June 2015

Beyond accountability: feedback as transformation

Volume 20 , Number 2

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June 2015

Beyond accountability: feedback as transformation

Volume 20 , Number 2

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Alliance is pleased to offer free access to this issue thanks to Feedback Labs and Fund for Shared Insight who are sponsoring the removal of the paywall in order that the content can be shared as widely as possible. They would also like to recognise and honour Caroline Hartnell for her sixteen years of pioneering service to the sector.

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Almost all foundations and non-profits agree that getting beneficiary feedback is a good idea, so why don’t more of them do it? Is it because they don’t know how? Is it too uncomfortable to do? For the pioneers, what are the benefits? How can foundations be more accountable? These are some of the questions this special feature aims to answer. Guest editors are David Bonbright of Keystone Accountability, Elizabeth Christopherson of the Rita Allen Foundation, and Fadel Ndiame of AGRA.

‘Why aren’t we learning from impact measurement?’ asks Tris Lumley. ‘Time to start listening to the voices of ordinary people,’ urges veteran social justice campaigner, trade unionist and government minister Jay Naidoo. The special feature includes articles and case studies showing how constituent feedback is already being used by organizations such as LIFT, Digital Green, Root Capital and AGRA, and the transformational effects it could have if used more widely and systematically, by foundations, non-profits, and even governments. In addition, Buzz Schmidt offers some remedies for philanthropic institutions’ lack of accountability, while Andrew Milner and Caroline Hartnell look at the state of play with foundation accountability in emerging economies.

The June issue of Alliance also includes Khuloud Al Nuwais on why social enterprise is the key to sustainability; articles on the importance of the SDGs for climate change and for women and girls; Briggs Bomba on how philanthropy can help plug the ‘leaking bucket of illicit financial flows in Africa’; and an interview with Michael Feigelson, new executive director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

Guest Editors' Article

Feedback as democracy in social change practice

1 June 2015
David Bonbright, Elizabeth Christopherson and Fadel Ndiame

A huge shift is happening in the social sector. Dennis Whittle traces it all the way back to the birth of democracy in Greece circa 594 BCE. The people are sovereign! In titling our special theme ‘Beyond accountability: feedback as transformation’ we are signalling that the long march of democracy has arrived at our doors. When we say ‘feedback’, we think of a systematic process of listening and responding to an organization’s constituents that goes …

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