How NGOs Can Improve Philanthropy (Hint: Ask for Feedback!)

November 15, 2015

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Asking for customer feedback is nothing new. Corporations regularly seek evaluation through surveys, and all types of businesses receive feedback from customer reviews sites like Yelp. The data they collect helps them improve their businesses and beat out their competition. Universities, too, ask for feedback from students at the end of classes in the hopes of enhancing their curriculum and teaching. Feedback is an age-old tool for upgrading any kind of service.

Nonprofits, naturally, could also benefit from gathering greater amounts of feedback to improve their effectiveness. This information is important to funders as well, who want to know what kind of impact their contribution is having. Regular and open feedback about a nonprofit’s work provides a more sincere and realistic reflection of efficacy than a site visit.

In response to this need, the Fund for Shared Insight, led by Fay Twersky at the Hewlett Foundation and Hilary Pennington at the Ford Foundation, aims to help nonprofits solicit feedback from the people they serve. In turn, the nonprofits can use that information to improve their organizations. The fund also seeks to foster openness and learning between nonprofits and their funders. It intends to award $5-$6-million in grants a year over the next three years to advance these goals:

1. To progressively improve feedback loops by collecting and learning from a great quantity of feedback;

2. To use this feedback to rate the effectiveness of nonprofits and develop strategies to improve performance; and

3. To increase communication and sharing of feedback with funders and the community.

Whatever way you choose to proceed, your nonprofit, your funders, and especially your beneficiaries all stand to gain from better feedback systems. Help your organization stay relevant by continuously improving communication, enhancing learning, and promoting positive changes.


Flipcause helps nonprofits raise funds and supporter awareness with a full suite of integrated fundraising tools.  We love to hear feedback from organizations and donors on what features they’d love to see in the nonprofit fundraising space.  Please contact Alison Dale at alison.dale@flipcause.com with ideas, tips, and critiques to help us make online fundraising better for everyone!

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