Why Stakeholder Engagement Matters

July 22, 2020
Jean Cecil Frick

By Jean Cecil Frick
NP Strategy


I’ve long been a fan of the insights of author Seth Godin. Last week, one of his blog posts spoke to me:

I used to ask, “If you stole Steven Spielberg’s address book, would it help you get a movie made?”

The point was that even if you had the phone numbers and names, calling them up and saying you’d stolen them wasn’t worth very much. The data has no value without trust and connection.

Now, twenty years later, all the address books have been stolen. Everyone has all the data. Identifying the right people (or spamming everyone) is easy and cheap.

Which makes the point even more urgent than ever: Without trust and connection, access to data is worthless.

Seth Godin

The stolen address book


What are you doing to build trust and connection with your key stakeholders?

As the coronavirus has kept us all apart, finding creative ways to engage your stakeholders is more important than ever. Just because you may not be seeing them in person, does not mean they don’t need to hear from you.

Here are a few steps to make sure you are staying connected:

Take the time to identify your most important stakeholders. Are they your employees, board members, community advocates or donors? Key groups of individuals can make or break your success. Managing your key stakeholders includes identifying not only who to engage, but how and when to engage them. If you find yourself with some free time, make the most of it by reviewing your contact lists – and why not include social media friends and followers – to spark ideas. I bet you’ll find more than a few lost contacts or connections that could be worth rekindling!

If you aren’t telling your story, someone else will. Whether positive or negative news, how you craft your story matters and people need to hear it directly from you, not someone else. Be factual, authentic and timely to earn the trust of your stakeholders – and the time of COVID-19 is no exception! Now is the perfect time to reconnect by checking up on old connections.

Finally, take a pulse of how you are doing. Seek input from others to see if your efforts are resonating. If they aren’t, you’ll need to retool your strategy. In lieu of in-person meetings, opt for video calls where you can. It’s always easier to ready someone’s body language and expressions than trying to decipher over the telephone.

NP Strategy helps clients both large and small identify their key stakeholders and craft the right message for delivery to each unique audience. Let us know if we can help you!


Jean Cecil Frick has built a career out of trusted relationships. She is a veteran of the private, public and non-profit sectors driven by helping individuals and organizations achieve their goals. Today, she serves as a senior strategic advisor at NP Strategy where she helps clients connect with the right people and get their message across to key audiences.