In this article, we talk about how you can analyse the stakeholders in your activist campaign using power mapping.
📚 This guide is part of a series on campaign strategy.
When you map out the stakeholders in your campaign, allies are the stakeholders you can work with, build alliances with, and share resources with. Constituents are “the community”: the people you want to side with your position and help apply pressure to your target. Your target is often a decision maker: someone who can give you the change you want. In representative democracies these are often politicians, ministers, or members of parliament. Sometimes we have limited capacity to influence our primary targets, so it can useful to identify secondary targets: stakeholders who have more direct influence with the primary target. If your primary target is the CEO of a corporation, then your secondary targets might include shareholders.
A power map can be a useful reference and shared analysis during a campaign. This is a simple tool to identify where key stakeholders (allies, targets, opponents and constituents) stand in relation to your campaign objective, and their relative levels of influence.
These are, in the context of strategy, always people. Whether the politicians whose decisions we’re trying to influence, or managers of companies who leave us no choice but to organize a strike. Bear this in mind when thinking about targets. You want to know the culture, goals and purpose of institutions you’re aiming to put pressure on. Targets can be broadly categorized as primary and secondary, primary being the decision-makers you want to influence and secondary being all potential allies and people who would benefit from the changes you’re trying to install as well as people with influence over the issue who are not decision-makers (institutions).
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Creative Commons resources
Power mapping by Beautiful Trouble
Power Mapping and Analysis by Anita Tang
Making a power map at the start of your advocacy campaign by Public Lab
Power mapping by The Change Agency
Power mapping template by The Change Agency
Spectrum of allies
- Spectrum of Allies by Nadine Bloch
Identifying and Analyzing Stakeholders and Their Interests by Community Tool Box
Involving People Most Affected by the Problem by Community Tool Box
Involving Key Influentials in the Initiative by Community Tool Box
Pillars of Power Analysis: Identify the Institutions by Beautiful Trouble
The Four Roles of Social Activism by Bill Moyer
Exploring Roles in Social Movements by Holly Hammond
Power Mapping Your Way to Success by Union of Concerned Scientists
Chapter: Power Mapping Power Mapping, Charting Strategic Relationships Charting Strategic Relationships by DFA Training Academy
Collection: Create a power map by Creative Equity Toolkit
Introduction to Power Mapping by Center for Nonprofit Management
Power Mapping: A Tool for Strategy & Influence by the Bonner Network
PDF: Power points by Llano Del Rio
A Guide to Power Mapping by GetUp
Activities to Deepen Your Power-Building Analysis by Human Impact Partners
Academic: The power mapping tool, a method for the empirical research of power relations by Eva Schiffer
Using power mapping to campaign effectively for change by Aggie Taylor (2023)
The following organisations offer training about power mapping:
Also check out our list of other training organisations.