Our feedback approach is rooted in research
We know that creating high-quality, client-focused feedback loops is the “right thing to do,” as those in the feedback field say; and through our signature initiative, Listen4Good, we have shown it is a “feasible thing to do.” But we are also eager to demonstrate through research whether implementing high-quality feedback loops is also the “smart thing to do.” Specifically: Is there a relationship between feedback and outcomes for individuals served by customer-facing, direct service organizations?
In 2019, we made grants to a portfolio of five organizations (Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Center for Employment Opportunities, Nurse-Family Partnership, Pace Center for Girls, and YouthTruth) to explore the possible feedback-outcomes link. Most of the work has now concluded and our research manager, Penelope Huang, summarizes the projects and their findings in a blog published by the American Evaluation Association. In short, this body of research — the first of its kind in the United States — builds the case for nonprofits to include participant voice in their program planning, execution, and evaluation. We believe that if direct-service organizations gain a deeper understanding of how well their programs are serving participants, they will be able to make real-time adjustments that increase the likelihood participants gain positive outcomes in the future.
Two earlier grantees — Innovations for Poverty Action and REDF/RTI International — are also examining the relationship between participant feedback and participant outcomes. REDF continues its commitment to this work through ongoing evaluation research and by providing support to the social enterprise organizations that are part of the feedback research cohort.
We also continue to reference the work of our research grantees from 2014, which examined best practices for collecting feedback and for closing the loop with clients. These projects — one conducted by the Urban Institute and Feeding America and a second by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and CalYOUTH — have informed the design of Listen4Good’s programs.
Along with the research grants, we regularly convene the portfolio of research partners and are providing financial support to help the organizations promote and disseminate their interim and final findings. Additionally, we have engaged the Equitable Evaluation Initiative, led by Jara Dean-Coffey, to advise the Shared Insight team as it builds on its expertise with high-quality feedback and listening to more fully and explicitly reflect and advance equity principles and practices.
Fund for Shared Insight Feedback Research Committee
Fund for Shared Insight
Meredith Blair Pearlman
David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation/Blue Meridian Partners
Fund for Shared Insight