk and action focusing on getting feedback is gathering steam in an unprecedented way.
"A lot of this started to take root a decade ago," he notes, "but two huge historic movements—around openness and transparency and around the availability of data, big and small—have come together now to create a real force behind feedback."