The Hard Virtues of ‘Soft’ Program Measurement

Participant feedback is generally pegged as the “softer” leg of nonprofit program measurement compared to quantitative approaches like randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Organizations can view input from users of social products and services more as a “suggestion box” than a critical measure of effectiveness. Meanwhile, the field has long considered third-party evaluations that relegate participants to subjects of a study a gold standard for developing evidence of program outcomes.