For funders, one of the most important parts of any philanthropic endeavor is to decide how and where to direct their contributions. Oftentimes, societal problems they see and want to help solve are visible symptoms of many other conditions they may not have considered; and because they not have had direct, close contact with those most affected, may not even know exist.
There are a number of tools that foundations can leverage to facilitate listenting to and learning from members of the communities they wish to serve. Grantee convenings, focus groups, surveys and the like can be a strong start - setting organizations on the path to becoming more effective communicators - with both internal and external stakeholders.
At Project Evident, we believe that one of the most important, but underutilized steps in moving toward a data driven results metric is listening - both to the needs of the community your organization serves, and to the needs to the staff looking to provide better services.
The Hewlett Foundation has provided this comprehensive review and guide to listening on an organizational level, complete with resources to help practitioners implement strategies in their own organizations.
To review the guide, please follow this link.