Step 3: Assess the World Outside Your Door

1. List your organization's key populations (also known as markets, constituents, audiences, or stakeholders). These are the groups who control your organization's future. They probably include your current and potential donors, volunteers, funders, clients, vendors, and government officials. Don't forget, these people are your bread and butter. They are the foundation on which to build your future as well as your security insurance in a crisis.

2. Survey your key populations, using phone or written questionnaires or focus groups. Ask your key populations the following questions about your organization. (If one of your programs is especially well known, ask them the same questions about that program):

  • Using 25 words or less, define your image of the organization.
  • How is the organization positioned in relation to others offering similar services?
  • Why is the organization a community asset?
  • Which programs and services would you like to see the organization expand? Which should it eliminate or cut back?
  • What new programs or services would you like to see the organization pursue?
  • What are the problems with the organization?

  

WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED:

You now know what your key stakeholders think of your organization and why they consider it worthy of support.  This is valuable information to pass on to potential donors.  You also know what changes to make to meet your constituents' needs.