How to Identify Your Stakeholders and Prioritize Their Needs ─ 2024 Guide

Stakeholders can be both internal and external to an organization, an individual, or a project. They may include government agencies, customers, vendors, partners, associates, and so on. As the name suggests, stakeholders are people who “stake” an interest in whatever it is you’re involved with.

In any organization or project, it is important to identify all of the stakeholders who are affected by your project or whose input will be required in order to make decisions. Failing to consider all stakeholders can result in very costly mistakes! This guide will provide you with best practices for identifying your stakeholders and prioritizing their needs.

Identifying Stakeholders


When identifying stakeholders, it is important to consider all parties who could be directly or indirectly affected by the success of a project. They can range from government officials and regulators to individual customized client groups and members of the general public so it could be helpful to use solutions like Borealis. It is also important to understand that investors have different levels of interest and influence, meaning that their needs should not be addressed with a single set of solutions.

To successfully identify all shareholders, consider the following:

  • Who stands to gain from the project or has a vested interest in its outcome?
  • Are there people or organizations who rely on or could be affected by changes in technology or market dynamics?
  • Are resources available for addressing certain stakeholder requests?
  • What mechanisms are in place for communicating with various investors?
  • Who has the responsibility for implementing solutions that address stakeholder concerns?

An effective way to manage shareholder involvement is through a hierarchical design approach, which allows for segmentation according to levels of impact and control over outcomes. With this approach, stakeholders can be grouped into four principal tiers: decision makers (or governance bodies), critical implementers (or key decision support groups), invested partners (or working teams), and peripheral supporters (or small interest groups). Establishing this order helps create a collaborative environment where all interests are taken into account without negating those of the most influential participants.

Analyzing Stakeholder Needs


Ultimately, stakeholder needs analysis focuses on understanding how they feel about the project and aligning their interests with the goals of the organization. By establishing certain criteria for evaluating shareholders’ needs and priorities, organizations can better identify resources that should be allocated, as well as relationships that need strengthening.

When analyzing their needs it’s important to consider their influence, trustworthiness, reputation, urgency of need(s), commitment to the organization/project, communication style/preferences/methods of contact, mobilizing power/ability to influence others’ behavior/views towards the organization or its projects.

Additionally, assessing their personas and developing approaches tailored specifically towards a certain type(s) of persona will allow you to better understand what they need out of a given scenario or interaction with your team/organization. By understanding these factors you can develop a plan around which interests should take priority before engaging with that particular stakeholder group or individual(s).

Ranking and Scoring Methods

Prioritizing stakeholder needs is an essential aspect of effective management. It involves determining which needs are most critical and allocating resources accordingly. There are various methods for prioritizing investors’ needs, including ranking and scoring methods.

Ranking methods involve ordering shareholder needs from highest to lowest priority. This method is relatively straightforward and easy to implement. However, it can be subjective and may not take into account the relative importance of each need.

Scoring methods involve assigning a numerical score to each stakeholder’s need based on its importance. This method allows for a more nuanced evaluation of stakeholder needs and can be tailored to the specific needs of an organization. Scoring methods can be further categorized into three main types: Weighted Ranking, Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), and Value Scoring.

  • Weighted ranking assigns a weight to each shareholder’s need based on its relative importance. The needs are then ranked based on their weighted scores, with the highest-scoring needs receiving top priority.
  • AHP is a more complex scoring method that involves breaking down stakeholder needs into a hierarchy and assigning weights to each need based on pairwise comparisons. This method allows for a more detailed evaluation of investor needs and can help identify conflicting priorities.
  • Value scoring involves assigning a value to each stakeholder’s need based on its importance and feasibility. The needs are then ranked based on their value scores, with the highest-scoring needs receiving top priority.

Regardless of the method used, prioritizing stakeholder needs is an ongoing process that requires regular review and evaluation. By using ranking and scoring methods, organizations can make more informed decisions about how to allocate resources and address stakeholder needs effectively.

Strategies to Engage Stakeholders


When you’re working to identify and prioritize shareholder needs, these strategies can help you reach out and receive meaningful buy-in:

Set clear objectives

When establishing objectives, make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART). Outlining goals clearly at the outset will help ensure that stakeholders’ energy is focused on achieving intended outcomes so that when the time for engagement comes, everyone involved is already informed about your organization’s intentions.

Don’t underestimate trust-building

Just because some stakeholders may be familiar with your operations from previous engagements doesn’t necessarily mean that their loyalties lay with your organization. It’s essential to update relational dynamics as part of your process by emphasizing trust-building as part of all phases of shareholder interaction throughout an organizational strategy cycle.

Focus on relationships

People respond better when approached for advice rather than for explicit favors. Integrate tactics such as focus group activities or interviews into investor engagement efforts — conversational methods often serve as a platform for exchanging ideas naturally without pressure or coercion — and be sure to avoid misinterpretation issues by having any materials translated into the appropriate languages before use.

Monitor progress

Constantly keeping track of progress made throughout the lifecycle will help keep expectations realistic while providing opportunities to keep stakeholders moderately satisfied throughout various stages in order to maintain good faith efforts in partnership formation/renewal phases which will ultimately guide implementation decisions at each stage later down the line.


In conclusion, effective stakeholder identification and management are essential for any organization to succeed. Investors come from a wide range of backgrounds, levels, and interests, and it’s important for managers to understand each stakeholder’s needs. If a company aligns its resources with the needs and goals of its stakeholders, it can ensure its project or initiative will be successful.