Connecting Your Organization to Deliver a Constituent-Driven Experience | npENGAGE

Connecting Your Organization to Deliver a Constituent-Driven Experience

By on Jun 25, 2019


Year after year, professionals in the sector keep coming back to that dreaded word, “silos.” We see countless articles about how barriers in communication diminish an organization’s impact – and just as crucially – how they inhibit constituent engagement. Outdated organizational models that segment departments into their own distinct areas and with their own distinct messaging leave constituents confused and even less connected than before they first engaged. As supporters are increasingly drawn to causes rather than specific organizations, we should listen to their interests and realign ourselves for success.

In the Blackbaud Institute’s newest publication, The Connected Office, we’re addressing these factors and taking a deep dive into how each departmental team can support a cohesive constituent experience. Organizations can adopt a 360-degree view of their office, with constituents as a core focus.

By considering who your constituents are to one department and to your organization as a whole, you can focus on engaging them with a cohesive, shared strategy while aligning your teams for success. Whether constituents are browsing your annual report, giving to your end of year campaign, or volunteering on site, departmental teams can sync up to create a 360-degree view of the office with supporters at the center.

If this has you reflecting on your experience, remember that there are tangible tips you can use to connect your organization. Though there are many, you might start with these top two:

  • Partner with other teams. From grants to programs, to IT, to your executive leaders and beyond, motivate staff to learn about the roles of their departments and the myriad ways they can partner with others. This requires organizations to embrace the fact that fundraising and marketing often work side by side but are not necessarily synonymous! This leads us to try new things, like inviting program teams (often our on-the-ground service providers) to contribute to a social media strategy, or even onboarding development staff onto a strategic planning committee. Welcome departmental intricacies into the fold and support a future where these distinct responsibilities are acknowledged across the organization. This will help ensure that areas for cross-departmental partnership are first 1) understood, 2) acted upon, and 3) embraced.
  • Focus on the supporters that make your work possible. By centering your work around constituents, you not only enable the type of supporter-driven frameworks required by today’s standards, but also structure yourself for success. When departmental teams can directly tie their responsibilities back to the constituent, you’re able to understand what mission delivery looks like from multiple points of view and align your teams’ strategies as needed. By staying in your department’s lanes, and strategically swerving into others’, you can better ensure that constituents hear a cohesive message each time they are engaged.

No matter your role or department, you play an important part in shaping your organization’s 360-degree constituent experience. To take an in-depth look at each department and access even more insights on connecting your office, check out the Blackbaud Institute’s full eBook.


Gabrielle Torres is an Editorial Production Coordinator at the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact. She came to Blackbaud after serving as an AmeriCorps member at a community farm and youth development nonprofit in Austin, Texas. With experience in research, data collaboration, and writing, Gabrielle is passionate about using technology and innovation as tools for social good. When she’s not plugged into her Spotify, you can catch her jogging Austin’s trails and admiring fresh produce at her neighborhood farmers market.

Comments (37)

  • Karen says:

    Gabrielle, thank you so much for sharing the new resource, The Connected Office, with us. I have downloaded the eBook and will be sharing it with our department heads.

  • KaLeigh says:

    I LOVE the 360 degree concept. This will be a great resource in future campaign changes. Thanks!

  • Sage says:

    Thank you for this – Partnerships are essential to avoid silos!

  • Nicole holt says:

    I LOVE this:
    “By staying in your department’s lanes, and strategically swerving into others’, you can better ensure that constituents hear a cohesive message each time they are engaged.”
    Such good fodder for discussion/planning.

  • Jeff says:

    Thank you for sharing. Being on the IT side, I totally agree with partnering together to make things stronger. We’ve found when we are part of the team, everything runs smoother and the endeavor is more successful.

  • Karen Stuhlfeier says:

    Great information! I’ll use this.

  • joe says:

    I also found it easier to achieve goals when every department in the institution have strong relationships with each other. I remember companies where every department were completely separate from each other. Oh man, everyone was avoiding each other and it was hard to see anything get done.

  • Mary Sommer says:

    A nice connection diagram.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this article, I shared it with my department.

  • Kristine Marvin says:

    Thank you for sharing with us. I have also downloaded the “Connected Office”. Working as a cohesive team is something our ED is striving for and this is a new way of looking at this dynamic.

  • Kelli Everett says:

    Thank you for sharing! Wonderful information!

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for the great info. I look forward to delving deeper into the concepts.

  • Amy Dana says:

    Thanks for this visual! It really helps to see the overlap when it’s drawn out like that.

  • ccooke says:

    Thanks so much for the insight and sharing of resources. I look forward to sharing with the rest of my department

  • Stephanie Crawley says:

    As Development Database and Donor Services Manager, my job in and of itself is already in 2 silos: IT and Development. We partner with Marketing to form the Advancement team. But where we do feel siloed is our relationship with the Programs people (teachers, as we are a school.) It’s not clear to me whether the teachers know what our department does or how it impacts them, their students or the parents of their students. That’s something I need to work on.

  • Donna Hren says:

    This is something we are working on now!

  • Sara Deur says:

    Thanks for the great information. I plan to share this with our team.

  • Rachel Lamb says:

    I can’t stand ebooks, but I’n super excited to look at this ebook.

  • Joanne DelCarpine says:

    We are one company. I have been trying to break down the walls of the silos since I started working here two years ago

  • Arturo Sayco says:

    Way to go! Love the diagram. Many thanks for sharing. We’re lucky to have Blackbaud community.

  • Laura Randall says:

    Being donor-focused is undoubtedly the best way to raise funds, and making that viewpoint an organization priority will be helpful. Great ideas to kick that off here.

  • Nate Reid says:

    It’s always important to keep in mind that cross-departmental partnerships are very important for keeping the whole organization on mission.

  • Heather says:

    I’m sharing with my team! Thank you for the great information.

  • Kimberley Cote says:

    This is such an important message for organizations to understand!! Thank you for sharing.

  • Kimberly Pierce says:

    Thank you for the article. I will share it at our next department meeting.

  • Alicia Barevich says:

    Cool diagram!

  • Elaine Montgomery says:

    Wow! The connected office article is so powerful. What an important read! Thank you for sharing.

  • Patti Hommes says:

    What a great concept. Thank you! I have downloaded the ebook and will definitely share with my team!

  • Claudia says:

    This is great information!

  • S.Watson says:


  • Vickey Dudley says:

    Thank you!

  • Chelsea Dryden says:

    Great info! Thanks!

  • Jenny Schmidt says:

    Everyone can benefit from not operating in silos! I have been working towards this since I started at my current place of employment. Love the diagram!

  • Shelly Gammieri says:

    Amazing. Some of these things are happening organically but not nearly enough. Sharing, not just with my department, but with anyone in our organization who will read it. Great article and wonderful resource! Love this.

  • Sarah says:

    This is a great resource, thank you for sharing!

  • Jo Strommen says:

    Interesting thoughts

  • Rosalinda Miguel says:

    Great article on this 360-degree view!

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