Listening & Feedback:
A Funder Action Menu
Use listening and feedback to inform measurement, learning, and evaluation
When funders think about feedback and listening, they typically focus on gaining insights from their grantees, often about their performance and relationship with the organizations. While this is a critical practice to help funders improve their work, it is only a part of the story. Shared Insight believes that funders can and should use the insights they gain from listening and feedback to improve — make more effective and equitable — their other measurement, learning, and evaluation efforts.
Omidyar Network also worked with Lean Data to collect feedback — through phone interviews and online surveys — from 4,800 clients involved with 24 organizations in Omidyar’s education portfolio around the world. Among other findings, the data showed that clients of ed-tech organizations were most concerned with the depth and variety of content and the user experience, whereas clients of early-education organizations wanted wider choices in content and were most focused on the quality of the content. Omidyar shared these insights with other players in the sector and used them to advise their investees and guide their own future investments. 1
After participating in Listen4Good, REDF incorporated some of the Listen4Good survey questions into a multi-year study conducted by an outside research group evaluating the effectiveness of REDF’s job-preparation interventions. REDF also followed up by seeking additional feedback from employees at the social-enterprise businesses it supports.
1Valerie Threlfall and Rebecca Klein. Bridging the Gap: A Review of Foundation Listening Practices. October 2019. Pg. 32
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