How do you know if you’re changing people’s lives for the better? The most fundamental way is to ask them, of course. But how to ask and how to act on what you hear is not always clear.
A new resource is here to help. The Feedback Toolkit provides a diagnostic quiz to help social-sector organizations assess their own feedback loops, as well as guides, tools and examples from organizations putting new technology and approaches for gathering and responding to feedback into action. At a time when new platforms for digital interactions are arising almost daily, and as the social sector’s enthusiasm for developing its responsiveness and effectiveness is building momentum, the Toolkit is a place for sharing experiences and techniques, reflecting on lessons learned and capturing new knowledge to help fuel the next round of experiments.
The Feedback Toolkit is a curated collection of tools, how-to guides for closing feedback loops in specific contexts, and examples of organizations with feedback loops that others can learn from. GlobalGiving shares its Storytelling Project tool to gather stories and build ties within a community. Keystone Accountability provides a guide for creating a collaborative strategic planning process that engages constituents, staff, managers and funders. VotoMobile shares the lesson of the necessity of paying attention to more than technology when building feedback systems—from elements of culture and psychology to details like respondents’ schedules.
The Feedback Toolkit is being created by many people and organizations together. It is the flagship product of Feedback Labs, a consortium including direct-service organizations, funding platforms, and technology providers working to ensure that people served by social change work have a strong voice in each part of the process. Its development was led by Dennis Whittle and Ashoka Changemakers in collaboration with Keystone Accountability, Development Gateway and GlobalGiving. More than 100 organizations contributed to the initial launch of the Toolkit.
The Rita Allen Foundation has been part of this collaboration as well, from early conversations as the idea for Feedback Labs was germinating, to providing support for its launch, to encouraging and supporting the Toolkit. Feedback Labs also received major additional support in its second year from the Fund for Shared Insight, a collaborative effort among funders, including the Rita Allen Foundation, to bring greater responsiveness and effectiveness to philanthropy.
The Toolkit collects the stories, lessons and resources of the social sector, and it is meant to continue to be built and adjusted to make it as useful as possible. So dive in, strengthen your feedback loops, and let us know what you think.