6 Ways to Engage Your Stakeholders: Let the Key Players Improve Your Program’s Success


BKey stakeholders have much to contribute to the decision-making process, and their involvement can dramatically improve the success of any funding program. We’ve identified six ways to engage stakeholders and benefit from their input.

First, there are three types of stakeholders:

  • Those most directly impacted by the problem you are trying to solve
  • Those who are attempting to solve the problem
  • Those who could be solving the problem with you, if they knew their role or realized that the problem exists

All three categories of stakeholders can be discussed at greater length. For now, let’s take a look at how they can help you in your grantmaking.

1. Understanding

In the early stages of your grantmaking and program development, you could engage stakeholders to help you understand the issues. Ask them questions: What are some of the challenges you face? Where are the greatest challenges — in a certain part of your city, in a certain type of population, among particular kinds of organizations? Key stakeholders can help you think through and understand the issues, and the nuances of those issues.

2. Weighing options

Once you have some ideas for direction, you can vet those ideas with key stakeholders to help you better consider the pros and cons of different approaches. For instance, suppose you want to address substance abuse, but you’re not sure whether to focus on treatment or prevention. Key stakeholders can reveal valuable information and real-world wisdom to help you make an informed choice. They can also provide a heads-up regarding potential pitfalls.

3. Prioritizing

Once you’ve developed five or six areas you could successfully focus on, key stakeholders can help you prioritize among them. What’s the most burning issue? Where could you have an early impact? What is some of the “low-hanging fruit” that could allow for immediate success? And what are some of the more challenging topics that you want to address down the road, once your efforts are underway? Feedback in this early stage is critical and can have a major impact on success rates.

Want to learn more about stakeholders — and 3 other ways to engage them? Click here to read the full article.


Kris Putnam-Walkerly is a philanthropy expert and consultant. If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2014.

Kris is a sought after philanthropy advisor, expert and award-winning author. She has helped over 90 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts.

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