Forgotten constituents!

So much of our focus is on our donors, don’t forget those internal stakeholders! Special attention should be given to those whose support makes our work possible. You probably do have a plan for nurturing your Board each year. But do you have nurture plans for your staff, volunteers, and clients?

Why do you need to add this assignment to your already long list? What are the benefits?

  • Draw these valuable assets closer to you—friendmaking
  • Help them feel a part of your mission—ownership
  • Increase their abilities (and inclinations) to spread the word of what you’re doing and how great an organization you are.

How do you do this?

  • First identify these stakeholders. Ask them what they want from your organization. (Stop giving them what You want them to know; meet Their needs/wishes.) You’ll need to use separate efforts to survey each group, maybe with personal interviews, small group meetings. You’re not likely to get useful information by handing out a written survey.
  • Don’t patronize these valuable individuals. Although these groups aren’t usually at the top of our cultivation lists, perhaps they should be. They have already expressed a very tangible interest in your mission; they may be pretty knowledgeable about what you do; and they have reason to be involved in your ongoing success.
  • Now that you know what they want, find a way to provide it, put it on your annual calendar, and just do it!
  • Be more than a paycheck to your staff.
  • Get to know volunteers personally, developing their ability to spread the word for you.

Although we don’t often think of clients as potential donors, that may be a mistake. Low-income donors generally give a larger percent of their income than other donors. Give them the opportunity to participate in the work of your organization, not just the benefits. Let them share in the ownership. (Think of Habitat for Humanity Homes.) They may also be able to add connections related to your mission—professionals, related organizations, etc. These stakeholders are too valuable an asset to neglect!

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