As with any activity your organization performs, it should be done with a clear strategic purpose, not just because it seems like something you should do. With that strategic perspective in mind, here are a few ways to make sure you leverage those interactions with constituents.
Keep it periodic, but not constant.
For most beneficiaries, you don’t want to completely invade their life with requests for data. Doing so can lead to overwhelm and have an adverse affect on their willingness to be a part of that process. Ask yourself, given the impact outcomes we are targeting and our program design, when are key moments we should be “checking in” to get feedback from our beneficiaries? Of course, if it is unclear, ask the beneficiaries themselves!
Have an analysis plan in place.
You conduct dozens of interviews and even more online surveys. Great, but what are you going to do with those data? Do you have the expertise to analyze it properly? The time? Program design shouldn’t just be about creating an effective intervention, it should also include how you will hold yourself accountable to making that intervention an effective one. Because if you are ultimately unable to utilize constituent feedback to assess and improve, you run the risk of wasting not just your time and energy, but that of your beneficiaries as well.
Tell stakeholders how it helped you!
A great way to achieve buy-in from stakeholders in terms of their willingness to be a part of the data collective process is to explain clearly how such data will be used. And most importantly, follow up with those communities after analyses have been conducted to show how constituent voice contributed to understanding the impacts created and potential design improvements moving forward.