How to Measure Stakeholder Engagement

November 9, 2018

A critical component of public affairs is relationship building with stakeholders through events, one-on-one meetings, emails, phone calls, and more. So how do you measure if the stakeholder engagement work you’re doing is successful?

Measuring your stakeholder engagement efforts helps identify what strategies move the needle on your issues. What activities are best at pushing stakeholders from detractors to allies, or allies to champions? With this knowledge, your organization can adjust the allocation of time, money, and resources to better focus on the parts of your stakeholder engagement strategy that drive results.

Build an Internal Stakeholder Tier System

One way to measure stakeholder engagement is to map your stakeholders across an internal system. For example, some organizations use numbered tiers. A “Tier 1” stakeholder is your biggest champion, “Tier 3” is someone who has just entered your organization’s network and is loosely connected, and a “Tier 5” stakeholder is someone who your organization does not yet a relationship with, but seeks to cultivate one. What comprises each tier may be quantitative or qualitative. A Tier 3 stakeholder could be measured by the number of times they’ve engaged in activity with or on behalf of your organization, such as the number of events attended or emails responded to. Or, a Tier 3 stakeholder may be measured in a qualitative way, looking at the strength of the personal relationship with an employee of the organization or their level of expertise in a given subject area. This system will look different depending on what outputs you want to measure in your organization.

Track Changes of Tiers

Once stakeholders are mapped to their respective tiers, look at your effectiveness in moving them to a higher tier over the course of a year. Set a goal for how many you wish to have in each tier by the end of the year, or other given time period. As you host events, hold meetings, and communicate with stakeholders throughout the year, track those engagements and update individuals’ tiers as those they change in tier status. Assigning team members in your organization as the primary relationship holder can assist with the identification of tier assignments and denote ownership over the tier movement of a given set of stakeholders.

Evaluate the Engagements that Drove Stakeholders to New Tiers

At the end of the year, take a look at what changed, and what factors were unique to the stakeholders that moved to a higher or lower tier. For example, maybe at the beginning of the year you had 50 Tier 2 stakeholders on energy issues, and at the end of the year, 30 of those Tier 2 stakeholders moved up to Tier 3. Ask yourself, what interactions were most common among those 30? Did they attend more events, or open more emails? Did those relationships belong to particular team members who were most successful at building stronger champions?

With this system, you can better measure and evaluate 1) how successful your organization is at pushing stakeholders to be more engaged and 2) what specific activities or characteristics make an individual more likely to move to a higher tier of engagement.

To learn how Quorum can help organize and centralize your stakeholder engagement strategy, request a demo of Quorum Stakeholder.

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