Questions about beneficiary involvement

1. Why are you involving beneficiaries? Be clear about your reasons for involving your beneficiaries. What exactly it is that they bring to your organisation and why are they important to you? 2. Who are your beneficiaries? Who are you going to involve? Here you need to consider who your beneficiaries are and amongst this group who would it be most useful for you to involve. This will depend to some extent on the reason you are involving them. For example, the beneficiaries you might consider getting involved for a satisfaction survey might be any of those who have had some contact with your organisation in say the last 12 months. Those you might consider for sitting on your board might be those who you know will have the time to commit to such involvement. Consider the circumstances, knowledge, experience and interests of beneficiaries when thinking about who to involve. 3. How do you involve beneficiaries? As well as considering the why and who, you will then need to consider how you will involve them. For example, will you do an on-line questionnaire, or interviews or focus groups to get feedback on services? Is this appropriate bearing in mind why you are involving them and who you are involving? Events involving drama, sport, music can often be an excellent way of involving people and encouraging their feedback.  4. When should you involve beneficiaries?  It is of course important to consider your beneficiaries’ routines, commitments and schedule involvement activities accordingly.  So if many of your beneficiaries are mothers with young children you will need to schedule activities at a time which will be convenient. Check that activities to encourage involvement are arranged at times convenient to beneficiaries rather than times that fit with staff, volunteers or your opening hours.  5. What difference will involving beneficiaries make?  What is the purpose of the involvement and what are you going to do as a result of the involvement? What difference will it make? If you invite beneficiaries to get involved, give them real opportunities to influence change.

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