What Anonymous Feedback Will (and Won’t) Tell You

Need to do an employee survey? Conventional wisdom says it should completed confidentially. What is the problem? Lack of trust if employees can’t provide constructive criticism in an open manner. Some great insight in the HBR article below.

A survey evaluating a team’s performance can be a powerful tool for making that team more effective. And the first message that consultants and HR professionals often communicate on these surveys is: “To ensure that the team gets the best data and feels protected, we will make sure responses are confidential.” The widespread assumption is that if team members know their answers are confidential, they will respond honestly. But if you ask for confidential feedback, it might create the very results you are trying to avoid.

If team members are reluctant to have their names associated with their responses, then you’ve already identified what is probably the most significant problem in your team — lack of trust. Leaders routinely insist that team members be accountable as a team, so the logic follows that they should also be accountable for giving good, critical feedback. But enabling respondents to comment without being linked to their responses actually catalyzes the situation the survey is designed to overcome: It seeks to create increased accountability using a process that lacks transparency and precludes accountability.

via What Anonymous Feedback Will (and Won’t) Tell You – Roger Schwarz – Harvard Business Review.

The Wilson Nonprofit Report for Thursday, June 6, 2013

Are you ready for a new generation of constituents? Nonprofit leaders, meet the Millennials. Millennials, met XYZ nonprofit. Oops, there is a gap here. Most nonprofit leaders aren’t a part of Generation Y (also known as Millennials). Generation Y is considered to be individuals born in the early 1980s to 2000s. They come after Generation X. Millennials represent an important emerging group of potential constituents as they are also sometimes referred to as “echo boomers”. This refers to their size relative to the large group of Baby Boomers. In the US, birth rates peaked in 1990. It is helpful to know that Millennials have distinctly different behaviors, values and attitudes from previous generations as a response to the technological and economic implications of the internet. More

Do you have a talented user experience team at your nonprofit? There is a revolution going on with constituents. The relationship they may have had with your mission and brand in the past has probably already changed. New technology (from a constituent point of view) promises a new era of engagement, two way conversations, shared experiences and community. The relationship you want to have with your constituents through these new devices and platforms and the true state are not one and the same. In fact, it may be one sided and skewed towards you and not your constituents. More

Cool Friend: Debra McKnight: Recently I caught up with my cool friend Debra McKnight who agreed to be interviewed for my cool friend series. I’ve known Deb for over 10 years. She is currently serving as Director of Affiliate Technology Services for the American Heart Association. I consider her a great friend and truly value her insights.

So Deb, what single project would you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career so far? More

 Guest Blog: Deborah Kerr – Nonprofit Talent Management: Employee costs generally make up more than 50 percent of a nonprofit’s budget so nonprofit talent management is critical to the health of every nonprofit’s “bottom line”.  This will be highlighted as the economy continues to grow and nonprofits face two major workforce trends:  the need to add staff to meet demand and the reality of losing experienced staff to retirement or “better” jobs.

Adding nonprofit staff has been a trend for the last three years.  Nonprofit HR Solutions’ 2013 survey of 588 nonprofits found that 40 percent added new staff in 2012 and 44 percent plan to create more new positions this year.  Turnover is expected to remain at 17 percent in 2013, the same as 2012, but voluntary turnover and retirement now account for 11 percent of total turnover.  This may grow as the economy’s recovery leads to more job options for good employees.

After hiring, retention of good employees is key to sustainability, but in the Nonprofit HR Solution study 90 percent of respondents reported they have no retention strategy even though they see it as a challenge.  Losing good employees is expensive.  Writing for http://www.philanthropy.com, Raymund Flandez found the average tenure of a fundraiser is only 16 months and the direct and indirect costs of replacing that fundraiser add up to a staggering $127,650!   For other employees hiring costs range from 25 percent to over 100 percent depending on the job and responsibilities.

