Stakeholder Analysis: Orderly Processes For Messy Topics

"Stephanie was well prepared, strategic, and easy to work with. Her Stakeholder Analysis training for state employees blended the perfect amount of theory, practice, and depth for our civic engagement practitioners. The training received high praise and kept participants asking for more." -- Nick Kor, Civic Engagement Director, Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Collaboration is at the heart of work for everyone today. It's a big switch from even 10 years ago, when external partnerships were relegated to a select few staff, and change was far from inevitable.

And doing collaboration well starts with rock-solid stakeholder analysis. SDK Communications recently provided Stakeholder Analysis training for Minnesota state employees through the Department of Human Rights. Here are a few key take away's from the training that can get you and your organization started on effective stakeholder analysis, too.

1. START WITH THE GOAL. Sounds simple enough, but sometimes the easiest things to remember are also the easiest to forget. Effective stakeholder analysis starts with a clear understanding of the goal you hope to achieve with your stakeholders. Here, a goal is not "complete a strategic planning process." It's "Establish a new vision for XYZ organization," or "Pass a new fresh food access zoning policy." Always start with the strategic end in mind so that stakeholder analysis, and stakeholder engagement, is central to the strategy (not a side car).

2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Too often, stakeholder analysis are conducted in large group meetings, and the stakeholders analyzed or considered are based on the knowledge in the room. This is how echo chambers are built into planning processes. Instead, double-check your assumptions with online research via Google, Guide Star, or any number of other resources.

3. KEEP IT FRESH. Stakeholder analysis should be updated every 6 to 12 months to ensure that new and emergent voices are coming into the fold and contacts remain fresh. Even a simple review of stakeholder lists and regular updates via e-newsletter can be a big help in keeping in contact. Still, nothing beats regular, personalized check-ins to keep relationships open and fresh.

These are just a few of the steps in a complete stakeholder analysis training. If you or a member of your team would like to schedule a 1/2 day Stakeholder Analysis Workshop, contact me at Stephanie [at]

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