GreatNonprofits: Helping nonprofits understand client feedback

GreatNonprofits is an online hub for nonprofit reviews that provides valuable feedback for charitable organizations and helps donors, volunteers, and clients learn about organizations matching their interests. GreatNonprofits hopes to use the panoply of review data collected from a diversity of organizations and audiences to help nonprofits better understand and respond to client feedback. To this end, Stats for Good was enlisted to study the relationship between reviewer background and review content.

In particular, we were tasked with investigating the influence of courtesy bias on reviews. That is, do those who depend on non-profit services to meet their basic needs avoid negatively reviewing them? Our analysis of client feedback revealed the opposite effect: clients of low-income food bank and homeless shelter clients rated their non-profit benefactors more harshly than clients of other organizations. Moreover, food bank and homeless shelter clients wrote suggestions as often as all other reviewer populations, suggesting that they are no less willing to provide feedback, in contradiction to the courtesy bias hypothesis. To validate our analysis and develop deeper insight, we, along with GreatNonprofits, interviewed several organizations that actively solicit client feedback. Our findings are summarized in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.