Appendix: Stakeholder Mapping & Power Analysis
Note: This is adapted from The Half Wheel & The Pyramid, which originally appeared on the Fabrider website.
Understanding how any technology that you use in campaigning functions as a tactic
to further your campaign strategy is essential. For every training session that Fabriders runs, whether it’s about data visualisation or social media, we’ve found it important to start with an exercise that brings participants back to thinking about the goals of their campaigns and the tactics that might bring those goals closer. This training curriculum has been evolving over the last four years and started as a basic campaign strategy session, developed for workshops that accompanied Tactical Tech’s ‘10 Tactics’ documentary.
What participants will get from this training session:
- An opportunity to define and categorise the types of stakeholders they are engaging
through their campaigns.
- An understanding of the strategy needed to reach the goals of their campaign.
- The opportunity to identify and prioritise ways of applying technological tools tactically.
The Campaign Goal
Make sure that the people taking part in the training session understand how a campaign and its goals are defined in this context: a campaign goal is time-limited and achievable. Rather than aiming to “end hunger”, we would suggest something more specific and measurable, such as, “establish a food bank in a community”, or, “get the government to set aside funds for a school lunch program to feed students”.
Ask the participants to state their campaign goals in one sentence.
Make sure the participants understand what a stakeholder is. Stakeholders are all the people who are engaged with and affected by the issue/s around which they are campaigning;
for example, members of the communities concerned, the press and media, government officials, etc.
Now, ask the participants to list all the stakeholders involved in the campaign, writing the name of each stakeholder on a separate post-it note.
The Half Wheel
Next, the participants should take a big piece of paper and draw a half wheel on it, dividing it into three parts, for allies, neutral parties, and opponents.
Ask the participants to arrange the post-it notes on which they’ve noted the stakeholders in their campaign around the half-wheel according to these categories:
- Allies are people who are already engaged and support the campaign.
- Neutral Parties are people who neither oppose nor support the campaign
- Opponents are people who actively oppose the campaign
Some of the stakeholders that they’ve listed may fall into more than one category according to circumstances – if so, place them on the border line between the two categories.
Allies are the people they need to mobilise.
Neutral Parties are the people they need to educate (to transform them into Allies).
Opponents are the people whose arguments and actions they need to counter.
Stakeholders who lie on the line between Neutral Parties and Allies are the people they need to motivate, to make them into Allies.
Those who are between Opponents and Neutral Parties are the people that they need to persuade to reconsider their positions.
Stakeholders and activities
Now engage the participants in a discussion about each type of stakeholder, and about activities that can be undertaken with each: this will help participants to identify the right tactic to use for each of their stakeholders.
Allies – Mobilise!
Call on them to attend a protest, rally or meeting
Get them to put information out through their own networks
Get them to engage Neutral Parties and Opponents
Neutral Parties – Educate
Give them the information they need. What are creative ways to get information out to Neutral Parties via mobile phones, for example?
Engage them in getting information that is needed for the campaign. Actively engaging neutral parties in data gathering is a great way of educating them and turning them into active Allies
Opponents – Counter
Engage Opponents in face-to-face meetings and Forums. Counter the arguments that they present in debate.
Use Allies to engage Opponents
Use Neutral Parties to educate and to engage Opponents.
Now, ask the participants to look at how they’ve organised their stakeholders, and annotate each post-it note accordingly, writing A for Allies, N for Neutral, and O for Opponents. For stakeholders who fall into more than one category, include them both (A/N; N/O).
Now it’s time to build a pyramid using the post-it notes along with the annotations showing where they lie on the half wheel. Before you start, you need to work out: what is power? And: who has power in this situation? The ultimate question is: Who has the power to make the change that you seek? This may be one individual, who will make a final decision, sign a law or change an existing policy: the head of a government committee or a regulatory body, say. It might also be the head of
a corporation or the chairperson of a governing board. Participants should identify who can make the actual decision that’s necessary, the entity or person who would have to say ‘yes’ or approve a law in order for the desired change to happen.
This person or entity should already be on the list of stakeholders, but if they are not, you should make
a post-it note for them and put it on the half-wheel, noting where they fall on the wheel. Add a ‘P’ for ‘power’ to the post-it note, too.
Now the participants can remove the post-it notes from the half-wheel, and, with a fresh sheet of paper, create a Pyramid, with the stakeholder who has the power to bring about the desired change at the
top. Directly below them, they’ll put the stakeholders who have a direct connection to the stakeholder
with power, and directly below them will go the stakeholders who are connected to them… participants should place all their post-it notes in this way.
This may not form the most perfect pyramid, but the participants should now be able to see who THE PRIORITY STAKEHOLDERS ARE.
Look at the powerful stakeholder at the top of the pyramid. Is this person or entity an Opponent, a Neutral Party or an Ally?
If they are an Ally, you are in good shape.
If they are an Opponent, you have some work to do. Getting them to do something they are opposed to is hard work. You’ll need to look at the stakeholders below them in the pyramid and consider tactics that will reach these people and persuade them to influence the person at the top.
Another, optional, step at this point would be for the participants to invert the pyramid
by putting themselves at the top and then putting the stakeholders they have direct relationships with below themselves and proceed as before, in order more clearly to see their path to the stakeholder with power.
More exercises on influencing stakeholders will appear on Fabriders in the near future.
Just a note: This is a simplified version of power analysis, and there are certainly many more robust or complex methods. If this exercise seems too simple for your purposes, you may want to look at one of these resources:
The Change Agency’s training resources on Campaign Strategy
ACE’s Power Analysis exercise