Realtime Stakeholder Feedback

Fast stakeholder need, and feedback collection designed to collect stakeholder data on social media

This is a work in progress - please check back in a couple of weeks


  • Key Purpose:  Realtime needs assessment and feedback from stakeholder
  • Audience: Stakeholder Feedback (nonprofits) and foundations
  • Relative Time For Deployment: 1- 2 weeks. (including testing)
  • Known Use Cases:
    • Food Security and Delivery in Disaster
    • Impact Sourcing
    • Employee Emotion and Satisfaction During COVID-19
    • Volunteer Feedback

Realtime stakeholder needs assessment and feedback have become buzz during COVID-19 and likely to gain even more traction post-COVID-19 world.

  1. The stakeholders are more vulnerable and there’s a greater chunk of the population in need.  Sudden loss of jobs, lockdowns, homeschooling kids, loss in businesses, and the health crisis has magnified the community's needs. The World Bank estimates that the pandemic could push about 49 million people into extreme poverty in 2020. (SÁNCHEZ-PÁRAMO) We need to act fast!
  2. Funding may suffer: Nonprofits and micro-entrepreneurs tend to depend on for-profit companies as well as individual donors who are currently in economic distress. The Government and large philanthropic organizations will have to step up. 

A new approach is needed

  1. Need for new ways of collecting data: Due to the lockdown and contagion risk, data collection needs to be mostly remote, which brings extra challenges such as not having local infrastructure, technology, and knowledge. Digital data also adds biases; for example, women are less likely to have a cell phone and thus might not be able to have their voices heard.
  2. Shifting M&E priorities and strategy: Funders may get tempted to deprioritize Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) or ask to try to make their original MEL plan and indicators fit with the new activities. In this moment of rapid adaptation, rapid and outcome-oriented learning is more important than ever. Also, trying to fit the original strategy to new and pivoted programs will not work. For example, an organization working on SDG 4 bringing quality education to the kids in India by training the teachers has now shifted to distributing self-learning kits. Homeschooling the children due to COVID-19 must have a different strategy even when the stakeholders and goals remain. The evaluation has to reflect this change. 
  3. The stake for learning from data is much higher: The grantee will have to try new programs and innovative ideas which were never tested before. Choices being made right now will shape our society for years, if not decades to come. So more than ever, we need short feedback loops to learn the effectiveness of our programs, apply immediate improvements, and measure again until we reach the desired outcomes. 

How can you tackle these new challenges?

We need investment to flow, not only into the programs but also into the adaption of new technologies that allow us to collect data and get rapid and continuous learning. The program evaluators need to adopt the tools and techniques of a new age. 

A technology platform that can let you 

  1. Design and document the program strategy
  2. Align with global standards
  3. Collect continuous online and offline data
  4. And learn from intermediate changes rapidly 

Impact Cloud® is a unique configurable platform that can be up and ready in hours for collecting your stakeholder data. A cloud-based platform can not only meet today’s needs, but it is also flexible and scalable for the MEL needs post-COVID-19. 

The rapid spread of a pandemic like COVID-19 stresses the importance of listening to your stakeholders. As a social purpose organization, have you asked your stakeholders in the last few months, how are you adjusting with emotional, sentimental, and financial needs during the Global Pandemic crisis? Has anyone asked you?

As human suffering is increasing during COVID-19 time, many nonprofits (if not all) on the frontline are stretched too thin. If you are focusing on relief work such as food for the needy, safety masks for the first-line workers, mental health counseling, etc. have an increased need to listen to their stakeholders. How can we remain connected with our stakeholders while socially distancing? 

How about if we can rapidly put together front line data collection from the stakeholders and understand the changing need daily, weekly, or monthly?  These results can help all nonprofits to change intervention methodologies based on their learning. 

All is possible with real-time dashboard, funders can understand the aggregated sentiment, change over time,  and compare similar organizations with Impact Cloud®. 

Let us take an example of the Minhaj Interfaith Welfare Foundation (MIWF). This is a foundation based out of India focussed on feeding poor families during the India lockdown. During COVID-19  while the whole world is suffering, those without any job security or savings are the most vulnerable. MIWF identifies poor families through volunteer teams on the ground. 

Leaders of the foundation had questions, 

  1. Are we meeting the need (demand) of the communities? How can we identify the gaps?
  2. Is our food services bring necessary food security at the time of the crisis?
  3. Did our service kept families safe and contribute to the country’s goals of reducing death during COVID-19 time?
  4. What is the other spillover impact of our services? Positive and negative. 

In order to listen to their stakeholders, MIWF  started using Impact Cloud to collect organized data of food distribution during the lockdown of the country. The Goal of the organization is to answer all the above questions so that, 

  1. they reach out to families with real need, 
  2. they can identify the gap in the service (need food + medications?)
  3. If they are not meeting the demand then they can partner with other organizations or increase their efforts
  4. They continuously listen to their stakeholders and give feedback to them (stakeholders are families, volunteers, donors, food suppliers, etc)
  5. Have they contributed to reducing the suffering in the communities during the new global crisis 

Let us see how the process looked like.

Steps to create, deploy, and learn from your survey form on Impact Cloud® using Kobo Toolbox

Creating the Survey 

Step 1: The first step to assess the impact of the program and to understand the needs of the stakeholders is to design a survey with appropriate questions. The team at Sopact along with MIWF came up with a survey quickly to accomplish two things

  • To understand the impact the program already had on its stakeholders
  • To understand the needs of the community better especially during this pandemic

Farhan will add: Survey builder (With questions on food - real survey) You can improve this?

Deploying the Survey (on KoboToolBox)

Step 2: Once the survey was created on Impact Cloud, we deployed the survey on KoboToolBox which would be used later by MIWF volunteers. KoBo Toolbox is a free open-source tool for mobile data collection, available to all. It allows you to collect data in the field using mobile devices such as mobile phones or tablets, as well as with paper or computers.

Testing the Survey (internal and external)

Step 3: We then tested the survey with internal teams of MIWF and SoPact and with some of the external stakeholders of MIWF. This step is to ensure that the data collection process works smoothly and to iron out any glitches before deploying the survey at scale.

Deploying the survey at a scale

Step 4: After step 3, we deployed the survey at scale with MIWF volunteers through various channels. Being in India, MIWF used WhatsApp heavily. Depending on the specific needs of an organization, different channels such as online surveys, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc could be used.

Dynamically monitor the progress on Impact Cloud  Dashboard 

Step 5: As the data was collected via the survey link through various channels, the team at MIWF was able to continuously monitor the progress of the food distribution program through Impact Cloud Dashboard.  

Most importantly, since the data is being summarized in real-time, MIWF had the opportunity to change intervention methodologies to improve their program further.

The best part is that we built the entire application with less than 8 hours!.


Within a week MIWF was able to identify the following

  1. Which areas have an unmet need for food packets to serve the communities better
  2. Try and reach to the communities that were explicitly affected by the pandemic 
  3. Need is much higher than what MIWF can fulfill so increased resources and volunteers can help

We can see how this 5 step process was simple and did not burden the nonprofit. It clearly put them on the path of learning about the evolving needs of their stakeholders in the years to come. Not only MIWF can scale its efforts, but it can also influence government policies in the future with continuous learnings with Impact Cloud.