Who are your stakeholders, and how do you engage with them?
As a rural social enterprise, any action you take forward is likely to have an impact on others in your community. You must consider people locally who have an interest in your activity, and how they might help or hinder your plans. This guide covers everything you should think about, and describes how to identify and engage with stakeholders.
Download this learning resource as a PDF: Stakeholder Engagement
6.1 Identifying Stakeholders
It is important to have an understanding of the range of stakeholders who might be involved in assisting you to take forward any plans and actions identified by the community.
This would include individuals, other groups or organisations who may have an interest in your community or the specific development activity. Stakeholders are all the people that your community (and any potential plans that the community has identified) will have an impact on or connection to.
The ‘Identifying Stakeholders’ tool will help you to identify as a group, a broad range of stakeholders that may have an interest or concern in the community and potential community activity. It is important to consider potential customers as stakeholders as you go through this process from a social enterprise process:
6.2 Understanding motivations and potential support or conflict that may arise
Stakeholder engagement will assist in bringing additional help and support to your plans, as well as identifying any potential barriers or conflicts that may arise. It will help you to understand how best to engage with stakeholders if you can understand their motivations for being involved, which will also assist in identifying any potential issues or opposition that may arise.
The ‘Stakeholder Motivation’ tool will enable you to identify as a group, stakeholder motivations, potential to support or potential conflict:
6.3 The benefits of effective stakeholder engagement
By identifying and involving range of stakeholders you will have the opportunity to take in to account the range of views and perspectives and may also stimulate more ideas that hadn’t been thought of. Stakeholder engagement ensures that the range of organisations and individuals may be affected or have an interest have the opportunity to be included and provides an early opportunity for buy in which will assist later with delivering any actions.
It ensures that you have a full awareness of any issues or concerns that may be raised.
Having a wide range of stakeholders involved and supportive strengthens your position in terms of credibility for your organisation and plans, which can be particularly useful if issues or opposition arises. Your stakeholder network can also assist in raising the profile of your community and plans with scope to further extend interest, involvement and support.
Identifying stakeholders and establishing their support and or concerns early on is an important aspect of ensuring any plans can be delivered effectively. For more information see Section 8: ‘Identifying and Analysing Stakeholders And Their Interests’ in the online Community Toolbox resource:
6.4 Case Studies
Bearing Fruit, Carnegie UK – http://www.communityplanning.net/pub-film/pdf/BearingFruit.pdf
- Online written report. Case studies of 7 rural and semi-rural development trusts in the UK, examining their methods and focusing on the positives of what worked.
- Good examples of networking and stakeholder engagement both locally and outwith the community. Building good relationships with stakeholders widens skillset and opportunities available.
COMCOT –An Innovative Tool for Improving the Competitiveness of Community-Based Tourism – A Handbook (Ruralia, EMU) – https://ruralsehub.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/COMCOT-tool.pdf
- Electronic resource, a practical community tourism development cases: 3 from Estonia and 4 from Finland.
- Sections (1.1), (2.2) & (2.3) have practical information about identifying and working with stakeholders. A simple word search (cntrl + F) for ‘stakeholder’ will direct you to the relevant parts.
- Emphasis on identifying and engaging stakeholders from an early stage to ensure maximum support and avoid potential conflict. Discusses the importance of keeping your community group open and approachable to new participants.
Demonstrative Farm and Training Centre Consultancy in Agriculture 2013 (World Vision Romania Foundation) – https://worldvision.ro/Presa/2014/ferma-agrovision-model-pentru-invatamantul-agricol-si-opportunitatile-ue-a319.html
- Case study of a rural project in Romania set up to help rural farmers make the transition between subsistence and commercial farming. Material is a 16 page report about the development process of setting up the project and community/stakeholder engagement.
- They run a centre for agricultural training and consultancy and a demonstrative farm used to host learning visits.
- Stakeholder engagement between broad array of people; customers; local community; other relevant groups and organisations. Keen focus on stakeholders as customers and involvement of local community (women in enterprise learning group, English language classes, ITC classes, school groups involving parents and children).
Download this learning resource as a PDF here – Stakeholder Engagement
Please feel free to leave feedback on the ViSEnet materials via our feedback page.