How to Build Meaningful Constituent Relationships

How to Create Meaningful Constituent Relationships

We are constantly building relationships with people in our lives. We build them with those that we interact with on a daily basis, those that we only see every few weeks and even those that support our organization’s missions. While relationships are important in many aspects of our lives, they are especially key in nonprofit organizations.

Last week we held a two day webinar featuring Jenn Smith, the VP of Digital Agency at Heller Consulting, and Chris Goodman, the SVP Strategic Planning and Marketing at 2DIALOG, to discuss creating and maintaining constituent relationships and the technology to use it. They gave some great advice and tips you can start implementing today on how to build meaningful constituent relationships.

Building relationships

Here are some easy ways Jenn has outlined for you to get started building relationships with your constituents today.

  • Make a Great First Impression – This is particularly important for those organizations that are newer or are looking to expand their existing constituents to include new donors.
  • Be a Good Listener – This can be difficult some times for organizations as you’ll have to select when, where and how you are going to listen to your constituents. This includes in person as well as online and in social media. People want to be heard when they are talking, but more importantly, they want to know that you were listening as they were speaking about you.
  • Keep in Touch – Many organizations are worried they keep in touch too much, but constituents enjoy receiving a report on how things are going, or the results of the last campaign and where you are headed. Make sure you are keeping everyone in the loop about the status of the organization.
  • Telling the Truth – While this tends to be easy as most people do tell the truth, keep this in context of how you communicate with your donors and constituents. Give a little bit of transparency in your communications by telling them exactly how they can help you, what you need and also be sure to let them know how you can serve them.
  • Exchange Great Stories – Storytelling seems to be a reoccurring theme this year, but when you have a story to tell, it helps you develop a new connection or deepen that relationship. This is a two way street and goes back to listening. While you need to share your story, you also need to encourage your constituents to share their stories with you.
  • Ask for Help, & Return the Favor – Nonprofits are generally pretty quick to ask for help as we often need more donations, more activism etc. from our constitients, but keep in mind how you can return the favor. Don’t just ask, ask, ask, make this a two way relationship and listen to your donors when they ask you for help.

For more details on how to create and maintain relationships with your constituents, see Jenn’s slides:


To learn more about the technology recommended as well as additional tips to creating these relationships with your constituents, you can watch the recorded webinar on Vimeo.

How do you build and maintain meaningful relationships with your organization’s constituents? We’d love for you to share your tips!

Monika McMahon

About Monika McMahon

Monika joined Heller Consulting after spending 8 years in the Boulder technology startup scene. She is an expert in Social and Digital marketing, adopting and implementing new (and old) platforms for organizations ranging from ecommerce, SaaS, and nonprofits. Monika not only understands how these platforms work but how to use them to meet business objectives. When she is not educating and sharing her online talents, she can be found enjoying the music scene in Denver.

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