NGO communications: 7 things to never do again

02/02/2015 at 7:49 am Leave a comment


At Dóchas, we are keen to change the way people in Ireland think – and speak – about global development.

We know that public support in Ireland is unusually high but that many people think “development” is a matter only of aid, charity and generosity. Our research shows that the majority of people in Ireland do not think their day-to-day lives have any impact on poor countries. And we know that people are increasingly wondering whether overseas aid really works.

So we think it is time to change the way NGOs speak about their work, and to make more explicit linkages between decisions here (by consumers, politicians, companies) and poverty “there”.

We began by developing a Code of Conduct for NGO communications (and we have recently produced this Guide for the implementation of the Code), and then we did some research to analyse the way Irish NGOs really speak.

And then we started a new service, focusing on all the positive news from developing countries.

We did not do this on our own. In fact, we got lots of inspirations from others:

And our colleagues in Italy, inspired by the Narrative Project, came up with “7 things to not do ever again”:

  1. To think that only the results of our projects can get people to support cooperation;
  2. Use pity and induce guilt in public opinion with respect to poverty;
  3. Use the word “Help”;
  4. Starting a story starting with the “Problem”;
  5. Use too long periods of time to achieve the results (by 2030, in 15 years, etc.);
  6. Minimise the problem of corruption;
  7. Justify development cooperation with problems of national security and immigration.


Read more about the Narrative Project:


Also read:

The Narrative Project also suggests 4 key values to form the heart of any public communications about Global Development:





Entry filed under: Gloabalisation, NGOs. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Understanding aid dynamics: Are aid allocations truly based on need? This blog is moving!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 217 other followers


Dóchas on Twitter

The World's Best News - images

One of the most important graphs. Ever.
Today is World Food Day. A day to celebrate that the days of truly enormous famines are over:
Meet "Chocolate Mamas", producers of chocolate in #Tanzania, creating Tanzanian jobs. While #cocoa is grown in West Africa and Asia, most #chocolate (the finished product) is made in Europe or the USA. Meet Jaki Kweka, who is trying to change that.
By creating protected areas and national parks and by limiting the spread of soy bean cultivation, Brazil has managed to drastically reduce the amount of rain forest being cleared.
Costa Rica, #Afghanistan, China, #India and Albania are all embracing renewable energy sources.
Social change needs empowered citizens, and empowered citizens need occasional encouragement. Great to hear that we're not the only ones who believe in the power of positive news!
50,000 rice farmers in #IvoryCoast are now working with better seeds, improving food security in the West African country. As a result, harvests have increased. Source: World Bank, photo: Jbdodane / CC BY
Sub-Saharan Africa’s first light rail system starts operations. As Ethiopians celebrate their New Year, they also prepare to mark the beginning of operations of a tram system in the #Ethiopian capital #AddisAbaba. Read more:
Going Mobile in #Malawi”. A mobile phone information service established last year to provide timely information to rural poor farmers in a southern African country, has been used nearly half a million times since its launch. Established in Malawi by Gorta-Self Help Africa last year, the ‘321’ voice-activated service provides subscribers to the country’s largest mobile phone network with farm information and advice that they can access at the push of a button. And it’s all free.
10,000 copies of "The World's Best News" were distributed all over #ireland today! See how The Irish Times described our newspaper, and click the link to read all the articles online!

Visitors Map


Dóchas Photos

%d bloggers like this: