In September 2017, ORS Impact interviewed 16 Listen4Good co-funders who had nominated at least one L4G grantee the previous year. Staff at the foundations were asked about their experiences with L4G and their own foundation’s practices around feedback and listening to nonprofit clients. They were also asked for feedback to help inform Fund for Shared Insight on what would be useful for future co-funders. After laying out the findings, this ORS report offers four observations:
Among the findings:
- The 2016 cohort of co-funders were aligned around the idea of client feedback, but there was only a “small thread around how and to what degree feedback data for grantees can inform foundation strategy.”
- Seeing grantees as a foundation’s primary constituent does not negate interest in feedback from end beneficiaries, and, even, may provide opportunities “to build upon other kinds of feedback processes.”
- Co-funders report nominating grantees they already considered strong, so the L4G experiences of these early cohorts may not be as relevant to organizations with less time and staff capacity.
- Rarely did co-funders speak to feedback as being both the “right thing” and the “smart thing,” which has been the popular messaging around the issue. “There was some divergence between those who talk about the importance of relationships and community engagement and those who talk about the value of feedback as a way to strengthen organizational effectiveness.”