Assessing Sustainability: Part 2 – Constituents

In Sustainability by Karen Buck

This post is part of a 4-part series on our Sustainability Self-Assessment tool. Read part 1 here, part 3 hereand part 4 here

The Sustainability Self-Assessment uses questions developed by Conservation Impact and Nonprofit Impact and used in hundreds of planning and organizational development projects over the past 16 years. It is organized by the components of the Integrated Strategy

Constituents Defined

Constituents are those people who are necessary to the success of your organization or agency. They are the people you serve or who you need in order to meet your strategic goals. They are an integral component, without which the organization would have little meaning. Your core constituents are those who care (or potentially) care enough about the organization or agency to take significant, meaningful action on its behalf.

Constituent-Related Characteristics of Sustainability

An organization or agency that is strong, potent, and sustainable:

  • Understands who core constituents are and understands their needs and why they care about the results provided by the organization or agency
  • Possesses a deep understanding of constituents’ values, attitudes, lifestyles, and beliefs
  • Regularly connects with their constituents
  • Uses specific strategies to reach and engage constituents and build long-term relationships
  • Has clearly defined strategic partners they work with to meet shared goals and uses a partner relations approach to nurture those relationships

Assessment Questions – Constituents

  • Describe your community relative to your organization
  • Who are your core constituents and why?
  • Describe your core constituent’s values, attitudes, lifestyles, and behaviors
  • How do you reach and engage core constituents to build long-term relationships?
  • What do you do for your constituents on a regular, ongoing basis?
  • What are your two or three key strategic partnerships? What do you bring to the partnership and what do you expect in return?


Enlist a team of organization or agency leaders to answer the assessment questions individually and compile the answers. Compare the answers to the list of characteristics below and discuss:

  • What do our answers tell us about our relationship with our constituents?
  • What are our strengths regarding our constituents?
  • What are our biggest gaps/ weaknesses?
  • What are the one or two actions we will take to better engage our constituents, who is responsible for those actions, and what is the deadline?

Go here to read Assessing Sustainability: Part 1 – Identity
Go here to read Assessing Sustainability: Part 3 – Capacity
Go here to read Assessing Sustainability: Part 4 – Impact