Here are strategies that work to improve hiring decisions, reduce voluntary turnover, and improve workforce retention. More

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Innovate for nonprofit mission relevance and financial growth

Earning relevance with your constituents requires much more than the adoption of the latest technology or being on the social media flavor of the month. All of that can be for naught if the experience wasn’t enjoyable, didn’t meet the constituent’s needs or was too complex. All of your innovation should about the user experience and simple design. All of your innovation should be about understanding what constituents need and then solving them in a simple, enjoyable way. Technology and channels must be chosen with the fact that it will enable the constituent journey and engage them in your mission. If you don’t know that it will, perhaps a small test is in order. Channels should be chosen with an end in mind for the constituent. What difference does it make if you are on Pinterest but none of your constituents find that helpful?

With all the technology opportunities you have in front of you, where do you start? This is where your goals and strategies come into play. The key is to match technology investments with goals to improve the overall unified experience your constituents want and need. The tough work is to prioritize opportunities with investments that have a constituent experience return. That will help develop a culture for recognizing an emerging technology to adapt to the right platform before someone else uses it to disrupt you.

Technology can be very disruptive if someone else solves a constituent problem or obstacle before you do. If the technology they use makes it easier, more enjoyable for your constituent, loyalty will go out the window. They become relevant and you lose relevance. If it happens enough with enough constituents, your mission suffers tremendously. Is that happening now?

It is important to leverage investments in disruptive technology through the filter of your long-term strategy combined with a deep knowledge of your constituents needs.

If you are investing in every social and mobile platform, are you becoming a jack-of-all trades and a master of none?

Solving a real constituent problem, with the right emerging technology that is enjoyable and simple is in fact a game changer.

Is constituent experience an art or science?

Is constituent experience an art or science? It is part art and part science and a whole lot of social science. It is more social science than technology. In understanding how constituents connect with you mission, it helps to understand a little about psychology, sociology, and anthropology. It is all about experience. Understanding “why” an experience wasn’t enjoyable is important. Falling into the trap that it is all about “likes” on social media can be misleading. It doesn’t matter how many like you if the other experiences aren’t enjoyable, simple and meet what the constituent needs.

The digital experience is about people. It is about how they feel about all their interactions with us. They may have just attended an amazing event and had a lot of fun. They enjoyed it. When they went to your website afterward to find out how the event did, they could find what they wanted. Then, no one bothered to thank them. Then a few days after the event, they got an email asking them to give clearly indicating you don’t know them. What is their overall experience with you? Both digital and real world experiences add up to answer that question. Focusing on what people said to you on the way out the door of the event can give a false impression.

A totally branded constituent experience will come down to the role you play in listening, engaging, and meeting the needs (translate deliver value) before, during and after a transaction. That is precisely why the habit of direct mail applied to the connected constituent is so dangerous.

Being thoughtful and intentional about unifying the constituent experience ensures we are listening and connecting. The kind of content we create or curate needs to be engaging and consistent with our brand promise. Do we understand the psychology of why a constituent experience was inconsistent with a constituent expectation and hence unenjoyable?

Are you ready for a new generation of constituents?

Are you ready for a new generation of constituents? Nonprofit leaders, meet the Millennials. Millennials, met XYZ nonprofit. Oops, there is a gap here. Most nonprofit leaders aren’t a part of Generation Y (also known as Millennials). Generation Y is considered to be individuals born in the early 1980s to 2000s. They come after Generation X. Millennials represent an important emerging group of potential constituents as they are also sometimes referred to as “echo boomers”. This refers to their size relative to the large group of Baby Boomers. In the US, birth rates peaked in 1990. It is helpful to know that Millennials have distinctly different behaviors, values and attitudes from previous generations as a response to the technological and economic implications of the internet.

Society and technology is evolving faster than many nonprofits can adapt. We have to come to grips with the fact that constituent landscapes are not only changing, they are evolving beyond our grasp. You and your leadership team are not dealing with constituents you know and recognize. You are in fact talking to strangers.

