Regularly asking clients for feedback about your not-for-profit and its services is essential to maintaining healthy relationships. But the practice also makes financial sense. You want to ensure you maximize the power of your budget by allocating funds to the most productive programs that deliver the best outcomes.
Here are several best practices for collecting meaningful feedback from the beneficiaries of your nonprofit’s services.
Take Advantage of Every Opportunity
Each encounter with a client is an opportunity to solicit feedback. So include online surveys with your email newsletters, request feedback on your website and pull aside clients while working in the field. When you receive verbal feedback, follow up in writing so you have a record of the conversation and can easily share it with others in your organization.
Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are free, easily accessible and frequent destinations for many of your clients. Use any available survey tools, regularly invite viewers to leave comments about your posts — or even ask them to recommend or write a review of your nonprofit. Also provide an email address or SMS number for texts so that clients can contact you directly.
Of course, depending on the population you serve (for example, lower income or elderly people), not all clients may have easy internet access or use social media accounts. So keep paper surveys, and even an old-fashioned suggestion box, handy in your office.
Thank your clients for every communication and, when possible, let them know how you’re using their feedback to address shortcomings and make improvements. In some cases, you may want to schedule one-on-one meetings or focus groups where you can discuss plans in greater detail and let clients know how valuable they are to the decision-making process.
Also be sure to follow up on any problems surveys unearth. For example, if clients complain about staffers acting unprofessionally or hint at potential legal issues (such as fraud or discrimination), investigate and address those issues immediately.
When Money is Tight
If budgetary limitations are preventing you from seeking client feedback, look for free services. For example, SurveyMonkey, Google Forms and SurveyPlanet all offer no-cost customizable surveys and various sharing options.