Map Your Stakeholders

Stakeholder mapping is the process of identifying the different actors in an ecosystem for a given policy issue, and understanding their level of potential influence and interest in that cause.


Some important players to consider:

Policy & Decision-makers: local, national, international; these individuals should be your main target as they have the direct power to implement policy change.

Allies: other NGOs, learned societies, and experts who are aligned with your cause, and may even be open to coalition. The more groups that support a call to action gives it more chance of success.

Influencers: non-expert parties or individuals who may influence the outcome by direct/indirect or formal/non-formal means; e.g. patient community, scientific journals, industry.

Opponents: those who may resist and oppose the change that you are proposing. Remember that if a party does not appear to agree with your advocacy ask, it does not mean you should not engage. Understanding their perspective is always important and can help shape a better approach.


Benefits of Stakeholder mapping:

  • Allows you to identify parties/individuals on whom to focus your campaign efforts.
  • Crucial for building coalitions, and elevating your profile(s) as advocates.
  • More efficient strategy building, less duplication of effort
  • Get creative; is there an avenue here that you haven’t considered before?



Support vs. Influence matrix:

Once you have identified your stakeholders, you can “map” them according to their level of support and influence using the Matrix described below.

For this you can use a 2 dimensional graph, with level of support for change along the horizontal x-axis, and level of influence in creating change along the vertical y-axis. Stakeholders can be placed appropriately in the following quadrants: Supports change and has high influence, supports change and has low level of influence, opposes change and has high level of influence, or opposes change and has low level of influence.

Of these four quadrants, those who support change and have high influence are considered Key Stakeholders – you should manage your relationships with these parties closely, and form alliances where possible. Those who support change but have lower influence should be kept well informed of developments, via newsletters or social media. Those who have high influence but oppose change should be monitored, as their activities may impact yours. Finally, those who oppose change and have low influence may be ignored.

Top left quadrant high influence, monitor. Bottom left quadrant, opposes change, ignore. Bottom right quadrant, supports change, keep informed. Top right quadrant, key stakeholders: manage closely.
Fig. 2: Stakeholder Mapping - Support vs. Influence Matrix
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