Creating a Plan for a Constituent Centered Strategy

Planning a Constituent Centered Strategy

When considering a constituent relationship management (CRM) system, you need to consider how your nonprofit will use it as both a tool and a strategy. This may require a shift in thinking about how your organization manages your constituents as you want to build a relationship with your constituents that is mutually beneficial. Putting your constituents at the center of your strategy will change how your organization thinks, plans, builds and implements campaigns as the main goal will always be to strengthen the overall relationship with your constituent.

Currently, many organizations have an isolated approach where a constituent is just a piece of every department’s puzzle, leading them to be in multiple systems which leads to miscommunication to the constituent and creates poor relationships, but when you put the constituent in the middle, they will have a better relationship experience with your organization.

How do you get to a constituent centered strategy?

Define Goals

When defining your goals for an upcoming campaign at your organization, you need to think all the way to the end the project. Think to the point where you will be reporting to the board at your annual meeting on how well your project performed. Visualize the questions that they will be asking you if your goal is to gain 10,000 new Facebook fans in Q4. Gaining fans like this is not usually a fully realized goal because there will be many follow up questions like:

    Do you and the stakeholders know why you need 10k new fans?
    How will you engage with these new fans?
    What will you provide these fans that will generate loyalty?
    What will you need them to do down the road?
    How will you communicate your needs with these new fans?

Defining these key performance indicators (KPI’s) will be key the project as you will be able to easily report back on the success or failure of your efforts for your relationship-centered goals. Thinking through to the questions the board may have after a given project will help you prepare and create attainable goals.

Develop a Plan

Nonprofit Organizations are great at making plans, but you also need to be sure you are properly articulating these steps to everyone involved in the project. When deciding goals and planning campaigns you should also be identifying obstacles that may pop up and determine how you will be addressing them. While you won’t be able to come up with every scenario, it is still a good idea to think the entire project through prior to starting. Let’s say you want to build more engagement and community via social media and your nonprofit’s blog. Some things you should be considering are the following:

  • What steps do you need to take internally to be successful? Think about the resources you’ll need to take on a project of this size. Do you have the people who have the time and knowledge to implement this campaign? What about the right tools and technology?
  • Identify your obstacles and how you can address them. Come up with a communications plan that determines how frequently will you engage with your constituents and on what channels. If you start sending emails just to send emails, take a step back and ask yourself “Does this email have relevant content? Will the constituent find this valuable?” If the answer is no, then don’t send it just because your organization had previously decided you would be sending 3 emails a month.
  • Think all the way to the end: What happens when you are successful? Now that you’ve been successful in gathering more fans and creating relationships with these constituents you need to be sure your organization is clearly articulating the value you bring to them. You need to be sure you have thanked them and show them that you are listening and addressing their needs, wants and concerns. You need to show your value in order to bring new people into your organization and know when and how to ask them for help, input, etc. This is also where the mutually beneficial part of the relationship comes into play. How will you be able to help your constituents?
  • Once you’ve gathered data, what will you do with it, how will it change your approach? When engaging with these new constituents, you’ll be collecting data about them, so prior to starting you’ll want to be clear what you are collecting and how you will be using it. Be sure that this data will fit into your current constituent record, or alter and update your records to fit the new data you will be collecting. As the project progresses your approach should be changing based on the feedback and information you’ve received from your constituents. Understand how your organization can leverage data to better build these relationships.

These are just a few tips creating a constituent centered strategy. Heller Consulting recently participated in a webinar with 2DIALOG on creating meaningful relationships with constituents and you can view all of the slides on Slideshare. Watch the webinar on video for more details on creating this constituent centered strategy.

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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