NPS Blog

Habitat for Humanity: Nailing Net Promoter at a nonprofit

Net Promoter System podcastLeaders of major companies often assume they have nothing to learn from nonprofits. That’s just not true.

Corporate executives tend to underestimate the sophistication and complexity of successful nonprofits, and nonprofit leaders often overestimate the resources available in big companies. Each one discounts the experience of the other and its relevance to them.

My latest guests on the Net Promoter System Podcast prove my point. They are two leaders from one of the biggest nonprofits in the country, Habitat for Humanity. Ann Goggins Gregory, chief operating officer of the organization’s Greater San Francisco affiliate, and Mark Andrews, vice president of volunteer and institutional engagement at the international headquarters, have been active members of Bain’s Net Promoter Social Impact Forum. And they have spearheaded Habitat’s adoption of the Net Promoter System.

Ann Goggins Gregory of Habitat of Humanity San FranciscoHabitat for Humanity is best known for building houses for families in need (picture former President Jimmy Carter wielding a hammer on a job site), but it’s far larger than many realize. The company helped 1.6 million people around the world in its 2014 fiscal year through home construction, rehabilitation and repairs. Beyond building homes, the organization provided cleanup kits after devastating floods and landslides in Bosnia-Herzegovina, smokeless stoves that make cooking safer in Guatemala and shelter repair kits for typhoon victims in the Philippines.

What does it take to change lives in dozens of countries around the world? More than 2 million volunteers and annual revenue of $1.7 billion.

Mark Andrews of Habitat for Humanity InternationalUnlike big companies, Habitat manages a vastly complex ecosystem of constituents: volunteers, paid staff, aid beneficiaries, government organizations, donors and community members. Each group interacts with the organization in a different way and needs to be managed differently. The organization has been using the Net Promoter System to gauge the volunteer experience and is considering how it might deploy it elsewhere in the organization.

Like many organizations that are early on the Net Promoter journey, Ann and Mark have wrestled with technique and technology, with closing the loop and maintaining a focus on learning instead of evaluation. After years of using long surveys to gather feedback but getting very low response rates, Ann was thrilled to reap more responses and richer answers from her Net Promoter experience. Still, the effort has not been without its pain points.

You can listen to this candid discussion on the Net Promoter System Podcast. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or listen to this episode through the player below. Click here to browse more Net Promoter System podcasts.

Subscribe to the Net Promoter System podcast on iTunes

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