Stakeholders are those who may be affected by or have an effect on an effort. Key stakeholders can have a positive or negative effect on an effort, or who are important within or to an organization, agency, or institution engaged in the planning effort. They have the information you need, or other important resources for solving the problem – access to money or legislative or regulatory “fixes.” Getting and keeping key stakeholders on board is one of the most important aspects of any project.
Key stakeholders may be those who increase the credibility of your efforts; implement the interventions central to the effort; advocate for changes to institutionalize the effort; and/or fund/authorize continuation or expansion of the effort.
All of stakeholders must have access to information regarding community-based planning and believe – to sustain their involvement – that the process will either benefit them individually or better the community as a whole. This, like creating an infrastructure to support the planning process, will foster long-term commitment and institutionalization of collaboration.
Benefits of Stakeholder Engagement
A participatory effort that involves representation of as many stakeholders as possible has a number of important advantages:
It puts more ideas on the table.
It includes varied perspectives from all sectors and elements of the community affected.
It gains buy-in and support for the effort from all stakeholders.
It saves you from being blindsided by concerns you didn’t know about.
It strengthens your position if there’s opposition.
It creates connections among diverse groups that might not otherwise interact
It increases the credibility of your organization.
It increases the chances for the success of your effort.
Stakeholder Engagement Strategies
Planning efforts by SAAs have varied greatly in size, planning period, and system inclusivity. Many of these variations have to do with planning scope, SAA statutory authority, and planning capacity. The scope of planning varied from grant-specific or agency-wide to broader efforts designed to coordinate the directions of multiple state-level criminal justice agencies. These variations were mainly due to the SAA’s statutorily defined role, responsibility, and mission within state government. Despite these variations, SAAs used many common planning tools, engagement strategies and consensus building approaches.
The one pager, SAA Strategic Planning: Stakeholder Engagement Strategies, describes how SAAs engage in strategic planning, examines stakeholder identification, outreach, and the most commonly used engagement strategies. In addition, this report provides information on data integration and strategic planning consensusbuilding strategies.