Organizational Sustainability


The PLE participants did not fail to underscore the importance of the support of stakeholders in ensuring organizational sustainability. They said organizations must have “broad-based community involvement and support” or “involvement of all community stakeholders” and we should “try to engage the community in everything you do”. (We may understand “all community stakeholders” to include the community members themselves, other groups, organizations or people who have an interest in our organization, such as donors, government offices, other foundations—even the academe, media, and church). One participant was more specific: “We should have 5-10 core supporters.” Others said we should have “powerful connections” (probably referring to policy makers or thought leaders), and that “we should still be in touch with donors”. An organization is more likely to succeed when it is championed by supportive stakeholders, meaning people “who take responsibility based on a shared vision”.




How can we increase CF membership in the Council?


If I make contact with and find out the needs and passions of non-member CFs, I can show how Council services are value-added, cost-effective, and can help address their passion.


  1. Make contact with non-members at Regional Learning Forums and other existing meetings with CF participants.
  2. Make calls to a sample of non-member CFs to learn their needs and passions.


  1. Develop a list of non-members and staff and Board members.
  2. Match list to registrants at Regional Learning Forums and other existing meetings.
  3. Seek out non-members at events and have a conversation about needs and passions.
  4. Review non-member list and select a stratified sample (based on geography, size, age, CF model) to call
    1. Initial focus – areas without regional associations
    2. Estimate dues revenue and re-craft plan and amount of time accordingly
  5. Call sample group of CFs, find out about needs, passions, and whether or not they have accessed Council services/ products available to all CFs and if they’ve considered membership.
  6. Based on information and insights gained from in-person and telephone conversations, develop communication and outreach strategy to non-members.
  7. Work with Council colleagues in membership and communication/ marketing to develop targeted and engaging e-communication that will be sent as a personalized communication with each non-member. Possibly include a question that asks their perspective on an issue to prompt a response and start an e-communication.
  8. Follow up by phone with those who don’t respond. Engage volunteers as well as staff in phone calls (e.g. pair a CF member with a nearby non-member CF)
  9. Focus on those who are engaged in conversation (e-communication or telephone) to garner membership.


Number of new members
Amount of additional income
Documentation of any new services or communication strategies to help address passions of prospective members.

The Business Dictionary1 defines a stakeholder as a “person, group, or organization that has direct or indirect stake in an organization because it can affect or be affected by the organization’s actions, objectives, and policies. Key stakeholders in a business organization include creditors, customers, directors, employees, government (and its agencies), owners, (shareholders), suppliers, unions, and the community from which the business draws its resources”. It adds: “Although stake-holding is usually self-legitimizing (those who judge themselves to be stakeholders are de facto so), all stakeholders are not equal and different stakeholders are entitled to different considerations.”2

Among non-profits or voluntary organizations, stakeholders are persons or groups who are directly or indirectly affected by a program, project, or any action that has a wide-reaching effect, as well as those who may have interests in a project and/or the ability to influence its outcome, either positively or negatively. To the extent possible, involve them in formulating your VMG statement and crafting your programs and projects.

Stakeholders may be classified as primary (members, clients, partners, beneficiaries) or secondary (general public, government, other nonprofits).