Getting Buy-In for Your Nonprofit’s Constituent Centered Strategy

Getting buy-in for a constituent centered strategy

Putting the constituent at the center of your organization may be a goal for your nonprofit in 2014, as you understand that building a deeper relationship with your supporters is key, but where do you start? We’ve covered how to define goals and develop a plan, but just as important as those steps are getting buy-in from your board and executives. Without the support internally, it will be incredibly difficult to move forward externally with your constituents.

Get Buy-In

This can be challenging, especially when you are trying to change how you communicate. Without getting people on board, it doesn’t matter what your goals are, how much you’ve planned or what tools you are using, success is unlikely.

When discussing your plan with leadership, your goals need to be realistic. It is easy to think above and beyond the small steps with all of the fun, new, technology and social sites available to us, but starting small may be the best way to convince your executives and board members that your organization should adopt this strategy. Once everyone is on board with moving forward on this project, communication becomes key. You’ll want to solicit feedback and opinions from stakeholders and users alike, while ensuring their feedback is in line with the vision and scope of the project. Along the way, both your successes and failures should be communicated to everyone involved so that your organization can move forward and reach your goals.

Match Tech & Resources to Goals

After deciding what your goals are for 2014 and creating meaning relationships with your constituents, you need to select the channels, tactics and strategy on where you can have the biggest impact. Many organizations rush to build internal communication channels where they can build these relationships with their constituents but forcing this type of engagement and participation can be hard to do. We understand that there is pressure to join the latest and greatest social media sites or to establish your own channels, but you need to analyze data and determine where your supporters are already hanging out. Your best bet may be to meet your donors where they are already hanging out and talking about your organization.

Be sure that your time and resources are invested in the right channels by using data you have available. Once you’ve committed to which channels you will be using for engagement, you’ll need to be sure your constituents know where to find you and you also need to keep up your side of the conversation. This may involve adopting new solutions to help you achieve your goals. When considering new technology you’ll want to be sure you are adding it for the right reasons and not just because it is new and shiny. Tech should integrate with your constituent relationship management (CRM) system to ensure that the relationship is being built with the organization and not just a person.

To keep building great relationships with your constituents, follow this cycle:

  • Plan
  • Execute/Test
  • Evaluate
  • Revise (stay flexible!)
  • Repeat!

Remember: You’re never done when it comes to relationships. Developing them, nurturing them and deepening them takes time and understanding.

For full details on planning a constituent centered relationship, and what technology you may need to consider, we recommend watching this webinar with Heller Consulting and 2DIALOG on creating meaningful relationships with your constituents. You can also view all of the slides on Slideshare.

How have you developed great relationships with your constituents? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments!


The Connected Cause is a place for experts in the nonprofit online space to share perspective, offer guidance and promote best practices for using today’s technology effectively. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive source of collaborative thought leadership for the nonprofit industry.


  1. I’d also like to second the importance of a strong communication plan in getting buy-in from your team. Ensuring all stakeholders are communicated with regularly and via a variety of communication channels can be the defining factor in the success of a CRM implementation.

  2. I agree with Molly – can’t stress enough the importance of this topic, as I can break not only the stride of the implemtation, but also the overall adoption rates to keep the organization focused on the benefites fo the solution!

  3. Buy-in from Executives is an excellent part of any CRM implementation plan. What’s even better is getting them to use, and demonstrate their use of the system. If staff witness the leaders of the organization getting on board and learning the system, they’ll be much more likely to dive in themselves!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *