Stakeholders are those individuals and groups that are important to the community. This takes on many forms – from local government who are gatekeepers to locals who have specialist knowledge to groups who are just fun to socialise with. It is important to identify these people and organisations the community will interact with and consider how to keep the relationships with them solid. This affects resilience too: the more stakeholders involved, the more resilient your community will be.
Conventional business models see a left-to-right flow of goods to customers from suppliers who provide one specific value-addition. Permaculture finance sees the relationships more in the way animals in an eco-system interact – mutualism – with a variety of exchanges back and forth. Another characteristic being reciprocity. Relationships are not seen in strict terms such as customers and suppliers, rather in terms of stakeholder partners.
There are some important categories of stakeholders to recognise – ones that for example can exchange information more than goods. Ones that will be more interested in providing external capital – loans – perhaps for a percentage return as money or in the form of rebated services. Others will be interested in sharing assets
For example: a village might be interested in sharing a mini-bus service with an eco-village.
Do a quick analysis of stakeholders and see if you can match them to:
- Ownership of objects
- Use for units of output
- Sources of financial capital
- Sources of other capital
- Other needs that might be met by the community
- Stakeholder’s capability to meet community needs.
- Common areas of intention.
You may want to categorise them depending on how much influence they exert over key issues and how much interest they have in you. See the diagram above for a suggestions for strategies for dealing with different types of stakeholders. These comprise:
- Keeping informed
- Keeping satisfied
- Managing closely