Sep 17, 2015
Your donors are your lifeblood. They help keep the doors open so your charity can continue to make a powerful impact in the surrounding community. The value these individuals bring clearly extends beyond their pockets, which is why you need to connect with them in engaging ways and leverage any feedback they kindly provide.
In addition to donor feedback, nonprofits should also reach out to the community around them, or the people it plans on serving. Beyond that, the nonprofit could also connect with its current employees or volunteers. It's boots on the ground that know the organization best and how it runs on a day-to-day basis, and their input regarding operations could dramatically boost how the nonprofit runs itself going forward.
Keeping that in mind, here are three ways to use feedback at your nonprofit to improve operations:
- Use the community as your asset: If your nonprofit directly serves the surrounding local community, it likely has a close relationship with the residents. That said, nonprofits need to tap into these assets and see what these people want and how the nonprofit can help achieve those goals. Collecting stories, anecdotes and opinions from those in the community is a great way to shed light on any blind spots your nonprofit might have. This is also a great way to broaden the perspective of feedback. The wider the response rate you can get, the more unique advice and perspective you can achieve. A diverse pool of feedback never hurt anybody; it can only help things going forward.
- Take data and organize it: Even though feedback isn't always hard data, nonprofits still need to organize the information they get from all sources. Donor, volunteer and community feedback is critical when it comes to improving operations and growing as a charity. Outside perspective can help decision-makers realize what they need to improve upon. If a nonprofit collects a large volume of information and doesn't organize it in any way, there's no way it can take any action regarding the feedback provided. Some things will ultimately fall through the cracks. This data needs to be accessible so the nonprofit can integrate its feedback into a strategy, according to nonprofit author and blogger Beth Kanter.
- Share success: Similar to how your nonprofit would share donation results or any other success stories, nonprofits can announce how it incorporated donor feedback into its future strategy. This is a great way to demonstrate that the nonprofit not only values its donors, but also cares enough about their opinion that it even integrated their feedback into how it operates on a daily basis. Nonprofits can take a specific piece of feedback, share it with donors and other stakeholders, then outline how they incorporated that advice into operations. In a way, this is similar to nonprofits sharing how donors' dollars went to improve the organization. In the nonprofit community, it's all about engagement and establishing lasting relationships. Sharing success stories based on feedback is a great way to start.