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Managing stakeholders for nonprofit web design and branding

October 18, 2022

Working on a fresh web design and branding strategy for your nonprofit organization can be an exciting time. There's just one "little thing" you have to contend with: managing stakeholder relationships. 

Having designed websites and branding strategies for dozens of nonprofits, we understand the importance of balancing multiple stakeholders' needs and expectations throughout the process. 

So, we thought it would be a good idea to compile all our knowledge into this guide to stakeholder management for nonprofit web design and branding projects.

If you'd like to simplify the process, secure buy-in from stakeholders, and ensure your web design and/or branding project runs smoothly, just keep reading!

Pitfalls to avoid when managing nonprofit stakeholders

Before we dive into our 3-step guide to stakeholder management for your nonprofit branding / web design project, we want to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes we see nonprofit teams make when it comes to engaging their board members. 

No plan or process

Your first and most crucial step is knowing who your stakeholders are, clarifying everyone's role, and determining the approval process. Without these items, it can quickly become a free for all. Branding and design projects are particularly emotional endeavors, with many people having different thoughts and feelings. To ensure organization buy-in, it's important to set up your internal approval process and identify who has what say and when.

Too many cooks in the kitchen

While ensuring all key stakeholders and board members feel seen and heard is essential, you don't want to get into a "too many cooks in the kitchen" situation. 

When you're cc'ing everybody for their opinions on the new logo, for example, this may result in too many conflicting points of view, making it impossible to settle on a design and delaying your project.

Leaving out certain stakeholders

Including too many stakeholders in reviewing your web design and/or branding project is one thing. But you can also run into trouble if you forget to include someone. 

Not only does this not bode well for your relationship with them, but it can also delay your project as you work to get them back up to speed. 

Poor stakeholder communication

If important information about your nonprofit's website design and branding project falls through the cracks or you don't communicate them effectively, you can quickly lose your stakeholder's trust. 

Poor communication can make stakeholders feel you don't respect their opinion or position at the nonprofit. It's better to ensure you always keep the right people informed and be proactive about communication rather than reactive.

How to manage stakeholders for nonprofit website design or branding feedback

To help you avoid these pitfalls with your upcoming nonprofit brand and/or web design project, we've broken down how you can manage stakeholder revisions and feedback into three easy steps. 

Step One: Select your initial reviewers

Rather than have the entire board review all aspects of your nonprofit web design project, we recommend choosing only 3-4 stakeholders for initial review. This usually includes your Executive Director, Marketing/Communications Director, HR Director, etc. 

Then, our design team presents the design concepts to your team for initial feedback. We will then alter the brand and/or web design concepts to get closer to your vision, including two rounds of revisions.

After your web design team completes these revisions and perfects the concept, your web design is ready to go to your selected stakeholders for their approval. Following their review, we will bill hourly for any additional revisions.

Step Two: Get board chair approval

At this stage, we recommend looping in the board chair or past board chairs to gauge the board's overall reaction. 

They'll know what's most important to the board and help iron out any last tweaks or edits to meet their expectations and satisfy their needs. 

It will also help create "brand/website cheerleaders" who will help "sell" the concepts to the rest of the board. Once you secure approval and buy-in from a few board members, the other members are more likely to follow suit!

Our web design team includes another revision in the final cost of your project at this crucial stage to satisfy your board members and ensure they feel heard.

Step 3: Conduct the big board reveal

After implementing your board member's feedback from step two, we'll reveal your nonprofit's new brand and/or website to the board.

At this stage, we are presenting the final, fully finished product. This presentation is more about reviewing the project goals, diving into our strategy behind your brand/website design, and revealing the new brand and/or website design.  

It's the last step to making your nonprofit stakeholders feel valued, helping them understand the reasoning behind each decision, and giving them confidence that it will "work."

Want to learn more about nonprofit web design? Check out “The 5 Top Donation Platforms For Nonprofits.

Some stakeholders management tips for your branding and/or web design project

We'll leave you with key tips to get you feeling even more confident about satisfying your board during the web design process. 

Tip #1 Show your new brand in action

Get your new branding printed on a few t-shirts, mugs, pens, or a couple of stress balls. It's a really fun way to reveal all of the hard work you've done. We can suggest a few retailers that do small batch runs for these items.

Tip #2 Make giving feedback easy

Not every board member may be able to make it to the web design presentation meetings to give feedback. Additionally, they may want to think about their views and come back to you with feedback later on. 

So make sure you provide them with plenty of options for giving feedback, whether it's a phone call, email, adding comments on a google doc, or an in-person meeting.

Tip #3 Record your feedback meetings

By recording any feedback meetings you have with board members or stakeholders, you'll have a written/audio account of everything people talked about, ensuring no critical feedback details slip through the net. 

Tip #4 Prepare the agenda beforehand

Your meetings with stakeholders and board members regarding your nonprofit web design/branding project must make the best use of everyone's time. 

One way to do so is by sending everyone a detailed agenda of what's expected of them and your goals for each meeting. 

Bonus tip: Select the right web designer for the job!

At Carrboro Creative, we help nonprofits attract more donors, volunteers, and funding by revamping tired websites and building brands that captivate people.

We can help you effectively manage your stakeholders and meet their needs with a beautifully crafted website that encapsulates who your nonprofit is and why people should take action. 

If you'd like to learn more about our web design, graphic design, and branding services for nonprofits, schedule a free consultation today!

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