Published on March 6, 2014
How to Collect Beneficiary Feedback Tips for gathering constituent voice to improve nonprofit programs
Why Collect Beneficiary Feedback? Knowing how beneficiaries perceive the quality of a nonprofit’s services can greatly impact an organization’s strategies to improve and to assess the value of a mission in the communities in which it operates. There are five important considerations when developing a beneficiary feedback program, which include: • Collect actionable data • Determine which beneficiaries to survey • Decide whether you will collect data in-house, or hire a third-party • Choose a data collection method based on budget, population characteristics, rigor of the feedback you desire and how you plan to use the findings. • Use a frequent, light-touch approach for continuous feedback • Make program course corrections based on feedback
Collect Actionable Data Collect actionable data by asking questions in four performance categories: Service quality. • • Would you recommend this service to someone else? Did you get the resources and support you needed? Relationship quality. • • Do you want to try new services or products? Do you feel empowered by what your provider does? Importance. • • How important is this issue to you? Will you need this service again in the next 12 months? Outcomes. • Are you making progress with help from your provider’s service? • Are there positive changes in your life?
Determine Which Beneficiaries to Survey Decide which beneficiaries will be surveyed: Key considerations. • Nonprofits with a small number of beneficiaries can likely collect feedback from all beneficiaries • Nonprofits with hundreds or thousands of beneficiaries can choose a smaller sample size • No matter the size of the organization, surveying around 300 beneficiaries will provide statistically significant results “Focus Group Discussion” created by WhyOhGee used under CC BY / Cropped & resized.
Choose Who Will Conduct Survey Most data can be collected in-house, but sometimes it may be better to use a third-party service. Key considerations. • Anonymous feedback is typically more valid than non-anonymous feedback • If beneficiaries trust an organization, it may be possible to collect non-anonymous feedback, which can be more useful than anonymous feedback • Whether an organization collects feedback in-house or through an unbiased third-party depends on the number of respondents, budget and depth of the feedback an organization desires “Question mark chalk on pavement” created by Virtual EyeSee used under CC BY / Resized.
Select a Data Collection Method Which data collection method an organization chooses is dependent on several factors: Key considerations. • • • • Budget Characteristics of the survey population. For example, an online survey is a poor choice if the majority of beneficiaries lack Internet service The type of data to collect How an organization plans to use the data. For example, if an organization needs to collect data in real-time, a paper survey is a poor choice
Use a Continuous Feedback Approach Make collecting beneficiary feedback an integral part of program operations: Key considerations. • Survey frequently, as often as every three to six weeks • Keep the number of survey questions limited to one or two • Use in conjunction with in-depth feedback surveys conducted every 12-24 months
Make Course Corrections A continuous feedback loop enables continuous program improvements: Key considerations. • • Adjust, remove or create new service offerings • Predict future performance based on survey responses Identify bottlenecks and other problems in the delivery of program services “You Can Change the World” created by Anciss used under CC BY / Cropped & resized.
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