Netcentric Campaigns transforms advocacy for foundations and nonprofits by building networks of people to move change forward.
Network Innovations / Network Strategic Services
Netcentric Campaigns maintains a clear focus on people and the advocacy network functionality among them. We are purposeful and have a proven process to help network managers. Our focus is on the people in the network and the complete network framework — not just the technologies that are used to implement projects.
Just as artists learn to use perspective in their works, they forever shift the way they put pen to paper to achieve accurate representations of reality, understanding netcentric campaigning changes the way organizers approach work and the ways they apply the same traditional tools and assets of their trade to achieve more powerful results.
Network Opportunity Assessment
We assess through the Network Opportunity Assessment, an analysis that focuses on the state of the Seven Elements of an Advocacy Network among those working across a movement. Understanding the state of the Seven Elements among these leaders is useful in illuminating whether an opportunity exists to create, strengthen or expand a successful advocacy network. If we determine that such an opportunity exists, the Network Opportunity Assessment report provides clients with a detailed understanding of the steps, actions or practices that might be required to build or strengthen a successful advocacy network―and offers a clear plan for doing so. This includes:
Making sure everyone involved in building the network is on the same page and there is a clear vision for the overall movement.
Teaching our clients about the basic structure of advocacy networks and the functionalities that enable them to be effective.
Outlining the current, largely unorganized state of the network we are aiming to build.
Exploring the ways advocacy leaders will be recruited and the types of services and campaign opportunities that will be available to them via the network.
Providing a glimpse at how an advocacy network will move change forward quickly and efficiently.
The goal of the Network Opportunity Assessment is to identify powerful connections and explore how our clients can build, strengthen or expand their advocacy network. Through a series of interviews with key stakeholders in the movement, we look strategically at the different roles involved and work to better understand how to align individuals, organizations, campaigns, policy, and communication strategies in the context of our partners’ work. We discuss organizational, overall movement and network-specific ideas to improve the state of the Seven Elements, as well as the priority of investments in staff, technology and content in balance with other activities.
Network Action Phase
Typically a year-long process, the Network Action Phase sees our staff working with our clients, stakeholders and key allies to prioritize a set of network-centric interventions, and get work moving. Such work can include:
Recruiting key advocacy leaders to join the network;
Identifying and piloting services to help leaders working in the field;
Developing and implementing a plan for network governance;
Establishing an evaluation and metrics system to track network activities;
Running pilot advocacy campaigns to begin to build grassroots support;
Developing a long-term budget, timeline and milestones to guide the network as it works to mobilize on a bigger scale.
The activities that take place during the Network Action Phase build off of the findings of the Network Opportunity Assessment. During the planning phase, the Netcentric team works hard to ensure the Seven Elements of an Advocacy Network are put into place and employed effectively, so the network is well-positioned toward sustainability when it enters the Network Mobilization.
Each Network Action Phase is custom. This period is purposefully designed to allow the Netcentric Campaigns team and our clients to try new things and test new strategies. The network team learns by doing, creating ties with leaders in the field and collecting valuable data to guide the network moving forward. It is a hands-on, project-driven learning process. There are no mistakes made during this period, only lessons learned to help create the strongest advocacy network possible.
At the end of the process, Netcentric Campaigns will provide our client with recommendations and strategic guidance for moving the network into Network Mobilization.
As the mobilization moves forward, people will begin to engage with the advocacy network in powerful ways. There will be an increased capacity of network participants to pursue advocacy, and an increase in public engagement on advocacy campaigns. The Network Mobilization phase also will be more data sharing opportunities across participating groups and the groups’ abilities to learn from their activities online. There also will be a heightened tempo of email communications between the groups taking part in the network and online audiences. But most importantly, the leaders, organizations and grassroots advocates who join the network will be connected, allowing for new, cohesive strategies that will help drive change.
The Network Mobilization sees the network dramatically growing in a quick and efficient manner, allowing leaders to achieve key goals and policy priorities. Our goal is not to run a network forever, but rather build and empower it — then hand over operations to the advocacy leaders who can make the biggest impact.
Lasting about two years, the mobilization sees our team helping our clients and movement leaders develop the skills and embrace the vision to successfully run the network. We work with them to develop a long-term management and sustainability plan so the network develops the resilience to work successfully time and time again.
The purpose is to empower and leverage a network of new and existing players by:
Connecting key targeted leaders together with the level of advocacy capacity needed to align and coordinate successful campaign and organizing;
Driving new supporters to support the actions of the network via movement building efforts;
Driving new contacts and services generated via local and state movement building to engage in campaign efforts.
The Network Mobilization phase will empower an advocacy movement that will be equipped to succeed – and the leaders in the movement will be better equipped in their efforts to create positive change.
In addition to Strategic Services, our team has been among the social scientists and advocates advancing the compelling case for network thinking. Both research and practice have demonstrated time and time again the transformative value of strategically connecting individuals across geography, discipline and experience to work collaboratively in order to innovate and advocate. Thus, network thinking must be a core competency of 21st Century movement building.
