Note from Beth: Melinda T. Tuan, Managing Director, Fund for Shared Insight shares details about an incredible funding opportunity for nonprofits.
Does your organization want to make meeting the needs of the people it serves a top priority? Are you and your colleagues eager to improve and expand your capacity to listen to the people you seek to help, and to make the right changes in response? Are you interested in partnering with national funders supporting pioneering work in bringing the rich idea of customer satisfaction to the social sector?
If you answered an enthusiastic “Yes!” to these questions, keep reading!
Fund for Shared Insight (Shared Insight), a funder collaborative that pools financial and other resources to make grants to improve philanthropy, has released a national open request for proposals for its signature initiative, Listen for Good (L4G). L4G is dedicated to building the practice of listening to the people we seek to help. L4G invites nonprofits and funders to explore a simple but systematic and rigorous way of getting feedback from the people at the heart of our work.
L4G is focused on applying a semi-standard survey instrument, which includes the Net Promoter SystemSM (NPS®) question used widely in customer feedback circles, to the nonprofit beneficiary context. In 2016, 46 organizations across the 50 United States, from Hawaii to Massachusetts, received L4G grants to use that survey instrument to collect feedback from the people they serve. L4G is especially dedicated to hearing from those whose voices are often least heard, such as families visiting food pantries, youth attending afterschool academic and enrichment programs, residents living in public housing, recent immigrants using legal-aid services, and individuals participating in job-training programs.
First-time mothers, including those lacking typical support systems, are having their voices heard through the L4G participation of Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a national nonprofit that works with pregnant women. NFP has gathered opinions, observations, and suggestions from more than 1,000 young mothers to date, and is responding to the feedback in a variety of ways, considering program changes, improvements, and additions. To make sure clients know they are being heard, NFP has posted so-called electronic flip cards on its website. The cards feature a piece of participant feedback on one side and the organization’s response to it on the other.
While it may seem that communicating about feedback – what we call closing the loop – is an obvious and intuitive practice, it turns out many people who benefit from the work of nonprofits are not used to having their opinions solicited, let alone getting confirmation they are being heard. An NFP participant was so amazed by the organization’s robust feedback loop that she posted this on Facebook: “The request for feedback about the program is cool, but after a big survey, having them reply and say, ‘We hear several of you want ___ and we’re doing ___ to accommodate that,’ for each major item is unlike any organization I’ve heard of! I have honestly recommended every pregnant woman I’ve met to contact NFP!”
To hear more from some of the people L4G-participating organizations are listening to, please see our short video highlighting the feedback efforts at Our House, which serves homeless families in Little Rock, Ark. Both the nonprofit and its clients are excited about the benefits of speaking up, being heard, and making changes for the better.
More funders and nonprofits are invited to join the excitement, innovation, and good works around feedback. Through its new RFP, Shared Insight will be offering up to 75 Listen for Good grants this year.
In order to apply to participate in L4G, a nonprofit must be nominated by a current funder. (Twenty-eight different foundations nominated grantees to participate in L4G in 2016, and we are looking forward to more this year). If the nonprofit(s) a funder nominates is selected to participate in L4G, the nominating funder will contribute $15,000 of the $45,000 grant total for each nonprofit selected. Selected grantees will receive a $45,000 grant over two years — $30,000 the first year and $15,000 the second year — in addition to technical assistance provided by the Listen for Good team. Proposals from funder-nominated nonprofits will be accepted until Friday, May 26, 2017 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.
For more information about Listen for Good please visit our website and join the growing number of nonprofits and foundations that are listening to the people at the heart of our work.
Melinda T. Tuan, Managing Director, Fund for Shared Insight