It can be difficult for organisations which develop an information system (IS) for use by many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to recruit SME personnel during IS design. The paper addresses this problem by exploring the nature of relationships that organisational stakeholders can use to recruit SME personnel during IS design, which has received little attention in the literature. We present an interpretive, revelatory case study of the insights from managers and field officers who recruited SME farmers during the design of an inter-organisational IS. We identified three relationship types, based on an existing framework in the literature derived from stakeholder theory: between managers of organisations; between managers and field officers; and between field officers and farmers. We extend this framework by incorporating relationship attributes based on social capital concepts: ties, shared cognition, structure, homophily and bridging capital. We found that the complex interplay of the three relationship types, and the degree of strength of the social capital attributes of these relationships, help explain how farmers were recruited into, or were discouraged from participating in, a lengthy IS design process.