Nonprofit organizations are like complex machines: they involve many moving parts that all rely on each other for the success of the whole. While each element is essential, one key element of a nonprofit’s success is its stakeholders and stakeholder engagement. Without effective stakeholder engagement, a nonprofit risks the loss of funding, support, and development. To ensure that your organization does not risk those losses, refer to these 5 tips to increase stakeholder engagement for your nonprofit.
#1 Communicate early and often.
Communicating with stakeholders is a basic component of the organization-stakeholder relationship. However, for communication to be effective, it must be early and consistent. Your stakeholders are an essential part of your organization, so make them feel that way by including them early on. When you communicate with your stakeholders early on, they feel important, which leads to more trust and engagement. Make a list of current and potential stakeholders that you need to communicate with at the beginning of projects or events and reach out to them as soon as possible.
In addition to reaching out early, your organization must provide consistent communication to its stakeholders. Continued communication is key in maintaining a trustworthy and supportive relationship. Regularly provide updates on projects and events and ask for feedback throughout the process to ensure that you maintain your relationships with your stakeholders.
#2 Understand the influence of social media.
Many stakeholders rely on social media for information regarding their favorite organizations and potential investments. So, the content your organization puts on social media is not just for your customers or volunteers. To engage stakeholders, create a balanced mix of content that is targeted toward stakeholders and other groups in your audience. Show your current and potential stakeholders that you notice their involvement on social media and that you care about their engagement with your organization. This will allow them to enter the conversation about your organization in a new way. It could also help your organization reach more stakeholders to invest in your work.
#3 Provide a variety of ways for stakeholders to give input.
As mentioned above, involving stakeholders in the conversation and asking for feedback can provide many benefits. People want to provide their input and feel heard, especially when they are investing in your organization. So, make the feedback process effortless for your stakeholders. When sending out updates to stakeholders about projects, attach a survey for them to provide feedback. In addition to this, ask for feedback via social media and in-person interactions. By providing your stakeholders with a variety of ways to share their input, you will strengthen stakeholder relationships, increase continued engagement, and help your organization further develop.
#4 Plan events to attract a diverse group of stakeholders.
Planning special events for stakeholders will do wonders for your stakeholder engagement. These exclusive events will show your stakeholders how much your organization values them. And, will provide opportunities for in-person communications and networking. Events can bring in funds, strengthen stakeholder relationships, promote your organization and mission, and much more. And, if your organization holds a variety of events throughout the year, you can reach more diverse groups of stakeholders. For example, a picnic would be an event that is accessible to all kinds of stakeholders. Other events like sit-down dinners and galas would bring in a different group of stakeholders, including local leaders and politicians. Planning a mix of events is essential for reaching a diverse group of stakeholders while encouraging engagement.
#5 Don’t just inform your stakeholders, involve them.
A common theme among these tips is that stakeholders should be involved, not just informed. If your stakeholders feel left out of your organization and its efforts, they will lose interest and stop engaging. Your organization can protect against major problems, like an abrupt loss of financial support, by involving stakeholders in your planning and projects instead of only informing.
When involving stakeholders, work with your organization to find a happy medium of involvement. An appropriate amount of stakeholder involvement will allow for stakeholders to collaborate when desired, but will not rely on their collaboration to complete a project or achieve a goal. Allowing stakeholders the opportunity to create and collaborate with your organization will increase their engagement, strengthen your stakeholder-organization relationships, and benefit your organization in the long run.
Stakeholder engagement is one of the many important elements that go into running a nonprofit. Refer to these tips for stakeholder engagement, and do not hesitate to reach out for help if all the elements become overwhelming. PivotPath is here to support your organization with our top-notch marketing services and team of talented creatives. Let us take on some of the other work while you put more into what matters: creating lasting relationships with those that support the continuation of your organization and its mission.