STAKEHOLDER IMPACT ANALYSIS
WHY LISTEN TO STAKEHOLDER VOICE?
Program Design: Before execution of intervention, there must be a design process that ensures there is a need for the activity and that it is honed to the needs, resources, schedules, etc., of beneficiaries. In short, it must pass the “Is it feasible?” and “Will it be effective?” tests. While success is never a certainty, involving beneficiary stakeholders in the design process can ensure a greater probability of positive outcomes because local knowledge will often reveal contextual nuances, which will be key in creating a program or other intervention.
Managing Risk: Understanding how local beneficiaries live, the particularities of their culture, and what difficulties they encounter in their day-to-day not only serves to improve program design but also serves to illuminate potential negative externalities an intervention could cause or exacerbate. Defining those possibilities early on and planning for any eventuality can help ensure they do not come to pass or, if they do, ensure that those effects can be mitigated. Demonstrating a commitment to this area can also help build credibility with local communities.
Assessing Impact: Understanding whether the impact is being created is almost impossible without considering what stakeholders are telling you. Sure, you can measure how many hours of activities you performed or how many products were delivered. Still, without bringing beneficiaries into the impact conversation, it will be difficult to determine the extent of the impact created (positive or otherwise).
Relationship Building: Rarely do we create an intervention, implement it with our target community, and then leave. Because driving impact is usually a long-term endeavor, long-term relationship-building efforts must be included in the project scope. Buy-in from local leaders and communities as a whole will also increase the chance of program success while also simply being the caring, human thing to do!
Constituent voice and constituent feedback
As with any activity your organization performs, it should be done with a clear strategic purpose, not just because it seems like something you should do. With that strategic perspective in mind, here are a few ways to make sure you leverage those interactions with constituents.
- Keep it periodic but not constant.
- Have an analysis plan in place.
- Tell stakeholders how it helped you!
STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS PROCESSStep by step guide
STAKEHOLDER IMPACT ANALYSIS
EFFECTIVE STAKEHOLDER SURVEY
STAKEHOLDER IMPACT ANALYSIS TEMPLATE
While there is no one way to conduct a stakeholder analysis, there are, of course, best practices to be followed and common tools that can be used to get the most out of the time invested.
For a useful introduction to the processes involved in raising stakeholders' voices and how to do effectively, we recommend reviewing “Using IRIS+ to Incorporate Stakeholder Voice,” a report published by the Global Impact Investing Network (which takes the investor engagement perspective). But it will also help general impact practitioners in any role, especially those wishing to dive further into the world of standardized metrics (IRIS+), which can be essential in various types of analyses of stakeholders.
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach
- Embrace an open-source mentality
STAKEHOLDER VOICE ORGANIZATIONS
If you are looking to dive deeper into the topic for your own research or are looking for expert consulting or exploring collaboration opportunities, the following organizations maintain stakeholder voice as a key principle of their work.
Essential to raising stakeholder's voices is making sure that in addition to opening up that conversation with them, organizations also analyze those data and put insights to work to create better interventions and ultimately better outcomes. That process is exactly what the non-profit organization Feedback Labs seeks to foster across the social sector. Founded in 2013, Feedback Labs works to create standardized metrics that assess how organizations conduct feedback-related work. They also promote the development of tools, training, and events to further strengthen the field.
SOCIAL VALUE INTERNATIONAL
Social Value International brings together a global community (45 countries) of impact practitioners to promote better practices in social value measurement and analysis and to influence policy. Its driving goal is to improve the way we account for social value. As part of their knowledge-sharing approach, they developed seven guiding principles of social value, the first of which is defined as “Involving Stakeholders.”
This, as the first principle, underscores the importance of stakeholder engagement in the social value measurement process. As discussed above, primary stakeholders must be involved in, or at the very least informed about, what is getting measured and how.
The Keystone team are experts in everything to do with managing feedback and getting the most out of those interactions with constituents. In addition to consulting services, they offer analyses of your existing measurement systems, diversity programs, and more. Their Constituent Voice tool can help organizations get the most out of those feedback data, and the Feedback Commons provides tutorials to help practitioners improve how they manage those processes. You can find their full page of resources and guides here.
A social enterprise created by Acumen and based on its Lean Data approach, 60 Decibels aims to improve adoption of Lean Data approaches across sectors and introduce what they hope will be the new standard for impact measurement across sectors. This standard puts stakeholder voice at the forefront of the measurement process, emphasizing the importance of a beneficiary’s “lived experience.” The enterprise seeks to solve impact measurement issues (comparability, for example) faced by the impact investing sector and improve outcomes through better measurement that is ultimately stakeholder-centric.
THEORY OF SCALING IMPACT BY CONTINUOUS LISTENING
Can we build a healthier, more equitable world by frequently looking back on our programs? Alternatively, we understand and improve while serving. Unless you actively learn and manage social change, it isn't easy to scale. We often focus on social return on investment to justify the program's social and financial benefit and its effectiveness. Impact justification is not the continuous learning of Real Social Impact. Big questions everyone is faced today are,
- How can I demonstrate the social impact?
- How do I know that I measure the right social impact?
- How can I scale the social impact?
Join us for the discussion of challenges and solutions to scaling impact.
STAKEHOLDER IMPACT RESOURCES
- Using self-reported data for impact measurement (report)
- Impact Management Project
- IRIS+ to Incorporate Stakeholder Voice
- The Case for Stakeholder Engagement
- Engaging All Affected Stakeholders: Guidance for investors, funders, and organizations (World Economic Forum)
- Listening to Those Who Matter Most, the Beneficiaries
- Can Stakeholder Reviews by Beneficiaries Bring New Perspectives to Philanthropy?
- The Surprising Truth Behind Beneficiary Feedback
- Systems Change Should Lift Up Beneficiary Voices
- Listening to the Voice of the Beneficiary