The Value of Stakeholder Analysis in the Strategic Planning Process for Nonprofit Organizations

September 2, 2014

Guest Blog by Carolyn Mattocks, Executive Director of I Can Do Anything Organization and Member of Maryland Nonprofits

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Stakeholders are critical to the strategic planning process. These individuals can be potential funders, community partners, managers, and other partners that play a pivotal role in the sustainability of the organization’s mission for years to come.  A successful strategic planning process requires an accurate stakeholder analysis, the appropriate identification of stakeholders and the assurance of a commitment and buy-in. This type of analysis will help the organization increase opportunities that will help them continue to build their public value and accountability.

Conducting A Stakeholder Analysis

A proper stakeholder analysis is critical to any nonprofit organization. This analysis can be a part of the S.W.O.T. analysis which is an important tool that helps the organization improve their effectiveness. The success of an organization is dependent on the appropriate outcome of the stakeholder analysis. According to Bryson, there are techniques for organizing participation in this analysis. There are an array of techniques that can be utilized during this analysis because of the size and lack of the strategic planning experience.  An example of a good technique would be the stakeholder map. Stakeholder maps help with the attainment of the right level of aggregation. The right level of aggregation means that there should be some differentiation because it would help to determine organizational needs. It is also important to look at various employee groups in order to ensure proper organizational responses. Organizational performance is also enhanced through stakeholder analysis.


Identification of Stakeholders

Stakeholders involved in the strategic planning process include community partners, funders, managers, and other partners. Community partners can be parents. Funders provide resources that enable the organization to carry out its mission because of the money invested as well as the evaluation of funds. Managers provide insight about the organizational performance. Partners are effective because of their insight about potential opportunities that can help them increase revenue.


Stakeholder Buy-In and Commitment

It is important during the stakeholder analysis process that there is a buy-in and commitment. There are four important strategies to use for buy-in and commitment. These strategies include  (1) keeping the communication channel open; (2) Making them feel a part of the process; (3) Keeping stakeholders involved in the communication process from the very beginning; and (4) Making stakeholders feel a part of the process. Involving stakeholder in the strategic planning process helps the organization to successfully move towards a better implementation and sustainability of their mission.


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