I am sure you have heard the word stakeholders before. Many times, when you write a proposal, the donor asks you to describe what the stakeholders are. Another question is, how you will include them in your project. But do you know what stakeholder actually means? In this article, we will explain the term in reference to proposal writing. Why is it important for you to understand it and use it correctly?
A stakeholder is literally someone who has a stake in the endeavor you are proposing. This does not only mean your beneficiaries but everybody that would be affected or touched by your project. This includes people who are not directly involved with your project but would be influenced by it in any way.
Who could be a stakeholder in your project?
Of course, your beneficiaries are also stakeholders. They have a big stake in the project, as it will probably change their life in a specific way. Other members of the community – indirect beneficiaries – are also stakeholders. But even people who would not benefit at all from your project but live in the community where you implement your project are stakeholders. Their life might be touched by your project as well and their interests need to be considered.
Other stakeholders are also the representatives of the local government and any other organizations that work in the area. Businesses that exist in the community where you want to work are also stakeholders, as your project might have the influence on them.
Why does a donor want to know who all stakeholders are?
For a donor, it is very important to know who the stakeholders are when you propose a project, because they can influence the outcome. If you want to do an accurate risk assessment, you need to know all the stakeholders first. If you miss people that might play an important role during the implementation process of your project, this might have a very negative influence on the results of your project.
When you can describe all stakeholders of the project accurately, you also show your donor that you are an expert in your project area. Only if you know the topic very well you will be able to determine all stakeholders, and that will instill confidence in you in your donor.
In bigger projects, it can make sense to do a detailed stakeholder analysis to make sure you understand the social dynamics of the community before you start.