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Understanding what your stakeholders need and how to deal with their needs is fundamental to strategy development.
Stakeholder analysis will enable you to explore the different voices that need to be considered when thinking about your strategic direction and plans.
Definition of stakeholder analysis
Stakeholder analysis is:
- the identification of your organisation’s key stakeholders
- an assessment of their interests, needs and expectations
- an assessment of the ways in which these interests impact on your organisation
- a prioritisation of key stakeholders and a strategy to govern the relationship.
The information from this analysis can be fed into your strategy, starting with their expectations of you in terms of your mission, vision and values, moving through to their expectations of you as a service deliverer or campaigner. A two-way continuous dialogue with priority stakeholders is key to achieving your preferred future.
What is a stakeholder?
A stakeholder is a person, group or organisation that has an interest in your organisation. Stakeholders have needs and expectations and can be internal or external to your organisation. Charities and other non profits have diverse stakeholder groups, often with conflicting needs and expectations, so prioritising and focusing on the voices that must be heard is vital.
They can be further divided into direct and intermediary stakeholders:
- Direct stakeholders are directly connected to your organisation. For example, funders, Charity Commission and, of course, your beneficiaries.
- Intermediary stakeholders are those who represent others; they may still have an interest in you but it will be different than a direct stakeholder. For example, MPs, who might represent the needs of a wider community; parents of children, where children are the direct stakeholder.
The stakeholder analysis tool
1. List all of your stakeholders.
2. Then, consider them in terms of their interest in you and their influence or power over you.
3. Plot them out on the Power/interest matrix (see below)
4. Then complete the stakeholder expectations chart (see section below).
Download larger version of the power/interest matrix (JPG)
Description of the diagram
The matrix plots stakeholder power on the vertical axis and stakeholder interest on the horizontal axis. Each stakeholder will fall into one of the zones within the matrix, determining the appropriate course of action. These zones are ‘monitor’, ‘keep satisfied’, ‘keep informed’ or ‘encourage and influence’.
Stakeholder expectations chart
In the stakeholder expectations chart you provide more detail about the needs and expectations of the important stakeholders: those you really need to get to know better.
Description of the diagram
The diagram shows engagement on the y axis plotted against the their degree of action, desire, interest and attention.
- Are stakeholders in the right places?
- What do you need to do to move them?
- Do you have too many to cope with in any box (particularly top right)?
- What should your stakeholder management activities be for the next plan period?
Integrating the analysis into the plan
Once you’ve isolated your main stakeholders, the ones you need to understand and invest time in developing a relationship with, use this table to expand your thinking and develop a stakeholder management strategy.
Consider their needs and expectations in relation to your mission and strategic direction. To what extent can you meet their needs and expectations within your Objects? What will your strategies be?
Have your say
Have you learnt about best practice in strategy through your own experience? Could you pass on your knowledge to help others facing similar challenges?
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