We don’t listen enough. That’s what I said last week. A way to ensure that we always keep the beneficiary voice included is to put them at the heart of the organisations set up to support them and to include them in designing, delivering, monitoring and evaluating activities.
We have to be confident enough to let beneficiaries into the organisation and then to listen to what they have to tell us. This approach will challenge many NGOs who have become donor-facing fundraising specialists. But listening to the people we are set up to help is crucial if you want to be successful.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about how matrix management approach could help your organisation to perform better. Matrix management works very well when beneficiaries are regularly consulted. I have seen an NGO that regularly includes beneficiaries in the research and development of new initiatives, deliver exceptional adoption and delivery results because of all the listening done beforehand. Including beneficiaries really will make you more successful and being more successful will attract more funding and partnership opportunities.
So not only is it good business practice to listen to and include your beneficiaries, its good development practice too!
How often do you talk to your beneficiaries? Have you always included their thoughts and ideas into new activities or projects? What does beneficiary involvement currently look like and how can you improve on it?