A stakeholder is anyone with an investment in the project – an artist, a funder, a participant, an audience.
When thinking about stakeholders, it is important to recognise the distinction between the direct participants in the project and the organisation that might support the participants or other stakeholders that might be vital to the project. While you might talk to a youth group or an active age group about working together, you will often also be talking to support workers, development officers, or others that support the group rather than, or as well as, the group themselves. It’s helpful to make the distinction between the different stakeholder goals and the type of project the participants might be interested in.
Irrespective of the starting point however, anyone that is essential to the project - artists; individuals; members of a community; interest groups or agencies – may all need to be approached at some point with a view to contributing to the partnership in some form.
Until more comprehensive and detailed roles and responsibilities are identified at later stages, at this point, whoever initiates the project will generally take a leadership role by default. Those invited into the project will seek clarity about the terms on which they are to be involved – what the project is, what their role is, and what is expected of them.
It is imperative that, before long, the group you are working with – or key members within the group – demonstrate their commitment to the project and are willing to advocate for it and drive it forward with the same conviction as you are. If the project has been initiated by a funder, or by you, and the participants remain unconvinced of its value, the project will not be able to move forward. It is vital to recognise when this is the case. Early intervention will often redress any concerns that exist, but it is not always possible, and if this is the case, it is better to know that sooner rather than later.