Feedback is the sixth of seven pillars in our Methodology for Compassionate WorkIn a nutshell, the pillars are: vision, special skills, non-duplication, partnership, credit sharing, feedback and staying power.

Imagine… It’s a dark and stormy night. You are on a ship in the middle of a vast, seemingly endless sea. It’s cold, and overcast, you have no instruments. You want to get away from where you are, because you’re wet, cold and shivering. This is no fun at all. The skies are so cloudy that you can’t see the sun’s shadow by day nor the North Star by night, and you have no GPS. How will you get anywhere? You won’t. What’s worse, none of this matters if you don’t know where you want to go. It’s not enough to say “I don’t want to be wet.” As the songwriter Joe Jackson pointed out, “You can’t get what you want, till you know what you want.” You need to have a destination in mind. Then, you can figure out whether you’re headed in the right direction, and how much progress you’re making. It’s that simple. That’s what feedback is all about. Then, you can figure out the answer to the questions such as, “What does success look like, and how will I measure it, over time?”

Teachable Examples 

Here are three teachable examples. Educators may choose one or more of these, select their own preferred examples, or find an alternative example from our spreadsheet [PDF]:

  1. Common Ground, Rosanne Haggerty’s organization that is leading the path to ending long-term homelessness in the USA, was working on their 100,000 homes campaign. When they were able to show, in one small community, that homelessness is very expensive to a community, and that supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals with mental illness was not only extremely cost-effective but actually saved the community some money with implementation, they were able to get more communities interested. The way they did this was to measure the price of repeated cycles through emergency rooms, psychiatric hospitals and jails – the most costly “shelters” of all. Many chronically homeless single adults struggle with mental illness, substance abuse or chronic health issues that contribute to and maintain their homelessness, and that cause them to cycle repeatedly through these institutions. These cycles can be measured at over $56,000/year, versus permanent housing at less than half of that cost.
  2. Ampleharvest.org, the website created by Gary Oppenheimer to connect home gardeners with local food pantries, quantifies results in tons of fresh food.
    DC Central Kitchen, the organization started by Robert Egger, quantifies results for graduates as well as meals served. Not only do 90% of graduates go on to receive full-time employment within a few months of graduation, hundreds of thousands of pounds of leftover food are repurposed to create hundreds of thousands of meals each year. They know, for example, that five thousand meals per day go to eighty other nonprofits, and they celebrate metrics on their website, as a selling point.
  3. DC Central Kitchen, the organization started by Robert Egger, quantifies results for graduates as well as meals served. Not only do 90% of graduates go on to receive full-time employment within a few months of graduation, hundreds of thousands of pounds of leftover food are repurposed to create hundreds of thousands of meals each year. They know, for example, that five thousand meals per day go to eighty other nonprofits, and they celebrate metrics on their website, as a selling point.

About these Pages
Students, educators, nonprofit leaders… no matter where you are in your journey, The Elfenworks Foundation wants to help you to be successful with making a lasting, positive change.  Educators, we hope this subpage helps you as you equip your students with this effective “life tool.” It’s useful in many realms beyond social entrepreneurship. See the book, entitled Intelligence & Compassion in Action; The Seven Pillars for Social Entrepreneurs for additional factors that influence staying power, and for teachable questions. Also, for more on  “The Seven Pillars of Social Entrepreneurship”  (this page is a subpage) then please visit the main subject page.