How non-profit leaders can engage their stakeholders

Heather Black, CEO of Economic Change CIC featured on Clore Social Leadership’s Guest Blog this week, talking about how to engage stakeholders. Here’s what she said:

As the leader within a non-profit, it’s important to reflect and ask yourself the follManaging stakeholders, a blog on Leaders Now by Heather Black.owing questions:

  • Are you effectively communicating with your different stakeholders to harness their energy, enthusiasm and engagement?

  • Do you need to improve engagement with your stakeholders to help increase referrals, funds and resources?

  • Do you have a strategy in place to communicate regularly with your different audiences e.g. your beneficiaries, funders, donors, volunteers, trustees, partners, influencers?

On a daily basis, I help leaders develop stronger and more intuitive relationships with their community of stakeholders, through reviewing ways in which they can communicate, interact and involve them in the organisation’s success.

I achieve this by helping them segment their stakeholders, identify the messages they want to send or hear from each stakeholder group, and finally determine the best methods or tools to engage with them. Once this is decided, I work with the leader to embed the use of a good Client Relationship Management Systems (CRM) with integrated e-marketing tools to execute the strategy.

Below I have summarised five approaches that may be useful to your own organisation:-

  1. Customer support management – Introducing a formal way to track, categorise and analyse customer enquiries helps to identify if there are common issues, concerns or questions arising amongst your stakeholders. Introducing an online customer support form or call handling service with a clear case management process and/or a self-help Q&A forum can help improve and speed up standard communications. This also provides a way for customers’ queries to be heard, logged and monitored in a quality assured way, flagging areas to improve or develop for the organisation.

  2. Targeted e-communications – When I work with clients on a new CRM this is often is a catalyst for them to organise, update, cleanse and re-categorise their contacts into target audiences. This enables them to send out targeted and focused emails and newsletters to certain audiences via integrated e-marketing tools.

  3. Social media engagement – Engaging with stakeholders via social media is becoming increasingly important and as a result, my customers are now asking to track social media handles for both contacts and organisations within their CRM, and recording if they have completed the action to find and follow them.

  4. A community discussion forum – Introducing a community platform can enable different groups of stakeholders to share common interests, discuss ideas, thoughts and issues together. I have deployed community platforms for staff, volunteers, members, beneficiaries and learners to interact together.

  5. Ideas exchange – You could establish an online ideas voting platform, which lets stakeholders post ideas, vote on ideas and comment on them. This can support co-design and development of new solutions that are customer led.

If you are interested in streamlining your communication practices with stakeholders and implementing a good CRM using Salesforce with integrated tools for your organisation, contact Heather at for a free consultation.

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