This means that we all need to spend a lot of time understanding what is important to this evolving group of constituents. Why would they want to engage with our mission? How do they make decisions? Without that level of empathy, we can’t create meaningful experiences for this emerging and important constituent. This group is critical to your future volunteers, advocates and donors. This would be the time to start designing experiences based on their interest and behavior.

Here is some information that may be helpful in looking at these strangers known as Gen Y:

  • Seventy-three percent have earned and used virtual currency.
  • Gen Y will form about 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 and are already actively shaping corporate culture and expectations. Only 11 percent define having a lot of money as a definition of success.
  • Sixty-six percent will look up a store if they see a friend check in.
  • Start-ups dominate the work force for Gen Y’ers. Only 7 percent work for a Fortune 500 company. They expect large organizations to hear their voice and recognize their contributions. They need an “intrapreneurial” culture.
  • They are three times as likely to follow a brand over family members in social networks.
  • Millennials watch TV with two or more electronic devices.
  • Millennials trust strangers over friends and family when it comes time for purchase decisions. They value user-generated experiences heavily.
  • Twenty-nine percent find love through Facebook while 33 percent are dumped via TXT or Wall posts. (I’m not making this up)
  • Gen Y’ers believe that other consumers care more about their opinions than companies do. That is why they share their opinions online.
  • Most people on Facebook have about 240 friends. Gen Y’ers maintain about 696 friends.

We need to bridge the gap from being strangers to becoming partners.

Population by Generation

Are you ready for the journey? Your passion for your mission and your constituents can turn you into a hero

You have a passion for your mission. You want to do the right thing for your constituents. You believe in a better constituent experience. You are on a journey. This is a world that brings about radical change for your nonprofit. Your journey will require that you master “change management”. “Change management” is your primary role as a visionary who truly believes your nonprofit can end up in a better place with more reach for your mission and with an improved bottom line to fund it.

You are a champion of transformation and innovation in your nonprofit. You will face a lot of challenges. It will require hard work, perseverance and support from many. You will discover many allies and a few enemies.

Part of your work is about discovery. Much of it is about communication and formulation of strategy. A focus on going from strategy to a few actionable next steps is critical. This is definitely hard work. If you are up to it, that is precisely why it is interesting. Not everyone can lead the way.

All the hard work will lead to the reward. Unparalleled growth is the promise of an enriched customer experience. (Yes, there is data to support this.)

Too often, the constituent’s experience of your brand is an afterthought. Your main focus is to become intentional about everything you can. To bring the issues front and center, you and others need to champion internal transformation. It doesn’t matter that you are unclear where to begin right now. Getting started will help you figure it out. You are going to need lots of helpers. And you probably need at least one mentor.

Acknowledging that the world is changing may be a wonderful place to start. We know consumer behavior is changing rapidly. It is impacting how constituents view your nonprofit. Documenting how it is impacting your nonprofit is another key focus area. It is already impacting your bottom line.

Another focus of the journey may be to break a few deadly habits. We all have habits. One nonprofit habit is seeing donors from the view of a single donation transaction. This is called direct response. This habit can cause you to miss the donor (they are a millionaire) who has recently made a series of small donation transactions. What experience did they just have with you? As a result that experience, are they on a journey with you to engagement with your mission? Moving from a transaction mindset to a relational and engagement mindset can remarkably impact the experience the donor has. This has huge rippling effects into loyalty and total giving.

And so … it is a journey. Constituent behavior is changing and changing fast. As a hero leading the journey internally, it is your role to help leaders see the impact to your bottom line and help everyone keep up.

Do you know you are a global nonprofit?

June 2, 2013 1 comment

You are a global nonprofit. Do you act like it?

Your audience is 2.4 billion potential constituents. You have international reach. Are you designing experiences with that audience in mind? The top 15 countries saw year to year growth of about 15% new users in 2012. Much of that is in emerging markets. The U.S has the highest penetration with 78% of the population connected. China added 264 million new users last year with only 42% penetration.

Key takeaway: You are a global nonprofit. Keep that in mind as you design the constituent experience.

Global Internet Users - 2012

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