When organisations think about stakeholder engagement, sometimes the focus is all about the local level. This is definitely important because community engagement is key to project success. But another level of engagement to consider is how you are connecting with strategic stakeholders.
Strategic stakeholders make decisions that impact on your organisation or influence these decisions. These people might be elected representatives (local, state and federal); candidates running for election; government officials; decision-makers; officers of corporations; and staff and board members of industry or sector representative bodies.
Help your strategic stakeholders to help you
Ensure you have a process to follow when advocating for your organisation and your clients. This will help strategic stakeholders to understand what you do and the value you provide, increasing the likelihood they will make decisions that will positively impact your organisation.
Your advocacy strategy with these stakeholders should have three key pillars – knowing your audience; having a clear and persuasive message; and communicating that message in an engaging way.
A thoughtful plan will make you feel more in control and be strategic with who and why you engage, maximising the value of your efforts. Tactics might include:
- Highlighting the impact of the investment their government (or organisation) has made on your organisation and clients;
- Articulating the impact of policies or programs on your clients (either positive or negative);
- Sharing regularly about your organisation’s activities and impact – email news, phone call updates, invitations to attend events or tour the organisation, and sharing annual reports and other publications.
Your aim is to increase their understanding of your value and your reputation as an organisation that gets results. This can’t be achieved in a one-off interaction, it’s about building a long term relationship.
If you haven’t considered this before (or it’s time to refresh an old plan), start by having a brainstorm of who you could be connecting with more effectively and why they would be interested in your organisation.
Need some assistance? Get in touch.