Nonprofits & NGOs

Improving an Employment Service With a Former Prisoner’s Feedback

When Betty McCay finished a 27-year prison sentence, she was 63 and needed help finding work. The Oakland, California, chapter of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), an organization that helps formerly incarcerated people find jobs, got her a position picking up trash on California highways. CEO sends texts to its clients to solicit their feedback about the program, but McCay was skeptical that the organization really wanted her opinion. “In prison,” she said, “feedback isn’t necessary. Feedback isn’t sought.”

But McCay discovered that an idea she had to improve the program for everyone was not only heard, but also implemented within a week by CEO’s senior program innovation analyst, Nate Mandel.

“He was actually concerned about what I felt,” McCay said. “When you feel that you're being listened to, and that what's happening with you matters, it makes you want to give them more.”

This video is part of a multimedia series that was produced for Stanford Social Innovation Review by Milway Media with the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Power of Feedback
The Power of Feedback
In this multimedia series, sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, voices from the social sector will offer tactics, tools, and advice gleaned from the grassroots to encourage nonprofits and foundations to make listening to their constituents—and acting on what they hear—a smart norm for any organization committed to improvement.

Funding Feedback

By Katie Smith Milway 3

Fund for Shared Insight is pooling the cash and convictions of 13 philanthropies to build the field of end-user feedback. The collaborative aims to help nonprofits and funders learn from and empower those they seek to help. Can its leaders become role models for the positive change they seek to create?