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Speak Up Week at Our House Highlighted by International Nonprofit

Speak Up Week at Our House Highlighted by International Nonprofit

This article was originally posted on the UK-based nonprofit Keystone Accountability’s blog on January 16, 2017.

Click here to read Keystone Accountability’s Article

By Lynn Morris

Our House in Little Rock, Arkansas provides housing, children’s programs, career and homelessness-prevention services. And a master class in how to get your staff and your clients enthused about collecting feedback.

Joy Ritchey, Grants Manger for Our House, which serves more than 1800 people a year, explained that they have a history and culture of seeking client voice in programing. Such as their mini documentary series staring their clients. But when they had an opportunity for funding from the Fund for Shared Insight (FFSI) under the ‘Listen for Good’ scheme they were able to scale up their approach.

Our House designed ‘Speak Up Week’ – which would be an opportunity for users of three of their services; the Career Center, Little Learners and Our Club (two of the children’s services) to answer feedback surveys.

“We tried to build fun around it. Then the staff really got involved.” – Joy Ritchey, Grants Manger, Our House

Joy explained that they created ‘Speak Up Spots’ where clients could answer surveys on touch screen laptops (and they also provided paper surveys for people who were not comfortable with technology). They offered snacks and stickers that advertised that the client had taken the survey. Almost 200 surveys were answered.

Joy said: “The stickers, based on the ‘I voted’ stickers were extremely popular.”

Once the feedback had been received Our House asked their Community Council, 14 current and former service users, to help analyze the data and come up with recommendations for action.

These were then shared with the wider community by Our House’s executive director, Georgia Mjartan, at events, like a family fun day and a health and wellness event.

Joy said there were no major surprises in the feedback they received. One request that came through very strongly was to extend the hours of childcare in the Children’s Centre. This is not feasible at the moment. However, Our House has started providing childcare at the careers centre in the evenings, which means that more people are now able to access that service.

Our House is one of several organizations funded by the FFSI under their ‘Listen for Good’ project. One of the aims is to establish benchmarks against which non profit organizations can measure client satisfaction. This is evaluated with the question ‘How likely is it that you would recommend this organization to a friend or family member?’ answered on a scale of 1-10. The responses form a single score by subtracting the number of detractors (those who answer 1-6) to the promoters those who respond with 9s and 10s. In the first round of surveys Our House’s programs received scores of 83, 60 and 78. The ‘Listen for Good’ project we will see how these compare to the wider benchmarks. Our House was also able to draw interesting correlations between the data, for example high scores for the Career Centre were strongly correlated with length of enrollment.

Under the two year grant Our House will survey clients three more times. But Joy said that once the grant ends they will continue to collect constituent feedback.

What Our House got right:-

  • appropriate technology – clients enjoyed using the touch screen laptops
  • anonymous feedback – names were not associated with survey responses
  • involved whole community from the executive director and board members to children
  • they closed the loop effectively
  • a sense of fun
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