Mission: The mission of the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) is to provide experiential pathways to lifelong learning in science for children and adults. Originally ope ... (More)

Museum of Discovery and Science is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1979, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information


 401 Southwest Second Street
Fort Lauderdale FL 33312 


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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.


This charity's score is 91.60, earning it a 4-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2019, the latest year published by the IRS.

View this organization’s historical ratings.

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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).

This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).

Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.

Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

2.62 years

Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.

Source: IRS Form 990


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.

Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.

Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.



Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.

Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information


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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are up to five of this organization's highest compensated employees. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses, and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting











Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Museum, zoo, planetarium, etc. (BMF activity code: 060)

Historical site, records or reenactment (BMF activity code: 062)

Community center (BMF activity code: 296)

Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.

Museum of Discovery and Science reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Balance Sheet

How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

The Museum (MODS) closed on March 13, 2020 due to County executive orders. We reopened for a short time in June and July but closed again as the public was not ready to return. We reopened on weekends in December and fully reopened in January 2021. We have now returned to 7 days per week operations and are currently at 88% of pre-COVID attendance. Earned revenue from admissions and IMAX was significantly impacted. Philanthropy remained on budget due to long-standing donors. Operationally we received two PPP loans and a Shuttered Venue Operator Grant from the Small Business Administration, Employee Retention Credits and small CARES grants from our state and county to cover expenses. 60% of staff were furloughed or terminated; to date, we are at 92% of pre-COVID staffing. Through a cost control plan developed by Museum leadership and Trustees we reduced our budget from $8.5 to $5.4 million, coming out of the worst of COVID strong financially and operationally.

How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

MODS immediately created and distributed a robust array of virtual programming. We filmed 210 educational videos and distributed them free across MODS’ social media platforms, with 1.5+ million views to date. We responded to Broward Public Schools’ need for distance learning by developing an 8-week MODS Challenge for grades PreK-12 and Wise Bodies, a 12-part video curriculum for high school students and teachers. We developed a virtual program for isolated seniors in partnership with the Area Agency on Aging. We implemented MODS PODS, a free on-site e-learning program including meals for youth in grades K-5 for families receiving SNAP benefits. We deployed the STEMobile, our new museum on wheels, delivering programs to 30,000+ in the first 10 months, 86% free for at-risk youth. And we pivoted on-site events to free, virtual presentations, including Pride Day, Asian Pacific-American Heritage Celebration, Distinguished Speaker Series and Eye of the Storm hurricane preparedness.

How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

We model what we teach: creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, adaptability and leadership. MODS quickly adapted from relying on a physical space to executing a spectacular offering of virtual programs and events viewed 1.5+ million times. Admission is limited to ensure social distancing and advance online ticket purchases are encouraged. Guests ages 2+, including those vaccinated, are required to wear a mask per CDC guidelines. We implemented enhanced cleaning protocols during operating hours including electrostatic spraying; well-loved exhibit items are replaced regularly. IMAX seating was limited at first to 25% and has now returned to full capacity. Food service in our café is limited to pre-packaged snacks and sandwiches. To help our community we provided free admission to first responders and active military and their families and developed a virtual program for isolated seniors. We continue to monitor federal, state and county orders to respond to changing conditions.

Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

The expansive reach of virtual programming will continue to augment the Museum’s on-site programs, exhibits and events. Eye of the Storm, our hurricane preparedness event in partnership with the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University, garnered 96+ million views and impacted states beyond Florida. Plans for virtual Wise Bodies includes training staff at other Florida museums to implement the series in their communities. The STEMobile, our museum makerspace on wheels, was created during the height of COVID. Our goal of 40,000 served annually will be surpassed in Year 1, with donor support ensuring that 90% of programs are delivered free to at-risk schools and non-profit youth agencies. In response to the closing of Broward’s only dedicated children’s museum, MODS has initiated a capital campaign to construct a new 6,000 sq. ft. early childhood gallery, ensuring that children impacted by COVID can continue to engage in lifelong learning at MODS.

Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
12/1/20202019 91.60
8/1/20192018 92.47
8/1/20182017 96.64
12/1/20172016 85.58
11/1/20162015 84.73
6/1/20162014 86.02
Rating Version: 2.0
10/1/20152014 84.34
12/22/20142013 84.87
9/1/20132012 84.65
6/1/20122011 79.38
9/20/20112010 88.20
Rating Version: 1.0
11/24/20102009 91.89
10/1/20092008 92.44
6/1/20082007 92.67
6/1/20072006 88.12
9/1/20062005 84.12
6/1/20052004 78.25

...   Impact & Results

This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.

Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

Museum of Discovery and Science cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.

Do you work at Museum of Discovery and Science? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.

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Additional Information


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Largest Programs

Largest Programs

Museum of Discovery and Science reported its three largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses



Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses



Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses


...   Leadership & Adaptability

This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.

Leadership & Adaptability Score


out of 100

The score earned by Museum of Discovery and Science is a passing score.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.

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Leadership & Adaptability Report


of 100 points


The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission

The mission of the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) is Connecting People to Inspiring Science. MODS fulfills its mission by delivering programming through four major educational content pillars: Early Childhood Education, Environmental Sustainability, Health & Wellness and Physical Science. The Museum has been awarded the 4-STAR EXCEPTIONAL RATING on Charity Navigator, the highest rating obtainable, placing MODS in the category of charities which “exceed industry standards.” MODS is also recognized with the PLATINUM SEAL from GuideStar for transparency in reporting financial results. MODS has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums for over 30 years. Only 3% of science museums nationwide receive this mark of distinction for excellence.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses


The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.

