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Networks and advocacy

A short outline of the pros and cons of networking for civil society organisations and a link to advocacy with lessons drawn from social networking sites.

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Networks and advocacy

  1. 1. Networks and Advocacy <ul><li>Tamsin Rose </li></ul><ul><li>October 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Tamarack Ltd </li></ul>
  2. 2. Networks ? Connecting similarities Connecting differences
  3. 3. Finding the right structure A network could contain unique, separate but connected and cooperating organisations
  4. 4. Many forms and many reasons <ul><li>Communities of practice </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge networks </li></ul><ul><li>Sectoral networks </li></ul><ul><li>Regional or geographic networks </li></ul><ul><li>Social change/advocacy networks </li></ul><ul><li>Service delivery networks </li></ul>
  5. 5. The upside of networking <ul><li>Size matters: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts </li></ul><ul><li>Greater impact and visibility </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation and retention of staff </li></ul><ul><li>Inspiration, creativity and new ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthened teamwork, shared tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Upgraded skills and qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Mobilise new resources </li></ul>
  6. 6. Downsides to networking <ul><li>An ongoing time investment needed to build and maintain relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Dilution of own issues or values in order to reach group consensus </li></ul><ul><li>Inequalities of input (resources, time), power or access can undermine the network ‘ethos’ </li></ul><ul><li>Lower visibility and space for members’ issues </li></ul><ul><li>Different end-points for campaigns or activities </li></ul>
  7. 7. Reasons for civil society to network Practical : better access to information; status and attractiveness for donors and policy-makers; economies of scale; shared negotiating power Ideological : solidarity for smaller organisations; building common guidelines, methodologies or quality standards; unified voice of coherence for civil society Pragmatic: raised visibility of common issues; sharing experiences, contacts and ideas; common lobbying platform; reducing risks and avoiding duplication
  8. 8. <ul><li>CSR EUROPE has 23 national partner organisations representing almost 1800 companies </li></ul>Even big companies find it useful to network…
  9. 9. Chanelling the recent outrage ONLINE PETITION to Chinese President and UN Security Council: 803,734 signatures from 192 countries Since 17 October, 225,000 Euros raised Facebook, Support the monks in Burma Group 24/09/2007 3,500 Members 24/10/2007 432,479 Members
  10. 10. Networking tools: PR, advocacy and campaigns Public Relations is about ‘free’ (not paid for) media visibility. It may cover ‘who we are, what we stand for, what we do, where we work’ . Advocacy is speaking, writing and acting to promote a cause, interest or group. ‘ What do we want to say, who we want to influence, how will we reach them’ . A campaign is a series of actions to achieve a goal. ‘What do we want to change, when and how, what would the final result be like’.
  11. 11. Lessons from social networking sites <ul><li>Innovate with lots of small, concrete and low-threshold ways people can get involved </li></ul><ul><li>Empower your users to be creative in how they participate and help keep them engaged </li></ul><ul><li>Set clear rules on acceptable behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage your members to act as multipliers to get their contacts involved </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your issue facts and messages simple </li></ul>
  12. 12. Key learning points <ul><li>There may be many sub-groups within networks </li></ul><ul><li>Allow different levels of participation </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership matters; senior support is essential </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t overplan, allow the network to evolve </li></ul><ul><li>Find ways to keep up the momentum and provide ways for people to contribute </li></ul><ul><li>Build achievable milestones and celebrate the achievements </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate regularly internally and externally </li></ul><ul><li>Seize opportunities to promote the network </li></ul>

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