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Customer First Measurement

A Revolutionary Customer First Approach for the Social Sector


As social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and philanthropists, we generally agree that measurement across the social sector is more complicated, costly, and time-consuming than it should be.

Too often, the wrong things are measured at the wrong time. What if there was a more effective, straight-forward way? At Stand Together Foundation, we envision a better approach to measurement, one that can transform the way organizations nationwide address our country’s biggest problems.

The current measurement approach in the social sector prioritizes measuring success by monitoring activities instead of results.

It positions the program as the primary unit of success rather than the individuals it aims to serve. As a result, organizations often invest more time tracking outputs, like program completions, at the expense of collecting data on customer impact. Without reliable alternatives, donors reinforce this incentive structure by asking nonprofits to devote limited resources to metrics that rarely see any other purpose besides fundraising.

What if there was a better way?

Customer First Measurement™

Stand Together Foundation’s alternative approach to measurement positions individuals as the primary unit of success and prioritizes their satisfaction with the service provided.

With this approach, nonprofits commit to listening and learning from the experiences of the individuals they serve, leading to improved programming and simpler, more meaningful measures. Organizations build their measurement strategy through the lens of a Customer Roadmap, which ensures that decision-making is rooted in the perceptions and insights of the individuals they serve.

By applying this mindset and practice, we have seen nonprofits across all issue areas better understand their customers, allocate resources more effectively, strengthen programs to improve results, and instill a culture of continuous improvement.

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Read below for some examples:

Understanding customers

Demographics and other custom segmentation questions allow organizations to see who they are serving and how well each group feels those services are meeting their unique needs. This enables organizations to personalize experiences across customer types and hone in on their competitive advantages.

Allocating resources

Prioritizing resources based on customer feedback helps organizations more effectively allocate resources toward programs that have the most significant impact on customers. In contrast, programs with limited impact can be reconsidered or modified.

Strengthening results

By tracking changes in customers' perceptions and experiences over time, organizations showcase how their programs positively influence aspects of a customer’s life, such as their motivation, their well-being, and overall positive life transformation.

Continuously improving

Feedback loops create a culture of continuous improvement within organizations and demonstrate a commitment to accountability. Seeking and acting upon input not only ensures that organizations remain dynamic and responsive to changing needs, but also builds trust with end users.

Customer First Measures

Intended to help measure the overall satisfaction of the people nonprofits seek to help, our core questions invite deeper conversations between organizations and their customers. They also allow organizations to understand their customers’ unmet needs and help to surface new ways to satisfy them. These core metrics cover customer satisfaction, value, transformation, and empowerment. The question set also includes an open-ended opportunity for customers to share ideas they have for the organization to improve and some demographics to help segment the experiences by different customer types. You can read more about each of the core questions and their unique purpose here.

Philanthropy has a role to play here too!

Individual donors and foundations must shift the current incentive structure by funding organizations that prioritize decision-making based on customer listening. The widespread adoption of metrics like NPS and NTS will reorient sector innovation to focus on bottom-up metrics illustrating the needs of individuals. Engagement from funders is a key motivator for organizations to try new tools and measurement theories.

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How do I get started?

For Nonprofits

  • Learn More: Download this guide to learn more about implementing customer feedback practices and what to expect from our Survey Generation Tool.
  • Prioritize Listening to Your Customers: Commit to listening to the people you serve and integrating their insights into your decision-making.
  • Utilize STF’s Survey Generation Tool: Fill out this form to kick off an initial Survey Deployment process. You’ll receive a link to collect feedback from your customers, gain access to best practices for each step of the process, and be provided with a baseline custom analysis of your results. Towards the end of the process, you’ll have an opportunity to request complimentary personalized coaching to dive deeper. For more information, please check out our FAQ.
  • Already Gathering Feedback but Want to Improve Your Practice? Our Survey Generation tool might not be the right tool for you, since it’s designed for nonprofits looking to collect feedback for the first time.
      • You can fill out this form to express your interest in learning more and sharing what tools you think might be helpful for you to go deeper with your own customer feedback practices.
      • Complete a Customer Roadmap Exercise where you can differentiate your customer archetypes and incorporate more intentional questions into future surveys.

For Philanthropists

  • Ask your Organizations How Well They Listen to Their Customers: While deciding who to fund, consider prioritizing organizations that put customers at the center of their decision-making.
  • Support This Work With Your Grantees: Share this website and accompanying resources with your grantees to gauge their interest. You can recommend they test out our Survey Generation Tool to get started quickly and easily.
  • Meet the Stand Together Foundation Team: Fill out this interest form to meet the team and explore opportunities for more customized partnership.


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Together we can revolutionize how the social sector views and measures impact.

By collecting feedback directly from our customers and using it to refine our services and define our impact, we can set an example and lead the change we need to see.

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