3. Identifying and understanding stakeholders

This step involves identifying the stakeholders you wish to communicate or connect with and understanding their motivations and interests.


  • Identify the stakeholders you wish to advocate to – these can be individuals or groups who have power or influence and can be reached by you or your allies.
  • Identify the stakeholders you wish to prioritise.
  • Identify any allies who can help you reach these stakeholders, including your own staff.
  • Go beyond identifying – try to understand their needs, interests and motivations.
  • Create key messages for these stakeholders using evidence of your impact.

Guidance and resources

Our Reviewing and engaging your stakeholders resource, which features practical tools to identify your stakeholders and understand their needs.

‘Advocacy and awareness for archivists’ by Kathleen Roe, Society of American Archivists (2019). Chapters 4 and 5 are strong on understanding stakeholders and developing messages.

Kathleen Roe talking about archives advocacy at the Arizona Archives Alliance (2014). This presentation has an emphasis on tailoring your message for different stakeholders.

Kathleen Roe talking on the Archives in Context podcast (Season 2, Episode 6) by the Society of American Archivists (2019). Part of this podcast features Kathleen Roe talking about developing a series of elevator pitches for different stakeholders (starts at 23:07).

‘Many happy returns: advocacy and the development of archives’ by L. J. Hackman, Society of American Archivists (2011). Pages 32 to 39 focus on identifying internal advocates, treating the ‘decision maker above the archives as a prime subject of advocacy’ and finding external allies.

Case study

In Case Study 3, the archive brings together its key stakeholders and champions into an advisory group.