INFORMATION LEAFLET NO. 10
Communication has three parts: a sender, a
message and a receiver
Make sure you communicate with the right
Trust is the basis of any
It is not important to be
Why do you want to work together with other NGOs? Discuss this question inside your NGO but also with the NGOs you want to work with. Determining the goal of the co-operation is the first step.
In general, organisations do not feel appreciated when they are only involved in the later stages of an activity. If you want to co-operate with others, you must be ready to give away some responsibility. Doing it together means that you will not have control over the whole process anymore.
The first step to an effective communication
with outsiders such as the state, possible fund-giving institutions or
another NGO is to be sure about the receiver of the communication.
Who is the person you should talk to, what is his/her position in the
organisation, what kind of an organisation is it?
Be aware of the emotional differences between visiting, phoning, writing, faxing and e-mailing. A phone call is not considered as official as a letter or a fax, while e-mail is somewhere in between. Choose consciously for a personal letter or a circular letter. In general a circular letter is not considered as important as a personal letter, addressed to a specific person in a specific organisation. Personal contact, by phone or visit, always has the highest effect. Check with any call, letter, fax or e-mail that the other person has your correct and complete return address, your phone number and your name.
If you want to work together, it is a good
idea to visit each other's activities.
The best ways of working together always involve reciprocity. This means that you will only succeed in fixing a deal when the other gets something out of it too. Think of the possible benefits of the co-operation to the partner. Does your project do something that the other has to do anyway, are you reaching a specific group of people that are otherwise hard to reach, etc. In the UNITED information leaflet No 1 'Shake your Money Maker' you can find other tips for presenting your project to a fund-giving institution.
To keep people interested, you need to inform them about your work. Be careful to whom you send information and think about what information is useful for that person. When you send information, it is a good opportunity to call and explain details of the information. In doing so, you create a personal link between the other person and yourself.
Inside an NGO you have a common goal. Be aware of the fact that not all people will see that goal in exactly the same way. People will work together better if they have planned together, if they are involved in the future of the organisation.
If you want to improve the communication between people it is very important to build an atmosphere in which people feel comfortable. They must feel that people are interested in each other and they must feel able to trust each other. One way of doing that is by reserving time for personal matters, for talking and doing social things together. But do not exaggerate, people should still be working towards a common goal and not just because they are friends.
You can organise office meetings, in which the work is discussed and tasks are distributed. Do not organise too many, only hold meetings when there is enough to discuss. Be sure to make an agenda beforehand and minutes or task list afterwards.
A network is a collection of contacts that are not hierarchical. They are not based on someone having power over someone else. Contacts and activities of persons in a network are always voluntary. This does not mean that there is not someone with responsibility, or someone 'in charge'. It only means that there is not one person that is in charge all the time. The responsibilities change, sometimes one person is responsible, sometimes another. A network does not involve much bureaucracy, it's goal is to be effective, dynamic and action-oriented.
It is very important to keep your information up-to-date. You have to know who you want to communicate with in your network, where this person can be reached, etc. It is vital to build a database of contacts.
In general a network does not work if you wait for others to take action, even if they have promised to do so. You need to take the initiative. You will have to keep taking the initiative for a while. You will have to GIVE a long time before you can RECEIVE.
Networking functions only partially on a
rational level. Part of the communication is based on personal and
emotional relationships. While it is not totally impossible to work
with people you dislike, it is much easier to build a network with people
you like. Be aware of your own emotional response to people.
2. Showing interest:
3. Organising meeting
As a network UNITED tries to improve its own communication on a daily basis. You can help too. As we have said before the first step to networking is being interested, and exchanging information. UNITED is very interested in your information. Keep sending it!
UNITED's basic tools for communication and networking include the European Address book Against Racism, the Calendar of Internationalism, campaign material (posters, stickers, post cards), the web site (http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/) and E-News (the e-mailing list)
This information leaflet has been based on a training course on "Communication and networking" being held 28th till 30th of June 1996 in Piriul Rece, Romania. The training formed part of the UNITED project "Cooperation against nationalism" aimed especially at Central and Eastern Europe.