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Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations: A Practical Guide for Dynamic Times, 3rd Edition by Michael Allison, Jude Kaye

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Appendix CExternal Stakeholders

Process Recommendations and Suggested Questions

When interviewing external stakeholders, first identify whether the reason to talk with them is primarily to assess your situation or to build relationships. If the reason is primarily information gathering, a consultant might be used to gather that information. If the reason is primarily to build a relationship, the interviewer should be a board or staff member.

Interviewing an External Stakeholder

  • Call the individual, introduce yourself, and explain that the organization is engaged in a strategic planning process and that the interviewee's input into this process would be invaluable. List the questions that you would like him or her to answer.
  • Remember, you want to limit the number of questions that you ask because most busy people have limited time. You need to estimate how much time it will take to complete the set of questions; be upfront about the amount of time you are expecting the interview to take. The amount of time needed should range from 20 to 30 minutes. Under rare circumstances, the time might extend to an hour or more.

    The estimated time frame depends on the type and number of questions to be asked and the time needed for the answers. The actual time frame might be more or less than your estimate, but be respectful of the interviewee's schedule—the interview usually shouldn't take more than 30 minutes, and you should use that time wisely. Ask the person for a convenient date and ...

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