Principle 7

Engaging with stakeholders

Communication and consultation

Each organisation should identify those with a legitimate interest in its work (stakeholders) and ensure that there is regular and effective communication with them about the organisation.

Stakeholder involvement

The management committee/board should encourage and enable the engagement of key stakeholders such as users and beneficiaries, in the organisation's planning and decision-making.

(Supporting principles to Principle 7 of The Code of Good Governance)

In order to be open, responsive and accountable, management committees need to actively engage with their organisation's stakeholders.   Entering into dialogue with stakeholders can bring a number of benefits to the management committee and the organisation:

  • it ensures the organisation continues to meet their needs and address any concerns;
  • it keeps the management committee in touch with changing environments and requirements; and
  • it increases their engagement with and support for the organisation.

It is therefore worthwhile reviewing who are the stakeholders in your organisation and how you engage with them.

Identifying your stakeholders

Stakeholders will vary according to the nature of the organisation, but the following groups should be considered:

  • service users;
  • suppliers;
  • beneficiaries;
  • families and friends of service users/beneficiaries;
  • funders;
  • individual fundraisers;
  • members or supporters;
  • partner organisations;
  • local community; and
  • staff and volunteer.

How to engage with stakeholders

Management committees have numerous opportunities to engage with stakeholders.  Consider the following list and note what you do already or where there are opportunities for more creative engagement.  An open and responsive management committee will incorporate a combination of communication, consultation and involvement.

Ideas that other organisations use include:

Communication

  • regular newsletters (printed, email or even poster format);
  • annual report;
  • publicising the strategic plan;
  • periodic updates regarding key developments;
  • circulation of publications or publications list;
  • website; and
  • articles in sector press or local newspapers.

Consultation

  • hold consultation meetings for the strategic review;
  • faciliate voting (online or postal) on key issues for the organisation;
  • hold open meetings to discuss policy or operational issues (e.g. future use of a hall or facility); and
  • promote mechanisms whereby stakeholders can provide feedback to the organisation on its services or activities (e.g. evaluations, feedback forms, comment cards etc).

Involvement

  • consider how key stakeholders can be represented on the management committee;
  • create advisory groups to involve stakeholders more closely in the organisation's planning and decision-making; and
  • co-opt individuals onto the management committee for specific periods or purposes.