The vigilant fundraiser: identifying key stakeholders

publication date: Nov 20, 2013

The following is an excerpt from The Vigilant Fundraiser, available from Civil Sector Press.

At first glance, Step 7 of The Vigilant Fundraiser may seem very straight forward; identify your stakeholders and target audiences.  However, what we find at the heart of identifying your stakeholders is… a database.  Now, no one wants to talk data. As Liz Rejman author of Step 7 says, “database management is like the foundation for a house – structurally essential, but not particularly glamorous.” 

But consider how important accurate lists are for the vigilant fundraiser.  How many of these groups do you communicate with?

  • Volunteers and Staff
  • Donors
  • Service Clubs
  • Foundations
  • Corporate
  • Media
  • Politicians (federal, provincial, municipal)

What kind of resource are you currently using?  Can it be improved upon? Remember that an Excel spreadsheet is not a database! At a minimum, centralizing your sources of information is a place to start so that fundraising opportunities are not thwarted due to mishandled information resulting in poor stewardship.

As you contemplate the merits of your database, consider these challenges:

Name your “wish list” If you could convince 130 people to embrace your message today who would they be? Why? What can they do for you? What do they think about your issue now? What are the key things they need to believe to help you? How can you better focus on influencing this target audience?

Draw your target circle Before beginning any outreach efforts you need to accurately draw some target circles of influence around your audience. Who is in the centre? What is the message they need to understand? What is the action they need to take? Each ring around the circle symbolizes an audience that can help you reach the target audience.

Having a functional database allows a vigilant fundraiser to focus messaging, resources and strategy where it counts.

Liz Rejman has spent her career focusing on database management and prospect research for both large and small fundraising shops. You can read her full chapter on identifying key stakeholders in The Vigilant Fundraiser. Buy it here.

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