Here’s a five minute exercise you can do with any number of stakeholders to get a better handle on your level of engagement. Ask your donors two questions. First, get them to tell you exactly what they want from you. Get them to list it in order of priority. And follow-up with a question about what they don’t want. Don’t dwell on the technical, such as how many emails they want to receive a year. Stick to the strategic issues, such as what kinds of communications they want to receive instead.
Second, ask them whether they know what your non-profit wants from them. Is being a stakeholder clear in their mind. Do they know what to do and how to do it?
Now, put the two sets of answers together and look at whether they fit. Are you telling the stakeholders what you want? Are you listening to what they need? Chances are there are gaps. You likely haven’t spelled out everything you need. And like most organizations you could stand to listen more. Map out this relationship and see what you can do to address some of the gaps.
You can use this informally on individual stakeholders, in large meetings or massive online surveys. Any way you use it will yield information you can use to improve engagement.