The Voices of Those We Seek to Help

How can we as funders do a better job of hearing from the people we seek to help? How can listening to our beneficiaries help us be more effective funders?

We are looking forward to engaging CEP conference participants in answering these questions during our breakout session, “The Voices of Those We Seek to Help,” on Thursday, May 21, at 9:30am. In this session, we will provide a definition of beneficiary feedback, an overview of CEP’s research to date on beneficiary feedback in foundations and nonprofits, and discuss some of the challenges inherent in hearing from the people we seek to help.

Kathy Reich, director of Organizational Effectiveness at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, will describe a new funder collaborative – The Fund for Shared Insight – and its efforts to support nonprofits implementing feedback loops in their practice in the social sector. The collaborative comprises seven founding funders including: Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The JPB Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Liquidnet for Good, the Rita Allen Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Additionally, Kathy will describe Packard’s first foray into supporting feedback loops through its own funding of the Community Foundation of San Benito County’s efforts to build a constituent voice system.

We will also hear from Gary Byrne, executive director of the Community Foundation of San Benito County, about his perspectives on the importance of hearing from the diverse voices in this small, rural community. San Benito County is a place where the donors, professional advisors, nonprofit leaders, and board members are also the recipients of the services provided in their area. Gary will share the results from a recent feedback survey his foundation conducted in the San Benito community and how he is planning to “close the loop” – or circle back to those providing feedback – regarding the implications of their feedback. He will then discuss how the foundation plans to improve its services to the community as a result of their feedback.

We hope many will join us for this highly interactive session in which participants will learn from the speakers and each other about this growing and important practice of hearing from the people we seek to help.

Our CEP conference session on May 21st at 9:30am will address these questions and more. We hope you’ll join us in-person or join the conversation online at #CEP2015.

Melinda Tuan is an independent consultant who works with the senior leadership of philanthropic organizations to develop strategies for effective philanthropy. Melinda also serves as the project manager for the Fund for Shared Insight.

 

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