A Practical Guide for Engaging Stakeholders in Developing Evaluation Questions

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evaluation Series, by Hallie Preskill, Ph.D., and Nathalie Jones, October 2009.

The finding of this report should come as no surprise: successful evaluation projects depend upon meaningfully engaging stakeholders early and often in framing the project’s questions. Happily, this guide shines a light on the important practical question of how to engage them. The authors note that to achieve meaningful evaluation results, organisations should solicit stakeholder buy-in from the start. ‘Stakeholders’ is a broad term encompassing an often motley group of program beneficiaries, internal staff and board, external donors, community members, and even policymakers. First the organisation must identify its stakeholders. Then it may consider engagement strategies and select one. The guide provides worksheets to lead organisations through this process.
Options for engaging stakeholders are detailed. These include one-on-one interviews, logic modeling, mind mapping, appreciative inquiry, role playing, brainstorming, focus group interviews, discussion of an article, moderated discussions, and delphi technique. Selecting the appropriate engagement strategy depends upon a range of factors such as budget, time, geographic locale, numbers, and complexity of the evaluation. The four worksheets at the back are worth a look. Unlike much of what is out there, this stakeholder engagement guide deserves to be called ‘practical.’
Find out more: www.rwjf.org/files/research/49951.stakeholders.final.1.pdf

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