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5 places to find interested stakeholders you might have missed

· Catriona McNaughton,Stakeholder,Analysis

Identifying stakeholders to engage with before undertaking a new engagement process is a common and important first step. There are a range of common ways to find those that may be interested in your project, and some avenues that are less common. Below are five places you may not have thought to check:

1. Charities Not-for-Profits and Traditional Owner Corporations Registers

Non-profits and charities establish themselves to provide a service or voice for a particular issue in the community. They are important stakeholders where they align to your project (or impacts of your project). They are also usually deeply connected to the community, so even where they might not be relevant to your project, they may be able to provide insights to support your other engagement activities.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission register can be searched by location and filtered by a range of categories such as who the charity helps and the charity subtype. In addition, information to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations can be found through the public register which is searchable through a left hand side search box.

2. The Jobs Australia Data Set

The Jobs Australia data set provided by the ABS offers a summary by local government area of the key industries as both a percentage and relative to the state. If your project is in a specific location, you can use this data set as an indicator of particular interest or areas that could elevate the issue’s profile and as a pointer towards stakeholders with strong community influence/connection or those likely to have an understanding of the specific context of the community.

3. Parliamentary Inquiries and other government consultations

Parliamentary inquiries (at both federal and state level) list the submissions (and submitters) relevant to their inquiry once it has been completed. If an inquiry has been conducted into an area relevant to your project –even tangentially – this can be a great place to identify interested parties. In particular, the likes of peak bodies or similar for the industry or sector.

Other public consultations registered with the Business Consultation website can also provide a useful list of submitters.

4. Your Professional Networks

Stakeholder mapping should be a systematic process, but it is also important to allow flexibility to uncover stakeholders you might have otherwise missed, and your professional networks are a great option for this. This approach can be both through asking your relevant connections if they know of interested stakeholders, or for example seeking expressions of interest or comments from professional network groups.

5. Your Existing Stakeholder List

Often, we forgot that the stakeholders we have identified for inclusion can contribute more than just their expertise to the project, they can also be used to identify further stakeholders for inclusion in future engagement activities. This is particularly the case for the likes of peak or industry bodies and government representatives. For example, Local Government may be able to provide lists of community and other representative groups and make introductions.

As with all stakeholder mapping, identifying possible stakeholders is only half of the process. Understanding the nuance of their relationship to the project, whether they are likely to be experiencing engagement fatigue or have limited resources and the appropriate ways to engage with them for your mutual benefit, is also critical.

FPL Advisory is a team of specialists resolving risks and creating opportunities with respect to government. We work with public sector and corporate clients to execute strategies for owning and managing change