Different Angles 6: Doing Stakeholder Work with Boards

Issue 6: July, 2013

In This Issue

  • Identifying and Connecting with Stakeholders—an overview and exercise for boards
  • Featured Training: Moving from Complaints to Collaboration
  • Free Organizational Boulders Assessment

Know somebody who would benefit from reading this eNewsletter? Please forward it to them using the link at the bottom. Thanks!

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Happy summer!

It’s nearly August, and a strange time to send out a newsletter since it is so very difficult to want to stare at a computer screen when the weather in Portland is so amazing.  However, August can also be a great time to reflect on development you want to support in your organization once fall rolls back around and ushers the rains back in.

With that in mind, this issue will be short and sweet, and designed for your board.  If the issue seems timely for your organization, this will give you a chance to think about how it might fit into your board work in the fall or winter.

I was asked in June to work with the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship (formerly FSR) to create a “Tips from the Experts” article and a 10 minute board exercise on helping boards identify and connect with stakeholders – that is, people and organizations who care about what you do (or would if they knew about you), and could help your organization in some way.  I am reprinting that article here, along with a link to the board exercise and some supporting materials from my website.

I hope you’ll take this opportunity to explore the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship’s website, including the other 10 minute board exercises.  CNS has been teaching truly excellent workshops for nonprofit board members for many years, and their newly expanded—and expanding—website offers many great resources.

Identifying and Connecting with Stakeholders—an overview and exercise for boards

(This article is expanded from the version in the July newsletter of the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship.  My thanks to Angela Norman and Kathy DeYoung for asking me to write it, and to working with me to hone it.)

Who are your stakeholders?

Stakeholders are people or organizations that have a vested interest in your organization’s success, and can help it succeed or fail.  Categories may include: clients, customers, staff, partners, board members, volunteers, organizational funders, individual donors, subcontractors, rule making bodies, political allies, other agencies/organizations/businesses that serve your clients/customers, local neighborhood/community groups, other members of your “industry,” and others.

Why do you need to identify your stakeholders?

Identifying stakeholders will expand your thinking about, and your capacity to build, various partnerships that will help further your mission.  It will also help lay the groundwork for multiple tasks that your board and staff might be charged with in the coming year, like:

  • Finding new people to serve on your board and committees
  • Developing meaningful communications, such as elevator speeches, grant proposals, appeal letters, marketing campaigns, etc.
  • Identifying people to contact to conduct SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) interviews with, or just think creatively with, as part of strategic planning
  • Revising your mission statement

Once you have identified your stakeholders, ask these three questions:

  • What are the values, goals and needs of these stakeholders?
  • What might they want or need from your organization
  • What might they be able to bring to your organization?

Use this 10 minute board exercise to jumpstart the process.

Join the Conversation

How have you connected with your stakeholders?

What do those connections bring your organization?

You can share your experiences, and join the conversation by clicking on “leave a reply” below.

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Pass it on!

If you know people you think might find this article useful, please feel free to forward this newsletter to them using the link at the bottom. Thanks!

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Featured Training: Moving from Complaints to Collaboration

Do you dread going to certain meetings, or interacting with particular people because you know you’ll hear one complaint after another? Does dealing with complaints bog down your work? Do you find yourself complaining a lot and feeling like people never listen to your concerns?

We are always happiest when we are operating in an environment (internal or external) that feels collaborative.  Complaints – whether our own or other people’s – feel like burdens and shut us down; they move us away from curiosity, creativity, and openness to collaboration. In this highly interactive workshop you will learn simple, effective ways to shift individuals and groups from a dynamic of complaint to a dynamic of cooperation.

Could your organization or conference use a workshop that provides concrete tools for moving from complaints to collaboration in the workplace?

I’m offering the two-hour version of this workshop for $250 inside the Portland Metro Region (outside the region I add travel expenses). It is an inspiring and practical introduction to the framework and three key tools, and will give participants what they need to start making changes. A 90-minute conference version, and longer versions that provide more tools and more opportunity for practice and application to existing organizational challenges, are also available.

You can lock in the price by getting the training scheduled by September 15th — it can happen anytime in 2013.

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Looking for in-house training designed to meet the specific needs of your staff or board?

I specialize in providing unorthodox, effective training that gives you powerful new tools to address the goals and challenges you are actually facing.

What People Say (from workshop evaluations):

“A very different way of viewing and dealing with difficulties. It was rewarding and had very good results.”

“(provided)…new paths toward solutions — clearing away the clutter”

“Gives you tangible tools to use on your own.”

“Exceeded my expectations”

You’ll find more about my approach to training on the website. Please contact me to talk about your needs and what I can offer.

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Do you feel like you are pushing boulders uphill as you try to get your work done?  Get a New Perspectives Organizational Boulders Assessment

I offer a free, 90 minute organizational assessment in which you’ll get:

  • New perspectives and insights into what’s causing many of the challenges to effective teamwork and leadership development in your organization (where you are pushing boulders uphill when you don’t have to be);
  • New tools you can use immediately to address some of the core causes of your organization’s internal challenges;
  • A renewed sense of what is possible, and renewed energy for making needed shifts happen; and
  • A list of next steps for making your organization’s internal work easier and more effective.

If you are interested in setting up a Boulders Assessment, please contact me.

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© Tasha Harmon, July 2013. All rights reserved.

You are invited to share this eNewsletter with friends and colleagues as long as it stays in tact, with all acknowledgements and contact information in place. If you’d like to reprint an article from my eNewsletter, written permission is required. Please do contact me about this if you are interested. Thank you.

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