What does it mean to "engage stakeholders"? While there are different levels of engagement, on any level, engaging stakeholders involves asking for their input and actively listening to their opinions as you plan and carry out the evaluation. Stakeholders may even directly participate in the evaluation itself, either by gathering or providing data.
Stakeholders also add value by:
- Lending credibility to the evaluation.
- Offering judgments about the findings.
- Acting on the results—e.g., advocating for program changes, funding its continuation or expansion.
The second column of Worksheet 1 asks, "When and how to involve [stakeholders] in the evaluation? What will they do?" Use this column to brainstorm roles that stakeholders might play in your evaluation. Some things to consider:
- Their skill level.
- The time they have available.
- The aspects of the program they are most invested in.
Click on the PDF documents in the side bar to see examples of how the second column of this table was completed for our case study sites.
To keep stakeholders engaged, have a plan for how you will communicate with them and make sure to create opportunities to share information with each other. Think about when and where you have regular contact with your stakeholders as well as how they prefer to receive and provide information. Some examples:
- One-on-one communication (either in person or by phone).
- Group meetings.
- Conference calls.
- Written correspondence via mail or email.
In some instances, it might be appropriate to conduct brief surveys or informal interviews to get stakeholders’ opinions and guidance. Progress reports or other types of periodic updates are another good way to keep stakeholders informed about the evaluation.