Field Building

Building a strong feedback field

We are committed to building a community of stakeholders using similar approaches to make the use of high-quality listening and feedback in the service of equity standard practice in the social sector.

While we have other defined areas of focus, such as experimenting and innovating around creating more meaningful relationships between funders, nonprofits, and the people and communities they seek to serve, we see field building as an important frame that encompasses much of our work. Our research, funder-listening, and international initiatives, for example, are all part of building a strong field. Here, we share some of the field-building work that undergirds and advances these and other efforts.

Infrastructure Grants

Shared Insight has three primary feedback field infrastructure partners.

Listen4Good is a capacity-building program that has partnered with nearly 130 funders to sponsor more than 630 nonprofits in building high-quality feedback loops that advance equity, inclusive practices, and authentic client partnerships. With our support, Listen4Good has grown into a free-standing initiative offering fee-based programs across the country.

Feedback Labs is a convener, connector, and hub of knowledge, tools, and resources to accelerate the culture of listening and co-creation among funders, practitioners, and the people they seek to serve. With our support, Feedback Labs is building its capacity to convene people, catalyze collaboration, disseminate findings/good practices, and strengthen the feedback field.

YouthTruth is a national survey project run by the Center for Effective Philanthropy focusing on gathering feedback from students nationwide in grades 3 through 12 for use by school leaders and education funders to make better decisions that lead to better outcomes for students. With our support, YouthTruth continues to serve more school districts and build toward a sustainable financial model.

Feedback Champions Fellowship

Shared Insight supports the Feedback Champions Fellowship in partnership with Feedback Labs, with the goal to diversify voices in the feedback field by identifying and supporting emerging leaders. During a one-year fellowship, participants receive training, mentorship, and opportunities for skill-building, connecting, public-speaking, and writing.

The first cohort, chosen February 2022, is comprised of nine mid-career leaders at nonprofits or foundations who have demonstrated a commitment to incorporating the voices of the people they seek to serve into their organization’s decision-making.

Irritants for Change

The Irritants for Change is a group of leaders from 11 key philanthropic infrastructure organizations who came together in 2018 to make listening and responding to constituent feedback the norm in the social sector. Representatives from Shared Insight’s Listen4Good feedback initiative participate and Shared Insight contributes staff time, resources, and financial support.

Among the group’s accomplishments so far are:

Core Principles of Constituent Feedback

Eight core principles, developed by the Irritants with input from the feedback community, demonstrate how to think about and implement feedback in ways that foster effective, equitable, and safe listening. The principles are intended to be enhanced over time as listening and feedback work proliferates in the social sector and beyond. Send comments and suggestions to principles@feedbacklabs.org.

See the principles

How We Listen

How We Listen is an initiative encouraging nonprofits to reflect on, improve, and share their feedback practices by incorporating new reporting measures into GuideStar’s nonprofit profiles and Charity Navigator’s rating system.

Learn more

Strong Field Framework

We are using the Strong Field Framework developed in 2009 by The Bridgespan Group and commissioned by one of our core funders, The James Irvine Foundation, to assess our progress in building the feedback field.

Feedback Field Assessment Findings

A main focus of Shared Insight’s theory of change is building a feedback field to support the use of high-quality feedback among nonprofits, foundations, and the people they seek to serve. In this report, Shared Insight’s evaluation partner ORS Impact examines the status of the feedback practice field, defining it, then calling out its strengths, gaps, and opportunities.

Read report

Accomplishments & Lessons Learned

This report assesses Shared Insight’s work, accomplishments, and challenges during its Phase 2, 2017 – 2020.  Among other examinations, the report looks at the strategies, approaches, experimentation, and outcomes around Shared Insight’s feedback-practice work, including field building, 

Read report

Learning Groups

Our learning groups offer new ways for additional staff members from our core and sidecar funders to come together to explore special topics at the intersection of the work they do and the collaborative’s priority areas and interests.

Listening, Learning, and Evaluation Group
In an effort to continue building the feedback field and support foundations in walking the walk, Shared Insight invites evaluation and learning officers from our partnering foundations to come together to discuss how listening to feedback can inform and be integrated into grantmakers’ evaluation efforts. The Listening, Learning, and Evaluation Group meets virtually once a month and includes evaluation and learning colleagues from Barr, Blue Meridian Partners, Ford, Hewlett, Hilton, Irvine, MacArthur, Moore, Omidyar, Packard, and Target foundations. Please contact Penny Huang at penny@fundforsharedinsight.org for more information.

Field-Building Committee

Marselle Alexander-Ozinskas

Marselle Alexander-Ozinskas

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Yvonne Belanger

Yvonne Belanger

Barr Foundation

Jonathan Brack

Jonathan Brack

Fund for Shared Insight

Gita Gulati-Partee

Gita Gulati-Partee

Fund for Shared Insight

Lindsay Louie

Lindsay Louie

Fund for Shared Insight

Rick Moyers

Rick Moyers

Fund for Shared Insight

Kathy Reich

Kathy Reich

Ford Foundation

Lissette Rodriguez

Lissette Rodriguez

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation/Blue Meridian Partners

Sarah Stachowiak

Sarah Stachowiak

ORS Impact

Valerie Threlfall

Valerie Threlfall

Listen4Good

Melinda Tuan

Melinda Tuan

Fund for Shared Insight

Victoria Vrana

Victoria Vrana

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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