9 Questions to Help Identify Your Stakeholders

Posted by Britney Blomquist on December 11, 2020

When we talk about stakeholder analysis or completing a stakeholder mapping exercise, we always talk about the need to identify your stakeholders first, but how do you do this if you don’t know who your stakeholders are?

According to the IFC:

“Stakeholders are persons or groups who are directly or indirectly affected by a project, as well as those who may have interests in a project and/or the ability to influence its outcome, either positively or negatively."¹

To help you begin the process of stakeholder identification, we’ve compiled this list of trigger questions to get you started (and figure out who your stakeholders are!)

Questions for Stakeholder Identification

Along with your team, use these questions to help you understand who might be affected by your project (positively or negatively) or who might be interested in your project (interest can be financial, emotional, environmental etc.).

how will your stakeholder engagement plan affect stakeholder community spaces?

  1. Will your project disrupt neighbourhoods or community spaces?

  • Consider questions like:
    • Will your project create noise (e.g. construction noise)?
    • Are you developing on an area that people might feel strongly about (e.g. a greenspace)?
    • Will your project block any views people might enjoy?
    • Will there be any temporary roadway blockages or diversions?

If so, name the people, communities, commuters and organizations who might be impacted or who might care about these developments.

  1. Is your project occurring on or near traditional territory?

  • Consider questions like:
    • Will any Indigenous or Tribal communities be interested or affected?
    • Are there any Indigenous or Tribal communities who might like to be involved in the project?
    • Are there any regulations or expectations that need to be/should be met?
  1. Will your project impact other organizations?

  • Consider questions like:
    • Will your project create competition for other businesses?
    • Will your project impact any businesses that people might feel strongly about (e.g. local business or business that has a high-level of local employment, etc.)?

If so, name the people, communities and organizations who might be impacted (this can include specific organizations you might impact along with people who are loyal to those organizations and who utilize or rely on them).

which stakeholders will be impacted environmentally why your stakeholder engagement plan?

  1. What are the environmental impacts of your project?

  • Consider questions like:
    • Are there special interest groups who may have a perspective on your project? (could be associations or clubs, etc.)
    • Will your project impact the land?
    • Will your project have any impacts on the community’s environment (water quality, air quality, etc.)?

If so, name the people, associations, groups, communities, and organizations who might be impacted or interested.

  1. Are there internal stakeholders to consider?

  • Consider groups like:
    • Employees?
    • Managers/decision-makers?
    • Shareholders?
    • Board members?
    • Contractors?
  1. Who influences your stakeholders?

  • Consider:
    • Are there leaders in the community whose opinion on your organization or project could affect stakeholders’ or communities’ opinions?
    • Will the media be an influencer in your project?
  1. Who has control or influence over required resources (or funding) for this project?

  • Consider questions like:
    • Who has influence or control over the budget?
  1. Who has influence over approvals or permissions for this project?

  • Consider questions like:
    • Who reviews risk management for the project?
    • Who approves changes?
    • Are there any regulatory requirements that need to be met (government, regulators, etc.)?

do you know which stakeholders could be impacted even after your stakeholder engagement plan is over?

  1. Who can be impacted by your project even after it’s over?

  • Consider:
    • Could there be any additional or lingering affects for anyone after your project completion date?

Remember: just because your project is completed doesn't mean it can't potentially continue to impact stakeholders and communities.

Next Steps

Once you begin answering these questions, you’ll start developing a more thorough understanding of the types of stakeholders and communities that could be affected by or are interested in your project. Use these insights to begin building your stakeholder list, and then take a closer look at your stakeholders through a stakeholder analysis exercise!

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Topics: Stakeholder Engagement, Stakeholder Engagement Plan, Stakeholder Mapping, Stakeholder Analysis