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7 ways we help our Consumers International members


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Consumers International (CI) exists because of its membership. Since CI's creation in 1950, the goal of this international fraternity of consumer rights groups has been to serve and support the needs of its member organisations. The method and means by which this is done may have changed significantly over the years, but the value we place on enhancing the effectiveness of members' campaigns, broadening their influence and supporting their development remains central.

A huge variety of organisations make up Consumers International. Our largest member has 500 staff and an annual turnover of USD160 million. Some of our smallest members are made up of no more than one or two volunteers, using a living room as a campaigns office. We have over 220 members representing more than 110 countries across the world, with two-thirds of our membership active in the developing world.

For us to truly represent all these interests; and to fairly claim to be 'the global voice for consumers', we must find ways of providing value to all of these organisations.

Here are some of the various ways in which we do this.

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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7 ways we help our Consumers International members

  1. 1. 7 ways we work for our Consumers International members
  2. 2. 1 Helping members achieve their campaign goals <ul><li>Providing international support for national consumer rights advocacy is the bedrock of CI. We do this is in a number of ways: from providing accreditation to international governing bodies like the UN, WHO, ISO and G20, and expert advice on how these frameworks function, to coordinating consumer group delegations to major international summits. We also facilitate requests from global governing bodies for consumer group engagement in their processes. </li></ul>
  3. 3. 1 <ul><li>We have brought together national consumer groups to successfully lobby the WHO for better junk food marketing guidelines for national legislators. We have helped provide consumer group access and influence on a range of ISO working groups, putting our members at the very heart of the standards-setting agenda. And in 2011, CI members helped secure new global GMO guidelines, meaning all consumer groups have a greater chance of lobbying successfully for GM labelling at the national level. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no clearer indication of CI ’ s campaigning value than our successful lobbying of the G20 to recognise the need to address financial consumer protection. </li></ul>
  4. 4. 2 Providing members with access to and expertise on the international scene <ul><li>As the only global consumer organisation, we are the entry point for consumer groups wishing to lobby international governing bodies. This provides members with accreditation to over 30 international bodies and their relevant sub-committees. </li></ul><ul><li>This is a unique value to our membership and something that cannot be accessed at a national or regional level. </li></ul>
  5. 5. 3 Our network gives members the opportunity to learn from others <ul><li>CI provides unprecedented opportunities for our members to exchange ideas with each other, and hear from other stakeholders too. </li></ul><ul><li>The flagship networking event for CI is the World Congress – the 2011 event attracting over 500 delegates from 80 countries, providing members with world-class speakers and cutting-edge debate. But we also arrange regular regional meetings, campaign dialogues and policy consultations designed to get members fully involved in tackling common concerns. </li></ul>
  6. 6. 3 <ul><li>We also facilitate the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue, helping consumer groups in the EU and North America construct shared policy goals. </li></ul><ul><li>On the CI website not only is there an advanced search facility offering a range of ways for users to find details of member organisations, but we regularly feature global member activity on our homepage, and member expert commentary via our blogs. </li></ul><ul><li>We have dedicated online services in English and Spanish, with selected content in French, and further materials in Arabic, Chinese, Russian and more. </li></ul><ul><li>We seek to provide optimum value and support by utilising the best of new and social media tools . These include Blogspot, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, together with newsletters and email updates. </li></ul>
  7. 7. 4 Helping to develop strong consumer advocates <ul><li>Being a CI member organisation means having access to world-class consumer rights expertise , both from within CI and through the member network. We are able to draw on over 50 years of experience and over 220 organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>We are currently working with members to develop landmark consumer protection in a number of countries. </li></ul><ul><li>Through the Rhoda Karpatkin internship scheme, we have been able to give young consumer advocates placements at the CI office in London, offering them a unique insight into the consumer movement. </li></ul><ul><li>The Member support section of the CI website offers dozens of guides and support documents specifically tailored by CI for the needs of our membership. </li></ul>
  8. 8. 5 Helping you find longer-term support <ul><li>CI has a small, highly dedicated fundraising team. Working across the international donor landscape, they have an expert knowledge of how and where to access appropriate government, foundation and institutional funding bodies . </li></ul><ul><li>CI ’ s unique position as an international NGO, as well as a UK charity, gives us a level of donor access that national organisations could not secure on their own. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2007-2011 CI secured £2.76 million in donor project funds. 71% of all the money CI raised outside of member fees has gone directly into the work of our membership. The remaining 29% covers the costs of CI campaigns, projects, communications and support staff, who are crucial to the successful delivery of these funded programmes. </li></ul>
  9. 9. 6 We provide support staff at every level <ul><li>Our projects team offers assistance to all members involved in CI ’ s funded activities. From understanding compliance procedures, to coordinating joint reports the projects staff are here to ensure donor expectations are met and that member organisations get the most out of the experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Our campaigns and communications teams represent and lobby for our headline campaigns at the international level and provide CI members with research data, campaign activity materials, press briefings, publications and promotional media. </li></ul><ul><li>CI ’ s member services staff are here to help with enquiries about being a CI member, gaining governing body accreditation, using our services and engaging with the international movement. </li></ul>
  10. 10. 7 Making sure members are heard <ul><li>Our members ’ priorities must be reflected in our own. To make sure this is always the case we conduct regular surveys of member CEOs and expert opinion on everything from campaign topics to social media strategies. </li></ul><ul><li>Our regional offices for Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean are in regular consultation with our members in those regions, giving them access to like-minded organisations, and ensuring our global objectives are reflective of their needs. </li></ul><ul><li>We are a democratic organisation. Every Full member has the opportunity to stand for election to the CI council and executive board , who in turn set the overall objectives for the organisation. Such accountability is at the heart of our ways of working. </li></ul>
  11. 11. More ways CI helps members <ul><li>Read the full descriptions of the 7 ways we work for ourConsumers International members . </li></ul><ul><li>Visit the Member activity section for news on what other members are doing around the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Browse the Global activity section to see the breadth of our work around the world. </li></ul><ul><li>See how Consumers International is helping to strengthen the consumer movement around the world and Building better consumer organisations . </li></ul>