Step-by-Step PDF Guide

Click here to download a pdf step-by-step guide to building a survey on the Feedback Commons.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What is the Feedback Commons?

The Feedback Commons is a repository of survey questions and associated benchmarks that organizations can use to collect and interpret feedback in order to improve their performance and get better results for their constituents -- who could be intended beneficiaries, partners, service users, investors, or others.

How can it help me?

It helps you use a citizen-led approach - constituent voice - to manage your organization's performance.

We help you find the best questions to ask your constituents, and then give you benchmarks to those questions, so you can interpret your feedback within the context of what other organizations like yours hear.

We offer tools and training - how-to guides, case studies, research, tools and services catalogues - so you know to improve your organization's performance.

Charity Navigator is now rating charities based on their demonstrated commitment to collecting feedback from those they intend to help. The Feedback Commons can get you a top Charity Navigator score.

You also get to join a community of practice - like-minded organizations doing similar work. Sharing your data lowers the cost of managing performance for everbody.

Is this approach rigorous? Couldn't we just cheat with our data?

Sure... We'd like to see you try. Cheaters always leave telltale signs in their data, as past experiments have revealed with hueristic auditing and storytelling. As in most things in life, you get out what you put in. And when you make an effort to listen, the results will reveal ways you can easily improve your work. 

This service helps you understand the importance of your work on the only people whose opinion really matters - constituents ! If you scrub your data, (remove some low scores, etc.), you will cheat the people out of their voice. And our hueristic auditing algorithms will notice you. Pretty soon everyone will be asking you, "how did you achieve such amazing results?" Reporters will go knocking on doors to get the constituents' stories, and you'll be left with all sorts of new questions and headaches. Or... you could partner with other organizations and become legitimately awesome.

Who am I sharing my data with?

Only you can see your data. However, a summary of your data is averaged in with other organizations to create benchmarks (community averages) that all organizations can use.

Our data policy in detail....

  • At present, no specific answers to any question of any type are shared publicly, either with users of the commons or outside parties. You data is private. 

  • Benchmarks are numbers, a sort of community average score for a question. Individual organization names are not associated with this average. So organizations and their constituents are anonymous.Open text answers to questions that are likely to contain personal identifiers, such as names, emails, phone numbers will remain hidden and not used for benchmarking.

  • Some open text questions, such as "why did you give this answer" may be used for benchmarking, as these are not likely to contain personal identifiers.

  • If, in the future, we build benchmarks using text answers to your questions that aren't likely to contain any personal identifying information, we will remove identifing information in open text as it is discovered. But there is no way to comprehensively pre-screen every text, and a lot of ambiguity in what is "too revealing." So we won't. This has never been a problem in practice, just a commonly held fear. (For example, if the question is "What did you eat for breakfast?" and the answer is "My name is Kim Jacobs 202-555-1212" then we'll remove it, once it is discovered. A question like "Name:" would never be used for any analysis in the first place.)

  • Users that give feedback on forums wish that their views be public. We will in no way have their voices infringed by an organization's wish to censor these views. This has never been a problem. They are free to share their views elsewhere in public and on the Internet. Open dialogue is the goal here.

  • We protect your raw data and never share it without your permission. If an organization wishes to remove the data they previously uploaded to the commons, we can do that on request.


What is your policy on GDPR? 

The new European Commission General Data Protection Regulation

GDPR sets a high bar for global privacy rights and compliance. We've noted the core changes here.

  • Right to be forgotten: An individual may request that an organization delete all data on that individual without undue delay.

  • Right to object: An individual may prohibit certain data uses.

  • Right to rectification: Individuals may request that incomplete data be completed or that incorrect data be corrected.

  • Right of access: Individuals have the right to know what data about them is being processed and how.

  • Right of portability: Individuals may request that personal data held by one organization be transported to another.

Feedback Commons anonymizes survey data which eliminates personal data.

In compliance with GDPR, we have appointed Amy Jording as our Data Protection Officer.

Keystone and Feedback Commons endorses GDPR and will be compliant by May, 25, 2018 as required by EU law. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact us at


Who built it?

The Feedback Commons has been built by Keystone Accountability, along with several partners. It is part of Keystone's mission to improve the way organizations around the world incorporate the voices of constituents in their work. The Feedback Commons ensures your data and any data you upload remains safe and secure. For more information on the terms of use for the site, please visit our terms of service.

I am no data expert, can I still use it?

Of course. The Feedback Commons is designed to be easy to use by a variety of people and organizations. Some have their own data specialist, but many will not. The Feedback Commons has a number of guides and resources that can help explain parts of the process.

I am from a very small organization, is this still for me?

Yes! Using feedback to improve is very important no matter how large or small your organization is. Whether you have individuals or even whole teams dedicated to things like feedback or not, the Feedback Commons can help you understand how you are performing, and help you find ways to improve.

How much does it cost?

Everything you see on the site is free. Keystone does, however, offer premium support as you design, collect, analyze, and dialogue with constituents. This premium support costs extra, but we try to keep these costs as low as possible.

We believe that a good feedback system helps you achieve lasting impact. The long-term benefits far outwight the short-term costs. And when you use peer benchmarking to achieve higher performance, the cost of each step in the cycle decreases dramatically. 

Benchmarking reduces an organization's expenses while simultaneously increasing the value of feedback. For more information on costs, please contact us at

Do you endorse the WEST Principles?

We do endorse the WEST Principles, which are:


 1. Start with Integrity & Purpose
 2. Use Worker-Centric & Inclusive Design
 3. Build Trust with Workers


 4. Facilitate Uptake & Ownership
 5. Manage Security & Risk


 6. Analyze Engagement & Impact


 7. Inform Decisions & System Changes
 8. Collaborate & Share Learnings