• Introduction
  • Simple, actionable, powerful
  • What type of work?
  • Choose the question
  • Example
  • Who do you work with?
  • Introduce yourself
  • Personalized Outreach
  • Managing Campaigns
  • Analysis

The Shortest Path to a Reliable Signal

A radically simple one question survey

This tutorial will walk you through the steps of using feedback as a reliable performance signal. When you manage to it you will improve your performance and outcomes over time.

We understand it takes some convincing for anyone to trust any one signal when making big decisions. That's why we built this tutorial - to show you!

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Because you aren't logged in and may not have an account yet, this version will only demonstrate how it works.

A simple, actionable, useful signal

Getting to the question that’s right for you

If you follow this process, you'll discover a simple but robust signal with these characteristics:

  • Continuous – data comes in every day
  • Real time – data flows into reports (or dashboard) where you can follow it
  • Sensitive – scores improve when you act to correct problems
  • Accurate – reflects reality
  • Predictive – scores correlate with other measures of progress you collect the expensive, old-fashioned way

This tutorial illustrates how you develop that agile, reliable signal in the form of a one question survey:

  • You'll pick a question based on the type of work your organization does.
  • You will personalize your outreach to various groups that affect and influence, such as beneficiaries, users, donors, peers, and so on. 
  • You will compare answers across these groups, and against other organizations asking the same or similar questions. And all this from a one question survey!

When you manage data intelligently and flexibly, your understanding of how other people see you gets deep and useful.

What type of work do you do?

Set the context for the relationship first.

In order to send a survey that best matches the context in which your organization wants to collect feedback, pick one from among these:

What question will you ask?

Feedback on your performance comes in many flavors

Depending on what type of work your organization does, one of these might be a better way to ask people you work with for feedback. Choose one of these:


Here is a sample of the survey you will be sending out. The one question will appear in their email box,and after responding, they will see a place for comments. Past research has shown that people who give 9s or 10s to this question are essential your organizations's growth and influence.

How much are you able to influence the programs or services offered by [your organization]?


Constituent groups

Program participants, citizens, staff, colleagues, activists, funders

Most people you will survey will fall into these broad groups:

These categories overlap but are useful during analysis, nevertheless. So please check all that apply to this specific survey.

for each box you check, we will ask you for emails of some people in that group later!

Write your introduction

They will see this text above the one question we embed in their email.

Explain why you are asking and how you will use their feedback. This is an important step to instill confidence in the process. Encourage them to be honest. And remind them it only takes 2 seconds.

Because you are not logged in, we won't send a survey for you today, so there's no need to actually customize this message. Click Next.

Allowed html: strong, tables, inline styles, images. No links.

Message to Beneficiaries

Next, you would paste your emails into the box, and personalize your introduction for each group of stakeholders. Since you are not logged into the Feedback Commons or have not signed up yet, this is just a demo of what it would look like.


Allowed html: strong, tables, inline styles, images. No links.

Here is how your email message would display:

Thank you for sending us your feedback!
We are in the middle of planning a new strategy, and we care about what you think. Taking two minutes to share could help us dramatically improve next year's services.

Your survey question goes here.


We also allow you to embed this survey into your own outgoing mails or collect on paper, if you like. Because this survey has only one question, it can be completed within the body of an email.

Managing Campaigns

After you insert your email lists and send the survey out, we track your responses as part of a workflow. We email you when there are responses worth analyzing.

Behind the scenes, our system scans data, exploring and comparing answers to you survey questions, and highlights these trends for you. We offer premium support to consultants and foundations that want this as part of our computer-aided report writing service.

The workflow manager lets you see how people are responding, analyze data, write reports, and give feedback to the people who reponded.

Smart Analyses

Visual, intuitive and exportable with human guidance

When you have data to analyze, our tools will guide you through the process. We also have people who are ready to show you how to do this the first time, because we believe you will find it so easy and useful, you'll never believe you did this the hard way for so long.

Check out our interactive example of how this survey can be analyzed.

Examples of visualizations of structured and unstructured (text) questions