Communication’ is increasingly becoming a challenge for NGOs.
Our mailbox is full of queries from NGOs in Pakistan and around the world; who are interested in learning more about how to communicate effectively with a development perspective. It is because of the significance that communication is gaining in the development sector now.
Faced with a rapidly changing media environment, advances in information and communication technologies, and growing calls for transparency and accountability – as well as demands from donors that are more anxious for visibility and recognition – NGOs are stressed to find new and effective means of communication to reach out to their stakeholders.
Experience suggests that organizations who are more committed to communication are likely to achieve their goals and remain sustainable than those who do not have it.
It is encouraging to see that, gradually NGOs are coming up to address these needs through innovative and daring approaches. Internally, organizations are trying to connect more frequently with staff, board members, senior management, or even vendors. Whereas externally, they are going an extra mile to interact with communities, beneficiaries, donors, Government, media, and the larger civil society. It is definitely a positive development to see more and more PCDC members committing themselves to develop and implement a vibrant communication strategy, in order to remain effective, efficient, and sustainable in these times of recessions and growing competition for resources.
What it Measures?
This tool measures the status and effectiveness of an organization’s communication policies and practices in the following capacity and sub-capacity areas.
- Governance: Communication Policy, Leadership Commitment, Budget, Targets, Visibility, Relations with Stakeholders, Physical Space, Functional Structure
- Efficiency & Effectiveness: Monitoring & Evaluation, Audience Selection, Message Development, Effectiveness Measurement, Learning Environment, Context & Competition, Tools Selection, Damage Control Mechanisms
- Human Resource: Number of Staff, Skills, Credibility, Capacity Building
- Tools: Presentations, Brochures, Website, Social Media, Newsletter, Publications, Documentaries, Radio & TV Programmes, Public Events, Promotional Items, Official Stationary, SMS, Hoardings & Banners, Campaign Materials, Posters
- Integration: Cross-Cutting Issues, Participation by Staff, needs Assessment, Support for Resource Mobilization, Civil Society Networking, Public-Private Partnership, Participation in Implementation, Coordination
- Media Relations: Media as Development Partner, Media Coverage, Staff Capacity, Confidence on Media, parity
- Branding: Policy, Consistency, Trademark, Brand Elements
- Technology Environment: Resources, Technology Plan, Archives, e-Policy
How it Works?
The ‘Organizational Communication Scorecard’ is designed to make you think about communication in a different way. With little time and effort, you can do a comprehensive status-check for communication within your organization.
Simple in its approach, the tool can highlight challenging areas for communication and help in finding practical solutions for them. The tool is both evaluative and formative in nature.
It is evaluative as it can provide a “snapshot” of where your organizations currently stand in terms of its communication capacity or performance. With this tool, you can get a candid assessment of your CSOs capacity for or performance of, essential communications practices.
Simultaneously, the tool is formative as it can point out areas in which your NGO needs to improve its performance. It can help you determine what is working well, what is not, and what might work better if adjustments are made.
This tool can help you analyze the situation either individually or in groups. However, it would be better if the assessment is carried out in a group setting so as to enable the group to make informed choices about your organizations’ capacities.
Why Communication Capacity Scorecard?
Having an effective communication strategy is not an easy task. I have seen a number of times that if internal communication is unplanned and lacks strategic connection, it may lead to frequent errors in planning and execution of activities, demoralized teams, low resource mobilization, and high staff turnover.
On the other hand, faulty external communication can ruin an organization’s reputation and funding base instantly. Sometimes, it even jeopardizes the very existence of the organization itself.
It may help in bringing fresh insight and infuse new energy. For the new-comers who have prospects of success (sound leadership, clear vision, commitment etc), this tool can help to achieve goals quickly. A major benefit of Scorecard is that it forces an organization to look at what it is really doing as opposed to what it believes it is doing.
Organizations that had used the Scorecard, found it useful for enhancing motivation, commitment and efficiency within the organization. Through this tool, you get a realistic assessment of your organization’s communication environment, based on the perspectives of your stakeholders. The Scorecard can give you many benefits like;
SWOT: Identification of an organization’s communication strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Knowledge Management: Suggestions to enhance capture, storage, retrieval and learning of organizational intellectual assets.
Consensus: Increase in organization-wide agreement on strategic and functional messages for different needs and audiences.
Alignment: Improved understanding of the extent to your team members and management making connections between their daily tasks and the organization’s strategy and performance.
Impact: More effective communication with stakeholders by asking questions like are we sending the right messages, through the right tools, at the right time, to the right people?. A summary of results, including scores, key themes, and recommendations on how to improve your communication effectiveness.
Coordination: Consistent, correct and timely sharing of information improves the quality of how leaders and managers communicate with staff and other stakeholders.
Transparency: More access to information for stakeholders by looking at questions like is communication across the organization timely? Two-way? Accessible for all?
Efficiency: To what extent do communication programs and processes enable staff members to perform well and have a positive impact on beneficiaries?
Baseline: Availability of indicators to build upon effective system development plans for the future.
Sustainability: The assessment will inform you about how you can make your organizational communication more efficient and professional to mobilize resources.
Who Can Use This Tool?
The Scorecard is particularly useful for intermediary NGOs, CSOs, Foundations, Professional Associations and Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives.