<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/85165.png" alt="" style="display:none;">
Skip to content
The single source of truth for all stakeholder management & engagement.
Tractivity's complete set of features will help you deliver impact.
Deliver a 360° engagement process with Engage-360, Tractivity's engagement portal.
Our onboarding process and ongoing customer support.
Understand your stakeholder relationships with Tractivity's stakeholder mapping module.
Reach the people that matter to you with Tractivity and Mapolitical.


Learn why leading organisations trust Tractivity.

Support patient involvement and work effectively with a wide-ranging number of stakeholders.
Build local community trust and support positive outcomes across multiple projects.
Efficiently engage with all your stakeholders across a range of projects and public consultation.
Manage and build long-term relationships with stakeholders and within communities.
Effectively manage and listen to your stakeholders and show them they are being heard.
Understand what makes your institution unique and support its growth.


Learn why leading organisations trust Tractivity.

Read our customer success stories and discover how our clients are delivering impact with Tractivity.
Attend the UK's only event fully dedicated to Stakeholder Engagement & Management.
Helpful tips, guides and articles about stakeholder engagement, project management and more.
Thought-provoking views and helpful insights from engagement experts on stakeholder engagement.
Free guides, whitepapers, templates and more to help you deliver sustainable outcomes.


Learn why leading organisations trust Tractivity.

stakeholder engagement levels
8 min read

The Levels of Stakeholder Engagement

There are essentially four levels of engagement with stakeholders: informing, consulting, involving, and collaborating.

Your stakeholder engagement strategy must include all of them – at pace and with volume. 

What is the difference between keeping a stakeholder informed as opposed to consulting with them or even collaborating with them?

The difference is the level of engagement required to do each one effectively so that you meet the expectations of each and every stakeholder.

We'll go through each engagement level in detail, highlighting the differences and the best communication channels to be used for each one, as well as the steps you can take to determine the level of engagement required.

Informing/updating stakeholders

At this level, your job is to provide basic information and updates to your stakeholders about the project or decision and keep them informed. The onus is on them to read what you publish.

This is the stakeholder group that needs to be at the minimum level of engagement. Communication is mostly one-way, where stakeholder input is not actively sought (however, transparency and awareness are important).

Stakeholders in the Informing Level show low to moderate interest and have a low level of influence, with limited or no direct influence on the decision-making process.

Post relevant information for them to digest and that they know where to find it:

1. Social Media Corporate Pages. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.

2. Press Release Outlets. If you use an agency to do your press releases, these stakeholders must be informed about how to find them. If you do it internally, a link to an announcement should be pushed to them.

3. Project blogs and company blogs. Show them how to subscribe to the RSS feed
so that the notifications of new content send an automatic notification.

4. Corporate websites. Your project should have a dedicated web page. 

5. Digital newsletters and emails. They should be on the distribution list.

6. Public announcements


Consulting stakeholders

Consulting involves actively seeking stakeholder feedback, opinions, and suggestions. It goes beyond simply informing stakeholders and provides an opportunity for them to express their views.

Stakeholders are asked for their input, and their perspectives are considered in the decision-making process.

These stakeholders present a moderate to high interest in your project, however, a low to moderate influence.

They should be connected to everything you’re doing for the low-Interest/low-influence group as a starter, but beyond that, some additional consulting resources need to be put into play.

You need to demonstrate consideration for their high level of interest - regardless of their lack of influence. Two-way communication is crucial for gathering their feedback, you can use the following communication channels:

1. Discussion forums. Set up online discussion forums for these stakeholders to participate in if they have questions or feel the need to respond to other issues being discussed in the forum.

2. Surveys & questionnaires. Use E-polls, questionnaires and online surveys to gauge their reactions to changes in the projects as announced in the digital media.

3. Public hearings. In-person meetings, such as town hall meetings and public hearings provide a chance for stakeholders who are less familiar with online channels (or have limited access to them) to engage and have their views heard.
The responses/engagement they provide must be analysed and catalogued for future reference. 

You'll need to have a keen sense of perception as to when one of these stakeholders is passionate and knowledgeable about an issue. That’s when you pull them into your inner circle for the required time to allow them to participate.

The stakeholders who show a high level of influence but a low level of interest should get everything mentioned so far, plus a more intimate consulting level of engagement.

Remember, these high-influence/low-interest stakeholders wield influence, and as a result, you want to shape how that influence is used.

  • Share your project issues with them in real time. Their feedback might be very useful.
  • Ask them to review relevant documents in areas that may increase their level of interest. After all, we are always looking for more supporters and champions of the project.
  • Begin the process of targeting them with personalised communications rather than just the RSS feed notification of new content being posted. Invite them directly to review postings that may raise their level of interest.

The concept of “keeping them satisfied” means that not only is perception needed, but you also have to define the role they can play in the project as an advisor, champion, or a provider of funding and services as the need dictates.

They will want something back for their cooperation. Satisfaction is paramount.


Involving stakeholders

Involving stakeholders takes engagement a step further by actively involving them in the decision-making process.

Your stakeholders have a high level of interest and a moderate to high level of influence on your project. Therefore, they are seen as partners rather than mere recipients of information and are given the opportunity to provide input and influence the outcome.

In this level of stakeholder engagement, you recognise they have valuable knowledge, experiences, and perspectives that can significantly enhance the project's outcomes. 

There is an emphasis on building trust, mutual respect, and shared responsibility between your organisation and them, which you can nurture by involving them in brainstorming, problem-solving, and generating ideas. Their contributions will help shape the project's objectives, strategies, and implementation plans.

Communication at this level is a two-way process, where ongoing dialogue and feedback exchange are highly encouraged. You must provide them with timely and relevant information, and in turn, they'll share their concerns, ideas, and suggestions.

Open channels for communication facilitate the flow of information between all parties involved. They include communication channels mentioned in the previous engagement levels, such as workshops, focus groups, and participatory processes, allowing them to contribute meaningfully to your project.

Establish feedback mechanisms to provide your stakeholders with updates on how their input has influenced the project. This feedback loop fosters transparency, demonstrates the value placed on their contributions, and will help you maintain engagement throughout the project's lifecycle.


Collaborating with stakeholders

These are the bread and butter, the highest level of your stakeholder engagement. The collaboration process involves stakeholders with high levels of interest, commitment and influence in your project.

At this stage, your stakeholders are active partners in decision-making, and their input is given equal weight alongside other factors. That means they can participate in shaping the project or decision and share a sense of ownership - so you must treat them as part of your team.

It's important to create a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with them. Here's how you can leverage their collaboration and knowledge:

  • Review the project risk register in real time. Make it available as a shared file and ensure they are notified every time a change is made.
  • Involve them in co-author relevant process documents.
  • Invite them to provide guest posts to your project and company blogs. Take it to the next level by developing a list of topics that might be well-suited to the specific interest they have in your project.
  • Use them as your pseudo-board of directors for the project team management. Share cost, schedule and performance concerns with them and get their feedback and suggestions.
  • Give them a corporate email tied to your project and make sure they are on the distribution list for important information that will serve as a heads-up for pending PR announcements and major project announcements.
  • Make them a part of your internal project management communication channels. If you use a project communication tool like Slack, they should be on it. If you are using a proper task management tool, they should be invited to each task list and given work to accomplish as part of the project schedule.
  • Empower them by building their capacity to engage effectively. You can provide training, resources and support to enhance their understanding of the project and ability to contribute.

Communication channels can include multi-stakeholder forums, joint planning sessions, facilitated workshops, strategic dialogues, and ongoing collaborative platforms.


How to determine the engagement level required for my stakeholders?

Determining the appropriate engagement level for your stakeholders involves assessing their characteristics, needs, interests, and potential impact on your project or decision.

Start by identifying who your stakeholders are - those individuals, groups and organisations who have an interest, are affected by or can influence your project and its outcome.

Then move to analysing and categorising them. Consider factors such as their knowledge, resources, position, expertise, and the extent to which they will be affected by the project.

After working on analysing and categorising them, you can use the stakeholder mapping technique to segment them according to their level of interest, influence, expertise, and potential impact on your project.

Finally, with this information in hand, you will be able to create stakeholder groups based on what each one of them expects regarding their desired level of involvement. 

It's important to note that the levels of stakeholder engagement are not always linear or strictly sequential. Depending on the context, different levels may be appropriate for different stages of a project or decision-making process.

Stakeholders can change levels throughout the duration of a project, especially if it's one with a long duration. This is why it's essential to review your stakeholder identification and mapping on a frequent basis - new stakeholders may surface and existing ones can change their interests and opinions.

Some stakeholders may require a higher level of engagement due to their level of influence, expertise, or potential impact on the project, and specific levels of interest, influence, and communication channels can vary depending on the context and stakeholders involved.



Improve your stakeholder engagement with the right engagement tool

Stakeholder engagement tools must support and facilitate your communication based on the different levels of engagement your stakeholder groups require.

Tractivity offers all the digital communication tools you need to manage and engage with your stakeholders across all levels in a single system.

Contact us to discover how we can help you take your stakeholder engagement to the next level.

Related Articles