Stakeholders are people with a stake in the evaluation, including primary intended users and others.
Understanding and taking into account the priorities and concerns of different stakeholders informs evaluation planning, communication strategies during and after the evaluation and supports the utilisation of evaluation findings.
The primary intended users – people who will be making decisions on the basis of the evaluation findings - are a key group of stakeholders.(There's a separate task of identifying primary intended users in the FRAME cluster of tasks).
Other stakeholders include people who will be affected by decisions made during or after the evaluation (program staff, program participants and beneficiaries) and secondary users of the evaluation findings. Evaluation findings are often of interest to policy makers and advocates for or against a particular course of action.
Different stakeholders can be engaged for different purposes and at different phases of evaluation planning and implementation. It may not be feasible or appropriate to engage all potential stakeholders.
Involving stakeholders during evaluation planning and implementation can add value by:
- providing perspectives on what will be considered a credible, high quality and useful evaluation
- contributing to the program logic and framing of key evaluation questions
- facilitating quality data collection
- helping to make sense of the data that has been collected
- increasing the utilization of the evaluation’s findings by building knowledge about and support for the evaluation.
Engaging stakeholders is also important for managing risks especially when evaluating a contentious program or policy in which key stakeholders are known to have opposing views. It is important to understand different perspectives on what will be considered credible evidence of outcomes and impacts.
- Community Scoping: developing a more in-depth understanding of a community of interest by providing information about its social diversity, history, existing networks, and overall socio-economic characteristics.
- Stakeholder mapping and analysis: identifying different stakeholders’ level of interest and influence.
- Community fairs: organising a community event with the aim of providing information about the project and raising the awareness of relevant issues.
- Fishbowl technique: managing group discussion about relevant issues.
- Formal meeting processes: guidance on processes for running formal meetings.
- Informal meeting processes: a conversation between an evaluator and a key stakeholder that is not conducted in a formal way but is still seeking the same outcomes.