Some guidelines for an effective organization

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Some guidelines for an effective organization

Some guidelines for an effective organization v20111125c

Dealing with Energy

The amount of energy available in a voluntary organization is very limited. Energy management is a key element for success within an organization. It has to be compared with the investment money management of a corporation.

Example: Ademloos (Breathless in English) , the organization behind the successful “Oosterweel referendum” in Antwerp, Belgium.

After a two years period the new brand name became widely known by nearly 100% of the citizens in Antwerp. The brand name (Ademloos) explains the aim of the organization. The main aim of the organization is to promote less traffic in the city of Antwerp, therefore leading to less pollution. The organization only consisted of 4 members (the rest are active sympathizers) therefore this means the resources, energy and personnel within the organization are not wasted on internal administration.

The energy input needs to be balanced in comparison to the estimated output, this is for all planned actions.

During a 13 week period, which consisted of 40 hours a week, 5000 signatures (average/person) were collected. Another technique that was adopted was by using volunteers to letter drop. This gave a 80% response when organized well but this came at a financial cost.

The method for the letter drop was tested in 3 samples -The Letters signed by doctors in medicine gave the best result -In envelop -The way the letter was folded seemed to impact results -Personalized as much as possible, referring to the neighborhood,.. -Using fluorescent markers to highlight Important words/sentences -Neighborhood collection points had to be within very close proximity (as close as possible)

They collected 66.158 signatures in total and 49.003 were proved valid. They needed 47.091 signatures, being 10 % of the citizens of Antwerp, that way forcing a referendum about the planned motorway.

Another technique that was adopted was the use of internet blogs Three organizational volunteers were continuously browsing the internet and newspapers and were posting blogs. During posting blogs the ‘ I like” was extensively pushed, this allowed the related messages to reach, and stay, at the top of the pile.

Various helpers were continuously updating the website with various relevant messages. At its peak the website had more than 2000 individual hits per day.

If the internet is used effectively then it has a good energy input/output relation

All incoming mails were answered regardless of the content. If an abusive mail was received then the response given was in a positive format. This often gave a positive final results.

It was felt that an important factor was to contact people from organizations with large mailing list, who were interested in the aim of the organization. Once this was established they gave indirect access to their mailing list. The positives of doing this where the fact that the day to day running of the mailing list was completed by the host organization.

The Name of the organization

- The name of the organization has to be as close as possible to the aim of the organization. “the name is what we stand for” The more difference between the name and the aim of the organization, the more energy and means are needed to explain what the organization is about. If the choice of the name is correct, then the explanation of the aim of the organization takes no energy at all. The name has to be as specific as possible The spontaneous associations with the name has to be checked If there are spontaneous associations there is no additional energy needed to explain the aim of the organization

Examples :

Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Doctors without borders, …

Avoid “container” notions like “democracy” , this can mean almost anything. Or “Occupy”, Self Determination, etc…

- Test the spontaneous associations with the name.

All energy that has to be put in the explanation of the organizational aims is wasted if it can be done by the choice of the name of the organization.

With a strong focus of the end goal (example: direct democracy on the highest governmental level) we can loose everybody who is on the way to the end goal. We must try to appeal to the greatest number of people who are maybe willing to engage on a smaller goal (communal democracy, petition, etc..).

- What are the possibilities of the organization. - Think tank - Activist wing - Activist organization

This is a good combination because they reinforce each other:

The think tank explain and defends the basic fundamentals of the organization aim. The activists are “loading up” the brand name with each action or contact.

Loading up a Brand

Reinforcement of the brand name, e.g. The tiger as a symbol for ESSO. The marketing strategy can be financially very costly .

You are “loading up” your brand with actions, if no or little financial means Every brand has to be “loaded up” (publicity) When there is an opportunity for action you have to react quickly (organize) Be selective in your actions (energy management - cost/profit analysis)

In order to stay alive as an organization you have to achieve

For the volunteers it is important to achieve, otherwise they will lose motivation and drop out. Therefore it is important to choose targets that are achievable with the means of the organization. Therefore the choice of targets is important. Therefore one has to distinguish between the ultimate goal and the steps towards that goal. Each step has to give satisfaction and be rewarding for the team.

It is also important to have “ambassadors”.

In the case of “Ademloos” they made the choice to deliver specialized information to a professor who became an authority on the “Oosterweel” subject in this way. But there was no other relationship. That way he stayed an “independent” authority on the subject when he was interviewed by the media.

--Paul Nollen 17:56, 6 January 2012 (UTC)