• Introduction
  • Radical simplicty
  • Collect
  • Get advice
  • Benchmarking
  • Learn and improve
  • Systems review
  • Reports and integrations
  • Community standards
  • Your feedback

The Feedback Commons: What's it for and why we built it

Measuring the impact of your programs on the people you aim to serve often takes years. Most positive change appears long after the funding has ended.

We believe that many organizations that can listen to the people served more effectively, and harness their feedback to better prioritize and manage on a day-to-day basis. To do this, organizations need easy-to-use tools and helpful guidance. This site provides both.

We will now demonstrate some features of the Feedback Commons.

Radical Simplicity: Start with one question

Listening works if you give people a chance to speak for themselves, and you keep it simple. To start, all you need is one question, and a box for comments:

How likely are you to recommend [your organization] to a friend?





The power of the question comes from

  • comparing it to hundreds of organizations that have also asked this question, and
  • asking this question regularly, and
  • doing something with the information you get.
It gives you a reality check on the true quality of your work, as perceived by the people whom you aim to serve. Specific comments yield deeper insights on how to improve, and enable follow up.

Collect feedback in several ways and combine them later

Often the people you most need to hear from – those you aim to serve – are not going to be online. Paper is still the best way to gather feedback from them. You can combine many collection methods in your outreach and analyze them all together, or split them apart later – with our analysis tools.

  • Paper (you print, you scan, and work with our transcribers)
  • Email Campaign (send to a list)
  • Email (embedded as your signature)
  • Kiosk (tablet, computer, or phone in public space)
  • Import (any existing data set for analysis)
  • SMS (not recommended, but we can discuss that too)

Get advice on how best to collect feedback

If you're not sure how to make it easy for people to tell you what they think about your work, our interactive tutorial will walk you through the most important things to consider. The right approach depends on your context, what you want to learn, and how often you need feedback, in order to improve your programs.

Regardless of what you choose, we recommend well-tested questions and we'll show you how to combine the data from multiple listening channels in the subsequent analysis.


The Feedback Commons presents your results alongside the aggregate results of similar organizations (without names). These benchmarks help you decide whether you are doing well enough or still need to improve. This benchmarking is a feature of all surveys and tools on the Feedback Commons.

Try our Analysis Tutorial

We have tutorials that walk you through reading charts, making sense of benchmarks, and how you can discover any interesting pattern in your data.

Our system also uses algorithms to suggest the most likely meaningful statistical patterns to explore for you, and emails you updates as new data comes in.

Learn how well you're doing, then improve

Did you know?

  • Only 1 in 7 organizations (15%) has ever mentioned anything about feedback or listening on their websites?
  • Only 1 in 9 organizations (11%) has ever mentioned data sets, or published a downloadable data file.
  • Only 1 in 50 organizations (2%) mention both feedback and data?

Diagnose how well you are doing with this quiz

We have a long way to go, but this is the future: Using evidence to think about change and redesign. If you want to improve, let us help your discover solutions.

We offer a free 9-part tutorial to guide you in the practice of using feedback to manage your performance.

Let us review your measurement systems and data

Keystone has been designing and implementing measurement systems for non-profits and government agencies for years. We know how to help you collect what matters, to learn what is important, to understanding your impact and improve your effectiveness.

  • If you have ever collected any sort of data from people before, or done a survey to help you understand your intended target people and the issues they face, we can evaluate your data quality and advise you on how to be ready to incorporate cutting edge technology.
  • Add feedback loops to your evaluations.
  • discover if benchmark score (standards of good performance) already exist within your sector.
  • learn how close you are to standardizing your data.

Export pretty charts into your reports

Does your work culture expect you to print out out a physical document for meetings or to include in your reports? Our online analyses lets you export any chart you create.

You can also download the data as a CSV / excel, of course, so you can do more analysis.

And we offer a fully featured programming interface (API) so you can connect this data with other tools and platforms.

Neighborhoods: burgeoning communities of practice

As we've already alluded to, the power of data comes when organizations pool it and analyze the larger, aggregated form. There's much knowledge to be gained by cooperating with other like-minded organizations. The approach we take in the Feedback Commons is to give you the freedom to customize your design while still enabling you – the individual organization – to merge your data sets together and compare yourself with others (performance benchmarks) without restricting your designs.

You get the most mileage when you join a specific neighborhood on our site, where the benchmarks will be more specific to your context. Neighborhoods are how we organize people into communities of practice, and get funders to support this collaboration.

We also offer private neighborhoods where funders and grantees can collaborate.

What interests you?

That's what we're building. We'd love to know which of these features interest you most.

In addition, could we follow up with you on a call?

Afterwards, we'll direct you to other tutorials.