Purpose of Stakeholder Evaluation

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

A stakeholder is a person or group of people with interest in an organization. A stakeholder can either influence the organization or can be influenced by its work. In this lesson, we discuss the importance of stakeholder evaluation.

Why Evaluate?

Say a nonprofit called 'Pro-Nutrition' welcomes two new members to its Board of Directors. The organization hopes to benefit from the new additions because they are very influential on the media. The nonprofit needs promotion so that more people are aware of its projects.

A year goes by and the two newest members have great relationships with everyone and contribute with great ideas to improve the organization's work. Yet, public knowledge about the projects at 'Pro-Nutrition' continues to be low. If no evaluation plan is in place, how can we determine whether the two new members provide what 'Pro-Nutrition' needs?

An evaluation:

  • identifies aspects that need change while a project is in progress
  • measures the accomplishments a project achieves in regards to stakeholders
  • should be an ongoing activity (if an evaluator is only brought in at the end, any changes that could have been done on the way are too late to address.)

First, let's clarify who stakeholders are. Then, let's explore the three basic stages of stakeholder evaluation. We have practical examples for each of these topics.

Who are Stakeholders?

Stakeholders are the people who have the power to influence your organization's work. Most organizations have stakeholders at different levels. Examples include donors who fund projects, boards of directors who oversee the organization's work, and auditing groups who examine and evaluate the organization's work.

Stakeholders are also the people who are essential to the daily activities of your organization. For example, product suppliers, staff members, customers, etc.

In short, anyone who has some relationship to an organization is a stakeholder and, thus, evaluation of their relation to the organization is essential. Now, let's move onto the evaluation aspect itself.

Three Stages of Stakeholder Evaluation

It is important to evaluate stakeholders before, during, and after a project. Evaluation in each stage has a specific purpose. Let's take a look at each stage.

Before the Project

Before a project begins, you need to evaluate your stakeholders in order to determine if they are the correct people for your needs. A basic example is when you are in the process of hiring an employee. You examine candidates' applications to determine who you want to interview.

For example, say Jeremy wants to start selling a new service to the retired elderly who live alone. The service is the 24/7 availability of people who can run errands, including to accompany an old person to the doctor. The staff and the customers are stakeholders that Jeremy evaluates. The staff must have customer service experience whereas the customers need to be evaluated to determine their real needs.

Or perhaps a nonprofit launches a project called 'Free Tutors' for abused and neglected children. The Board of Directors evaluates the availability of employees who can provide tutoring services and the real possibility to access children who need this service.

During the Project

While a project is in progress, stakeholder evaluation can identify any changes needed AND ensure that stakeholders influence/are influenced by the organization's work in the way that is expected. Organizations evaluate employees usually after the probationary period and then yearly.

After awhile, Jeremy evaluates the staff who is in charge of running errands for the elderly. He talks to each staff member, first congratulating those who do a great job. Also, he addresses the need for change in some employees' punctuality, courtesy, and delivery of the exact service the elderly request. Also, he evaluates the elderly who use his services because he wants to make sure they are happy with the service they buy.

Six months after launching 'Free Tutors', the project director and coordinator evaluate the ongoing work to see if the tutors are delivering the expected service. They also evaluate the children to see if they are improving in school.

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