How to Use Feedback to Scale Your Nonprofit

March 16, 2017

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

What’s the best way to know your nonprofit is on the right track? In the corporate world, companies typically set up systems for getting feedback from their customers about their goods and services. In the art world, creatives rely on critiques and constructive criticism to better communicate their vision. The same is true for nonprofits, who provide invaluable services to their communities.

Your nonprofit will grow and progress with regular and open feedback about everything from the effectiveness of your nonprofit’s work to the operations of your organization. Fortunately, nonprofits have a built-in network to facilitate a system of feedback: their constituents, donors, volunteers, staff, and board members.

How can your nonprofit start utilizing your network to get feedback?

1. Collect feedback right on your donation forms

Getting feedback doesn’t have to be painful. If prompted, donors and supporters are likely to let you know what attracted them to your organization at the time they’re making a contribution. Some fundraising tools, likes Flipcause, include the option to enable a Message of Support or feedback tool at the time your supporter checks out. When looking for or building a donation form, ensure that you’re including somewhere for donors to give their input.

2. Send out surveys

Simple surveys can be a quick and helpful means to a snapshot review of your organization’s work. Since it’s best to get feedback from a range of groups, create separate surveys whose content specifically targets the interests and experiences of the network you are surveying. Know your audience. Surveys should be quick and easy to complete, taking under a few minutes. Questions should address both what your nonprofit should change to improve its effectiveness as well as what it doing right and should keep doing. Distribute these surveys on your website, blog, newsletter, and social media.

3. Watch the web 

Your nonprofit may be published on Guidestar or Charity Navigator, sites which allow for donor reviews. The same goes for your own social media accounts, including Yelp and Facebook. Check these sites regularly to see what people are saying, and regard this as useful data that your organization can utilize to improve its efficacy. You can even prompt feedback on your social media by asking questions and creating polls.

4. Pick up the phone & organize in-person meetings

This is especially recommended for long-term or major donors that have a large stake in your organization. This is a group that should be regularly acknowledged and made to feel that their feedback and opinions are valued. By making a phone call or arranging to meet face-to-face, you demonstrate special effort and a personal touch. In the course of these conversations, you may discover the key elements that keep your major donors investing in your work.

Have a great feedback system at your nonprofit? Please share your methods with us in the comments!

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