Stakeholder Mapping for Advocacy Campaigns

One of the main goals of the HEAT project is to create integrated urban plans for healthier cities based on input and participation from residents of the cities and regions where the project is being implemented. In order for these plans to be accepted and hopefully become reality, key decision-makers and players will need to be on board and help to support the plans in each of the cities and regions. To create and encourage this type of political will we need to know who these actors are. A useful tool when trying to identify key players and have them supporting and working for your cause is stakeholder mapping.

The project partners of HEAT have done their own stakeholder mappings these past few months as a lead up to the HEAT partners’ upcoming advocacy campaigns. The results from the four participating cities and regions was presented and discussed by the project group in an online seminar coordinated by Cykelfrämjandet on March 27th 2019.

What is Stakeholder Mapping?

Stakeholder mapping is about understanding who decision-makers and key players are, but also about mapping who the people that don’t have much influence but are interested in the success of the project and its aims are. All of these actors are potential stakeholders in the project or initiative. In the case of HEAT, they are relevant for the development of our advocacy campaigns for healthier urban cities.

How is it done?

There are many different methods for stakeholder mapping. For the method used in the HEAT project, partners ranked stakeholders on a matrix with a scale of 1-10 for the two axes of influence and interest. Stakeholders with high numbers (above 5) for both influence and interest represent the key players. These are the actors which can have a crucial role in for a successful advocacy campaign.

         Stakeholder mapping matrix

Results from the process

In total 150 actors were mapped by the project group with 48 key players being identified. An important part of the process is to ask the question “who can influence this particular goal?” and to not just consider established allies and partners. HEAT partners were therefore encouraged to think outside of the box when considering potential stakeholders, which yielded some creative results. Actors as disparate as bloggers, food market chains, local hotels and automobile touring clubs where mapped in addition to the more readily apparent government, cycling and advocate groups.

Other relevant exercises connected to stakeholder mapping include initiatives mapping, influence mapping and Actor-Network theory – all of which played a role in the stakeholder mapping done by the members of HEAT.

Take-aways from the mapping

Chairman of Cykelfrämjandet Lars Strömgren, who has led the stakeholder mapping process, shared a few take-away thoughts during the online results seminar for the upcoming advocacy campaigns:

  • Evaluate an actor’s interest both on a rhetorical level and an “action” level. What do they actually do to promote cycling, mobility and/or healthy urban planning?
  • Look for unexpected and surprising partnerships – these will create more attention for a campaign.
  • See which actors you can connect with to make your campaign relevant for a larger target group rather than only reaching those who are already convinced.
  • Consider which partnerships are the most important for your cause and for you to spend time on to reach your goal.


Project coordinator Emilia Sternberg