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Tips for Conducting Stakeholder Interviews

Stakeholder interviews are an extremely useful process for your nonprofit and can be used in a variety of situations.

Whether you're rebranding your organization, adjusting marketing strategies, developing donor messaging or simply gathering data to ensure you're serving your supporters, we advise you carry out stakeholder interviews frequently.


As a general rule, it is good to do these once a year as a tool to gauge the effectiveness of your mission, outreach and short/long-term goals. The purpose of stakeholder interviews is to be an assessment (but a nice one) that just helps you stay on track, however, sometimes it can bring up more significant issues that need to be addresses such as brand revitalization.

Who to Interview During Stakeholder Interviews

It is good to cast a wide net and interview at least one person from each role that interacts with your organization.

Typical role types include board members, senior staff, junior staff, community partners, and a sampling directly from people you serve (customers, clients, etc...ie. if you serve youth, talk to 1 or 2 youth, if you serve veterans, talk to 1 or 2 of them, etc.)

Questions to Ask in a Stakeholder Interview

Below is a sample list of questions to ask during a stakeholder interview.

I would suggest setting this up as a spreadsheet with the questions along the vertical column and the type of stakeholder across the top. That way you can easily compare the answers to see where there are similarities and differences.

Also, not all questions will be directly applicable to each person you interview, so make sure to add, subtract and adjust the language of the questions as needed.

Introductory Stakeholder Interview Questions

  1. What is your role with or within this organization?
  2. How did you become interested in this organization?
  3. How long have you been involved?

Consituent and Donor Stakeholder Interview Questions

  1. Who are the primary constituents/customers/donors of your organization today? (target audience demographics)
  2. What do you think each audience cares about most?
  3. How do you want them to be the same or different in 1, 3, 5 years?
  4. What do you want each of these groups to think/feel about your organization? (list 3-4 qualities).

Branding and Marketing Stakeholder Interview Questions

  1. Using a few key words, how do you want people to see your brand?
  2. Do you think your current branding is successful in illustrating your mission both in writing and visually?
  3. What is unique about your organization?
  4. What factors do you or do you think constituents/donors consider when deciding between involvement/giving with this vs. other organizations?

Using Surveys to Take Your Interviews Further

First, find the most important questions from the interviews you've already performed, and build an online survey.  

You can build a richer target audience personas using surveys.

Second, use data to continue to dig into your target audience personas.

Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights are a wealth of data in developing donor and volunteer personas.

Finally, use the information you've gathered to build a marketing strategy around your target audiences.

To do this, review or build a nonprofit logic model. This process will help you prioritize your work, and clarify the goals of your marketing campaigns.

Valerie Neumark Mickela - Co-Founder, CEO & Brand Strategist

Valerie Neumark

Rootid Co-founder and Managing Partner, Valerie is a brand strategist and art director with almost 20 years experience in the corporate, education and nonprofit sectors.

Valerie's diverse professional background spans a wide range of experiences including teaching Kindergarten through Post-secondary art, science and web design; education administration as a Founding Principal of a 6th-12th grade private school and Associate Director of Career Services at Art Center College of Design; design and art direction in the automotive industry; founding board member for two growing nonprofits, and now communications strategy consultant for both local, statewide and national nonprofits/social good companies.

Valerie has her Bachelor's Degree in Visual Arts & Media from University of California San Diego and a Master's Degree in Education from Pepperdine University. She was also a 2016 recipient of Pepperdine University's inaugural 40 under 40 Award. In her free time she plays soccer, loves to hike, watch baseball and read Pookie books to her daughter.