The Museum’s vision is a society where people of all ages engage with science and discovery to strengthen our community. To achieve its mission and fulfill our vision, MODS embraces six enduring values: DISCOVERY through inquiry-based lifelong learning experiences; INCLUSIVITY in which equity and access are vital to success; COLLABORATION in pursuit of mission-based public and private partnerships; CREATIVITY where art and science combine through discovery and open-ended exploration that fosters imagination; EDUCATIONAL as an inspirational force for informal science in our community and; VISITOR FOCUSED fostering a warm, inviting and welcoming atmosphere with layers of learning for children and adults.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.

Goal One: Engage Our Community & Expand Our Impact • Refresh early childhood education • Boost resiliency to the impact of climate change • Optimize diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion (DEAI)

Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.

Goal Two: Ensure Financial Stability • Increase and diversify our sources of financial support, strengthening our institution and its economic impact on our community.

Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).

Goal Three: Drive Workforce Development • Impact future career paths through exposure to south Florida’s top industries. • Incorporate emerging technology and experiences to shape our community’s workforce.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development

Describe an investment in leadership

MODS continued to invest in leadership development during COVID. The Museum paid for 15 staff from all departments to attend sessions of the Association of Science-Technology Centers Virtual 2020 Annual Conference in October 2020. The conference was entitled “New Frontiers in Science, Technology, Learning and Community Engagement Toward a More Equitable Tomorrow.” Staff also attended the 2021 American Alliance of Museums Virtual Conference in June 2021 entitled “Resilient, Together.” Both conferences strengthened staff’s leadership skills by presenting relevant topics in the museum field. Other opportunities during the past 12-18 months included skill development through training on the Museum’s new Blackbaud cloud software and participation in paid online Creative Engineering courses led by Mark Rober, former NASA engineer and inventor at Apple.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.

This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Collaboration is an enduring value of MODS. The Museum works with dozens of organizations, universities and non-profits to develop educational initiatives and workforce opportunities including Broward County Public Schools, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, Children’s Services Council and Early Learning Coalition, to name a few. Our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan and Inclusivity Initiative were developed with thought and community leaders from across the region. Students with disabilities from Arc Broward prepare food for our Café. On a national level we partner with GlaxoSmithKline and the Franklin Institute to deliver science to at-risk youth. Our CEO sits on the national board of the Association of Children’s Museums setting and sharing policies for the museum field. We raise awareness of our mission through 400,000 annual visitors, 68,000 email subscribers, 44,800 followers on Facebook and Instagram and 428,400 unique users annually on our webpage.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.

COVID, of course, and its impact on Museum visitation and programming was the greatest external change and challenge in the last year. Major financial decisions were made immediately by the Museum’s Leadership team and Trustees. A cost control plan was developed, reducing our budget from $8.5 to $5.4 million, reducing staff by 60%, reaching out to long-standing donors who responded in force, applying for loans and grants from the Small Business Administration and CARES Act grants. Food, medicines and supplies for the Museum’s live animals were pre-purchased in case of failure in the shipping and supply chain. A massive cleaning effort was undertaken by staff including replacement of a/c filters, carpet cleaning and electrostatic spraying of exhibit areas and IMAX theater. Virtual programs were developed in partnership with an extensive list of donors including Broward Public Schools, Save Our Seas Foundation, International Hurricane Research Center, Community Foundation of Broward and AIDS Healthcare Foundation, including a virtual ribbon cutting for our new Sprouting STEM Early Childhood Learning Lab powered by PNC Grow Up Great. Virtual Professional Development Workshops attracted teachers from as far away as Hong Kong and Australia and virtual Educator Nights prepared teachers for their return to on-site field trips. Serving the needs of our community was at the forefront of our response in the last year. Accessibility initiatives were expanded including free admission for active military and first responders and their families, programs for the LGBTQ+ and autism community, a donor-funded e-learning program (with meals and aftercare) for at-risk children in grades K-5 whose families receive SNAP benefits and free or discounted admission for low-income families and social service agencies. Through solid leadership and decision-making MODS adapted to external changes and emerged strong by addressing the educational and cultural needs of its community.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

...   Culture & Community

This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.

Culture & Community Score


out of 100

The score earned by Museum of Discovery and Science is a passing score.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of an organization's Culture and Community by measuring its Constituent Feedback practices (see report below). Constituent Feedback data provides 100% of the basis for the initial evaluation of the Culture & Community Beacon.

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Culture & Community Report


of 100 points

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback

Full Credit

This organization reported that it is collecting feedback.

Here's how this organization is listening and learning from the people they serve:

How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Paper surveys, Community meetings or town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email

How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

With whom does your organization share the feedback you got from the people you serve?

The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners

What challenges does your organization face in collecting feedback from the people you serve?

We don't have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection

Briefly describe a recent change that your organization made in response to feedback from the people you serve.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) realized it had a lack of virtual educational STEM programming for its students. BCPS' Department of Applied Learning reached out to the Museum and we quickly developed the MODS Challenge, an 8-week curriculum for grades PreK-12 that involved STEM project-based challenges, reading materials, activity guides and in-home streaming of IMAX documentary films. The MODS Challenge was available through the Museum's website as well as through BCPS' Learning Never Closes portal.


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We've partnered with GuideStar by Candid to survey organizations about their feedback practices. Nonprofit organizations can fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile to receive a rating.

Charity Navigator awards full credit for this Beacon to every nonprofit that is eligible for an Encompass Rating that completes the survey, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. This data is not evaluated for quality at this time. Validation will be added in future iterations of this Beacon.

Analysis and Research

Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.

Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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