Closing the Feedback Loop

By: Jessamyn Lau

About a year ago we started developing a tool to enable our grantees (and others we interact with) to give us anonymous, timely feedback. At the end of each week, every person we have a significant interaction with gets a link to a 60 second survey to let us know how we did. That's about 100 people per PF team member, per quarter. The feedback they leave is delivered to us at the end of each quarter and delivered to each team member in aggregate. 

Last week we presented the findings from our first two pilot rounds of the Funder Feedback tool, to the Big Bang Philanthropy group. We talked about why we designed the tool, what the initial concept looked like, and how it's beginning to evolve. You'll find the slide deck here, including screen shots of the back end dashboard of Funder Feedback. 

As we explained to the room of funders, we're encouraged that people actually fill it out (we have a 35% response rate). We know you're hungry to be heard and give us advice (65% of people who filled out Funder Feedback left a comment). We hear the affirmation of things you'd like us to keep doing. We discuss those affirmations and how we can get better at them in our team meetings. For instance, after we heard loud and clear that regular in-person communication is what you appreciate and need, we're experimenting with realigning our internal meeting schedules in order to maximise in-person time with our grantees wherever appropriate.

We hope that with each iteration you'll be increasingly candid and constructively critical with us. That's where the real value is. Otherwise, it's a great signal to the social sector that we care about and are trying to walk the talk of being grantee-centric, but misses the opportunity for us and other funders to hear tangible, valuable commentary on our funding practices. We've only received one or two comments about what we should try or change. To be sure a suggestion is something we need to address as a team (rather than the result of a unique situation), we need to hear from at least a couple of people on the same issue. Basically, the more info you give us the more likely we are to improve--and to tell other funders what we, and perhaps they, might change because of what we've heard.

Remember, unless you give us identifying information we do not know who writes what. There are no time stamps. 

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to fill out Funder Feedback. We want to encourage more responsive, respectful, effective funding practices. Thanks for helping us understand how to do that!