David Basarab Posted by David Basarab.

Dave is the founder of Dave Basarab Consulting, V.A.L.E. Consulting, LLC and co-founder of The Learning Burst Academy. He is also the author of The Training Evaluation Process and Predictive Evaluation.


Evaluation Stakeholder management is critical to the success of every evaluation. By engaging the right people in the right way in your evaluation during the planning, it can make a big difference to the evaluation success.

A stakeholder is a person or organization that:

  • Is actively involved in the evaluation.
  • Has interests that may be positively or negatively affected by the performance or completion of the evaluation.
  • May exert influence over the evaluation, its deliverables, or its team members.

Evaluation stakeholder management is an important discipline that successful evaluators use to win support from others. It helps ensure that their evaluation succeed where others fail. Stakeholder Analysis is the technique used to identify the key people who have to be won over. You then use Stakeholder Planning to build the support that helps you succeed. The benefits of using a stakeholder-based approach are that:

  • You can use the opinions of the most powerful stakeholders to shape your evaluation at this early stage. Not only does this make it more likely that they will support you, their input can also improve the quality of your evaluation.
  • Gaining support from powerful stakeholders can help you to win more resources – this makes it more likely that your evaluation will be successful
  • By communicating with stakeholders early and frequently, you can ensure that they fully understand what you are doing and understand the benefits of your evaluation– this means they can support you actively when necessary
  • You can anticipate what people’s reaction to your evaluation may be, and build into your plan the actions that will win people’s support.

The steps to engage evaluation stakeholders are:
Step 1. Identify your stakeholders. The first step is to brainstorm who your stakeholders are. As part of this, think of all the people who are affected by your evaluation, who have influence or power over it, or have an interest in its successful or unsuccessful effort.
Step 2. Prioritize Your stakeholders. Map out your stakeholders and classify them by their power over your work and by their interest in your work. The top people are your key stakeholders.
Step 3. Gather key stakeholder requirements. You now need to know more about your key stakeholders. You need to know how they are likely to feel about and react to your evaluation. You also need to know how best to engage them and how best to communicate with them. Key questions that can help you understand your stakeholders are:

  • What financial or emotional interest do they have in the outcome of the evaluation? Is it positive or negative?
  • What information do they want from you? What questions do they want answered from the evaluation?
  • How do they want to receive information from you? What is the best way of communicating your message to them?

A very good way of answering these questions is to talk to your stakeholders directly – people are often quite open about their views, and asking people’s opinions is often the first step in building a successful relationship with them.

Once you have completed your stakeholder analysis, you can continue with creating your evaluation plan.