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Engaging today’s nonprofit constituent

Understanding and engaging your constituents in the digital era requir​es new tools, approaches, priorities and staff capabilities.


With benefit focused corporations, limited foundation dollars and the rise of the social entrepreneur, never before have nonprofits faced such competition for the time and attention of their constituents.
Constituents differ by nonprofit, but may include service recipients, partners, volunteers, donors, suppliers and staff—anyone with whom the nonprofit interacts. In the era of the consumer, the expectations and behaviors of these people have shifted radically. Constituents are barraged with demands on their time and attention, which puts the power in their hands as they evaluate and choose between multiple options.


As nonprofits seek new ways to better understand their constituents and potential donors, Accenture gathered the CEOs of Points of Light, National Geographic Society and Wounded Warrior Project to talk about attracting new audiences, engaging members in new ways and operating in a constituent-centric world. The group distilled key lessons learned to three areas: having a data driven approach, embracing your inner storyteller and engaging audiences on different platforms.


Have a data-driven app​roach

Data helps nonprofits know where to focus and what’s working, and provide a quantitative foundation on which to set goals and measure progress. Moreover, data collection isn’t only for large organizations. Small nonprofits need to be datadriven as well: to understand why donors give or how well programs are working.

Embrace your inner storyteller​

To embrace your inner storyteller, your messaging platform should be flexible across all of your audiences. From donors and volunteers to program managers and impacted populations, it is critical to tailor your content and communications to each specific segment. And stories aren’t created in a vacuum: your audiences expect to co-create their experience with your brand—it’s a conversation, not a memo.

Engage audiences on different platforms

Meeting your constituents on their turf is the new reality. It’s about building a 360-degree understanding of your audience engagement. If you’re not pushing your message out through multiple channels, don’t expect folks to find you.


For nonprofit organizations focused on long-term growth and success, engaging your constituents is critical. This is a journey. By being data-driven, you understand who they are, where they engage, what they need and what resonates. This data helps you start authentic conversations and tell stories to connect with them. And these stories propagate​​ through new channels, helping you engage new audiences on multiple platforms—and empowering your constituents to take your mission out into the world.

"Whether it’s technology enabled or a customized set of offerings, if you want me as a stakeholder to take action on your behalf as a nonprofit, you’ll speak the language I understand"
CEO, Points of Light