How to Respond to Feedback (Even When You Can’t Make Big Changes)
How should you respond when you get good feedback but you aren't ready to make the changes you want?
Even when you know your organization needs changes, and you know what those changes are, sometimes it is impossible to put the changes we want to make into practice. For non-profit organizations, which often provide services for little or no money and rely on volunteer workers, responding to feedback that asks for big changes can seem like a daunting challenge.
Implementing change requires resources—often more than your organization has to spare. Training takes time and money, and sometimes change requires technology that isn’t available, or more manpower than you have at your disposal.
This situation can be frustrating, especially when you want to show your clients that you are listening and responding to their feedback. The last thing you want to do is make people feel like their feedback is being disregarded or ignored. So how should you respond when you get good feedback but you aren’t ready to make the changes you want?
1. Acknowledge the Feedback
People want to know that their voices have been heard. The best way to do this is to implement the feedback you see and make real change. When this is impossible, the next best thing is to acknowledge that you want to improve even if you aren't quite ready yet. You can do this by responding directly to the source of your feedback (if possible), but you can also have a list of aspirational goals or a vision statement that outlines the direction of your organization. Implement the feedback you receive into these goals and show that you are working toward them slowly.
2. Be Honest
Everyone appreciates transparency and honesty, and there's nothing wrong with admitting that your organization isn't ready for certain changes. While you should be cautious of making excuses or complaining, it can be beneficial to explain why certain changes are impossible. Perhaps a specific law is preventing your organization from offering a service, or offering this service would require additional staff that you don't have the resources to hire. Giving an honest picture of your goals and priorities, including setbacks, can help clients be more understanding when their feedback is not immediately implemented.
3. Ask for Help
More often than not, people invested enough to give honest feedback are also willing to help turn their feedback into reality. Asking your clients to help spread awareness about your organization---through sharing posts on social media or by word of mouth---is one great way to help your organization increase its resources and ability to make big changes. Not only can this help you reach your goals, but it's also a great way to involve the people you serve in your organization and get to know them better! In some cases, you may even be able to hold fundraisers or other events to help fund a goal related to the feedback you received. When you show that you are doing your part to implement feedback, your clients will see the effort and will respond to your calls for help.