Most commonly, service users or recipients of a service are considered to be stakeholders of the service. In social impact measurement, any individual, group, or even entity that affects, or are effected by the activity or service to be evaluated are considered to be stakeholders.
This includes service users or recipients, but also can include their families or friends, the communities in which they live, and the wider society. It can also include funders, investors and service commissioners, as well as more indirect stakeholders such as government. In some cases, the environment could be considered to be a stakeholder of some activities.
Common to all social impact measurement methods is a need to engage with stakeholders to understand the outcomes they experience; for that reason, it is necessary in all approaches to consider which stakeholders will be included in any assessment; and to understand the relationships between different stakeholders. For example, though a project may wish to undertake a social impact assessment for the sake of a funder, and though that funder is clearly a stakeholder of the project, the funder is unlikely to experience a significant amount of direct change due to the project. However, the funder is very likely to be interested in understanding the outcomes experienced by the project service users, and so an assessment that focuses on this stakeholder group will be of value to them.