However, there are many questions left unanswered and many challenges to tackle in order to create this competency across issues and movements. For example, there are glaring gaps in discussion, literature and training on how to intentionally build a robust and sustainable network. Moreover, there is a need to develop tools, technologies and methodologies for disseminating network strategies and lowering barriers to building networks. Netcentric Campaigns has been at the forefront of both study and practical application of a network approach to complex social issues. As a thought leader in the field, Netcentric Campaigns is now deepening investment in Network Innovations that aims to advance the discipline, pioneer tools and create learning exchanges around the critically important mechanism of networks for advancing social change.
Motivation + Network Capacity = Change
The team introduces network organizing content in a fun, funny and engaging way to create broad conversations about networks and how to build them. The presentations and discussions of network design trigger insights among the participants around network thinking and create a shared framework for conceptualizing their activities within a network frame.
As a quick dip into the type of work we do, we introduce seven distinct and clear elements of network design, which have been successfully used by foundations at local, state, national and international scales. We share best practices that we have observed over 17 years. We can also organize and facilitate panels and discussions about the implications of applying network-centric perspectives to a wide range of advocacy and issue work.
Discovery. Discussion. Planning
The team offers workshops are more intensive engagements than general speaking and introduction work. The workshops are inclusive of a landscape review in preparations for collaboration. The work results in in a tailored strategy sessions. The landscape review enables Netcentric Campaigns to gain a baseline understanding of the opportunities and challenges in engaging in networks in a specific context.
We conduct interviews, look over background materials, strategic plans and other documents to devise the exercises for the strategy session. This important preparation work will ensure that our team is sufficiently briefed and the in-person strategy session is relevant, using common language and drawing on the specific needs and interests in your strategy.
We will dig into the experiences of the team in working with networks, learn more about users of the networks, and introduce seven distinct and clear elements of network design that have been successfully used by foundations and nonprofits. We dive deeper into specific best practices that are of most use to the network leaders among participants.
We work as a group to identify the risks and advantages of applying network-centric perspectives, as well as how to effectively plan networks improvements to more effectively achieve goals.
Consultancy and Research
Over 17 years, and decades of combined experience, Netcentric Campaigns knows how to find and engage new stakeholders in movements. The team uses the latest digital tools to data mine, scan, and listen to targeted network members. We can help network builders dig insights out of the social media platforms, social media outreach, and language used online to find the people, organizations, journalists, companies and other influencers discussing related topics.
The online data work helps shape our analysis of influencers audiences and informs recommendations on who to track, how to reach, and ways to activate networks on an issue. Our team also makes recommendations for quick fixes to the website and social media messaging and approach. We have a track record of working with networks to grow the base of people interested in and engaging in advocacy work and organizing diverse champions to who can advance work on a cause. We provide the consultant support needed to train staff to carry out an effective and efficient digital communications strategy.
Training and Support
Peer to Peer Discussion of Active Networks
To the extent possible, Netcentric Campaigns offers follow up consultative support from training, workshops and uses of our materials to help key partners devise goals and scope for a longer-term, locally lead partner support program. These support hours are to provide senior strategy discussions to review grantee goals, opportunities, threats and how network theory can help.
We can help review analysis done by others to identify the most promising interventions and risks in applying network-centric perspectives to the work. The support program is limited to preparation for calls and engagement, phone calls and online meetings with team to discuss strategy.
As needed or requested, we will conduct an audit of materials provided for background and context of the initiative being supported. Discussions focus on recommendations on ways to apply a network-centric strategy to the given challenges, provide review and input on products and deliverables, and to keep an eye on network effects to ensure the recommendations meet organizational needs and lead to an improved practice toward network building. We also offer review of requests and support for implementation recommendations to help communicate language for network building language.
Network Rapid Assessment
Building The Tools to Help with Adjustments in Network Operations
The goal of this little web application is to take a snapshot of the “state of the advocacy network” and to create a visual which can be used to compare the state of the network at different times.
The rapid assessment tool will help collect and organize important information for the Netcentric Campaigns consulting team. This rapid assessment tool is based on Netcentric Campaigns’ seven elements and it provides the appropriate level of intelligence needed to start working on building a network action plan.
A secondary goal of the network rapid assessment tool is to develop a standard classification scoring methodology which allows multiple staff to score and classify networks. The classification scoring will evolve into a common language about networks enabling us to compare interventions across very different context.
The survey questions focus both how do individuals relate to the people in the advocacy network AND how they perceive the network around them (people are pretty good at sensing trust among groups they observe). The questions also capture basic information about how people are connected to the work, and the roles they play. This data will enable us to see how people connected to groups and roles impacts the perceptions of the network.
Always Pushing to Serve The Movement
Support active pilot projects that advance the work of those we serve, produce insights that lead to thought leadership, and pilot the launch of network tools that produce both advocacy power and network strengthening benefits. Current examples include: Rapid Network Assessment Tool, MapThePower, Open Data Interpreter (ODI) and Work on the Gamification of Advocacy.
Publications and Case Studies
The Power of Networked People
Grounded in Netcentric Campaigns’ framework around definitions, objectives, and activities of networked leadership, we produce guides, worksheets,and online articles that include information and resources for supporting and strengthening networks. We work to provide insights needed to help hone the skills and competencies for staff and all those managing networks.