Listening & Feedback:
A Funder Action Menu
Convene nonprofits and funders to listen and learn together
A collaborative effort ourselves, Shared Insight believes that building the culture and practice of feedback in the social sector is a learning journey best done along with our fellow funders, grantees, and the people at the heart of our work. As in any field, sharing information, best practices, benchmarks, and inspiration is a productive way to move forward together.
For grantmakers with smaller budgets and staff, collaboration and convening can be an accessible way to learn more about feedback and listening while also creating opportunities for grantees to learn from each other. Examples of different approaches include:
Collaborate with other funders to learn about listening and feedback
Ongoing: NEPA Funders Collaborative, a consortium of grantmakers in Northeastern Pennsylvania, co-funds a number of nonprofits participating in the Listen4Good feedback initiative. The consortium — spearheaded by the Moses Taylor Foundation — came together with the explicit goal of creating a learning community of funders and nonprofits in the region participating in efforts to collect and use client feedback.
Ad hoc: Four pairs of grantmakers from around the country have partnered in recent years to co-fund nonprofits participating in Listen4Good. They are:
- San Juan United Way and Merrion Foundation
- Endowment for Health and New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
- Mary Black Foundation and The Spartanburg County Foundation
- Rockwell Fund and The Simmons Foundation
Convene funders and nonprofits that are implementing high-quality client feedback loops
Every quarter, NEPA Funders Collaborative convenes area funders and nonprofits participating in Listen4Good to share their progress and learnings around their feedback and listening efforts.
Boston-based Barr Foundation and The Boston Foundation hosted a one-day New England Listen4Good Gathering in partnership with Philanthropy Massachusetts to connect, learn, and build momentum for funders and nonprofits in the area implementing high-quality feedback loops.
Funders that have hosted one-time convenings of their foundation staff and funded nonprofits working on client feedback efforts.
- Mary Black Foundation
- Episcopal Health Foundation
- The James Irvine Foundation
- Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
- Virginia Piper Charitable Trust
We’d love to feature your foundation’s feedback and listening practices in this menu! Please use this form to share your story.
1. Talk about feedback in the application and reporting processes
2. Convene nonprofits and funders to listen and learn together
3. Make capacity-building grants to improve nonprofit feedback practice
4. Use listening and feedback to inform grantmaking
5. Use listening and feedback to inform strategy development
6. Use listening and feedback to inform measurement, learning, and evaluation
7. Employ a variety of tactics to listen directly to people and communities
8. Incorporate listening into other areas of foundation operations