Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) perform a vital role in society – bridging the gap between the state and the profit-driven world of business, and bringing together an extraordinary level of subject matter expertise. But how often do we hear about their work? Not often enough …
Yes, it’s a delicate balance for NGOs: concentrating on their usually very complex, and often very sensitive, work – while at the same time reminding the outside world about what they do, why they do it, and how it benefits us all.
There’s no doubt about it, the world is a better and safer place because of organisations such as The International Criminal Court, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines - just three of more than 90 NGOs located in The Hague.
Building and maintaining relationships, whether it’s with their own stakeholders, with the media, or with the wider public, is a productive and worthwhile thing to do – and it generally more than repays the effort in goodwill.
On the other hand, it’s getting harder and harder for many of the more low-key NGOs to claim their share of media attention.
That means their communications strategies have to be more focused – and their public affairs and communications staff have to understand exactly how the different media function, exactly what they’re looking for, and how to give it to them.
That, in turn, means that key staff should ideally have spent some time in the media – or be guided by someone who has.
The face of the media is constantly changing. NGOs need to have core media skills or they will lose out.