Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Power behind listening to your beneficiaries

Why is listening to our beneficiaries important?

Before we get started, lets learn what listening is all about.

Listening is to give one's attention to sound or action. Listening involves complex effective, cognitive, and behavioral processes. Active listening can play an important role in helping you get ahead in achieving your goals, and is a skill that can be acquired and developed with a little patience and practice. Listening skills are essential to leadership that’s responsive, attentive and empathetic.

So why do you need good listening skills when it comes to your beneficiaries?

Good listening skills can lead to better beneficiary’s satisfaction, greater productivity with fewer mistakes, and increased sharing of information that in turn can lead to more creative and innovative work within and outside your nonprofit boundaries.

Listening to and learning from those we seek to help is essential for us to enhance our impact, it can help us more intimately understand our institutional ignorance and biases, and allow us to learn about how we can do better.

What happens when you pay attention and listen to your beneficiaries?

You earn their trust and respect; people appreciate it when they have been heard and their views taken into account. When people can trust you, they can share their deepest insights with you, something that will empower you in meeting their deepest needs.

When you listen and pay attention you understand issues and formulate better solutions that really meet your beneficiary’s needs. When actively engaged and listening to your beneficiary’s concerns or wider issues, you can gain a better understanding of the problem and subsequently formulate the most optimal and accurate solutions.

Thus we should get the views of our potential beneficiaries early in the process of listening so as to effectively meet their needs and become good stewards of resources entrusted in our care. Active listening helps us avoid assumptions. We want to improve their lives, but they are likely to know their own needs better than we do and listening can help us understand them better, and when that is done, we are able to meet their needs best. We need to hear directly from them about what they need to live better lives, build stronger families, and help their kids thrive in school.

Listening helps us learn how it feels like to be in their shoes. It gives us the opportunity to imagine what their life is like and what struggles they might be facing. When we get the chance to feel and hear what our beneficiaries are going through we are able to serve them better because we know how it feels like and we will serve them how we would like others to serve us. People will appreciate that you made the effort to understand and really hear them.

Our identification of the beneficiary's needs include factual assumptions that may or may not be correct. However, when we listen and pay attention, we will be able to avoid those assumptions and come up with better and successful solutions.

Solutions to social problems fail unless all the people involved are at the table, through their clear voice. While we may have a glut of information and even the best of intentions, our initiatives will continue to fall short until we recognize that our ‘beneficiaries’ are really the people who have the solutions that both they and we need. Therefore, if you want to succeed, start by listening and paying attention to what your beneficiaries are saying. Collecting beneficiary feedback through listening is not only the right thing to do to empower the voice of beneficiaries so that they are treated with dignity; it is also the smart thing to do.

Beneficiary’s knowledge of their own cultural and political realities must be paramount in the creation of sustainable social sector programs. We must work in partnership with local leaders, communities, and organizations to create and sustain true social change. Only by listening to the stories of poor communities, hearing and amplifying the voices of marginalized groups, and respecting the inherent capacity and expertise of local leaders will our work in the social sector bear fruit.

So, what can we say about listening to beneficiaries at the end of the day?

Effective listening is a skill that underpins all positive human relationships and it is the key to success if we truly want to meet our beneficiary’s needs. Spend some time thinking about and developing your listening skills, because they are the building blocks of a successful nonprofit. Nonprofit programs can be more successful if they listen and gain insights from those they desire to help.

Learn more here about ''KNOWING YOUR BENEFICIARIES'' Here is a podcast from Stanford Social Innovation Review that will en-light you on listening to beneficiaries.

I hope this post will help you learn more and more on the matters of developing an effective strategy for your nonprofit organizations or program. If might have any further questions you would like me to answer don't hesitate to contact me Here

Because of His love on Calvary, I am forever a secure package
Chaow Chaow!

Rumishael Ulomi is a Freelance Christian Consultant, Life Coach, and Motivational Speaker in the areas of Christian Ministry, Business, Entrepreneurship, and Social Sector development residing in Moshi,Tanzania.


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