• Introduction
  • Radical simplicty
  • Collect
  • Get advice
  • Free audit
  • Feedback Quiz
  • Benchmarking
  • Share reports
  • Neighborhoods
  • Extensible
  • Tell us

The Feedback Commons: What's it for and why we built it

Measuring the impact of your programs on the people you aim to serve often takes years. Most positive change appears long after the funding has ended.

We believe that many organizations that can listen to the people served more effectively, and harness their feedback to better prioritize and manage on a day-to-day basis. To do this, organizations need easy-to-use tools and helpful guidance. This site provides both.

We will now demonstrate some features of the Feedback Commons.

Radical Simplicity: Start with one question

Listening works if you give people a chance to speak for themselves, and you keep the system simple. All you need is one question, and a box for comments:

How likely are you to recommend [your organization] to a friend?


The power of the question comes from comparing it to hundreds of organizations that have also asked this question. It gives you a reality check on the true quality of your work, as perceived by the people whom you aim to serve. The comments yield deeper insights on how to improve.

Collect feedback in several ways and combine them later

Often the people you most need to hear from – those you aim to serve – are not going to be online. Paper is still the best way to gather feedback. You can combine many collection methods in your outreach and analyze them all together, or split them apart later – with our analysis tools.

  • Paper (you print, you scan, and work with our transcribers)
  • Email Campaign (send to a list)
  • Email (embedded as your signature)
  • Kiosk (tablet, computer, or phone in public space)
  • Import (any existing data set for analysis)
  • SMS (not recommended, but we'll work with that too!)

Get advice on how best to collect feedback

If you're not sure how to make it easy for people to tell you what they think about your work, our interactive tutorial will walk you through the most important things to consider. The right approach depends on your context, what you want to learn, and how often you need feedback, in order to improve your programs.

Regardless of what you choose, we recommend well-tested questions and we'll show you how to combine the data from multiple listening channels in the subsequent analysis.

Get a free data audit

In fact, if you have ever collected any sort of data from people before, or done a survey to help you understand your intended target people and the issues they face, we can do a free data audit for you.

First, upload your CSV. Then we'll tell you how the questions you ask (or the things you measure) compare with what other organizations have asked the people they serve elsewhere.

Upload CSV now

This is a big deal. In the past, funders and official aid agencies have tried to get everyone to measure the same things, and failed. We're letting you know how close you are to the de facto standards that exist because others are already measuring these things. Based on this knowledge, you decide what to standardize, and what to ask, weighing the benefits of standards versus discovery. That's benchmarking with autonomy.

Learn how well you're already doing

Did you know?

  • Only 1 in 7 organizations (15%) has ever mentioned anything about feedback or listening on their websites?
  • Only 1 in 9 organizations (11%) has ever mentioned data sets, or published a downloadable data file.
  • Only 1 in 50 organizations (2%) mention both feedback and data?

We have a long way to go, but this is the future: Using evidence to think about change and redesign. Organizations that manage their performance using feedback. If you want to be a leader, take this simple quiz and discover how prepared your organization is to be a feedback-driven organization.

A complete feedback Loop

Take the quiz

Don't worry. We have tutorials to guide you every step of the way to an effective feedback practice.


The Feedback Commons presents your results alongside the aggregate results of similar organizations (without names). These benchmarks help you decide whether you are doing well enough or still need to improve. This benchmarking is a feature of all surveys and tools on the Feedback Commons.

Try our Analysis Tutorial

We have a tutorial that walks you through reading charts, making sense of benchmarks, and how you can discover any interesting pattern in your data (or let our algorithms suggest some meaningful statistical patterns to explore).

Export pretty charts into your reports

In most parts of the charity / funding world you still need to print out a physical document for meetings or to include in your reports. Our online analyses lets you export any chart you create.

You can also download the data as a CSV / excel, of course, so you can do more analysis.

Neighborhoods: burgeoning communities of practice

As we've already alluded to, the power of data comes when organizations pool it and analyze the larger, aggregated form. There's much knowledge to be gained by cooperating with other like-minded organizations. The approach we take in the Feedback Commons is to give you the freedom to customize your design while still enabling you – the individual organization – to merge your data sets together and compare yourself with others (performance benchmarks) without restricting your designs.

You get the most mileage when you join a specific neighborhood on our site, where the benchmarks will be more specific to your context. Neighborhoods are how we organize people into communities of practice, and get funders to support this collaboration.

See our neighborhoods

We also offer private neighborhoods where funders and grantees can collaborate.

We're always building more tools

Based on your feedback, we've recently added new stuff...

  • additional features and tutorials
  • more interactive tutorials
  • send out surveys to separate lists of people (segmentation) based on the type of relationship
  • embed a question in your email signature
  • more tools for analyzing text responses
  • soon you'll be able to narrow down the types of organizations you want to be benchmarked against by many more criteria, such as budget size, regional focus, mission type, and religious or secular focus.

What interests you?

That's what we're building. We'd love to know which of these features interest you most.

In addition, could we follow up with you on a call?

Afterwards, we'll direct you to other tutorials.