Human Nature Projects is a fledgling network of environmentalist volunteers built on a vision of open exchange and collaboration. Six months in, their network is rapidly growing, and they now have 1200 volunteers in 102 countries. As the group continues to grow, there are inevitable challenges, especially around facilitating exchange between their volunteers across different cultures and languages.
Human Nature Projects came to the LabStorm group for advice on integrating their volunteer network with the NGO world. How can Human nature projects build meaningful partnerships with other organizations that lead to collaboration and give people the power to protect that which they hold most dear? LabStorm attendees had some great input. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Create guidelines for NGO partnerships. Since Human Nature Projects is a new organization, they have not yet created specific documentation about what their partnerships should look like. Now, it is time. These partnership guidelines should explicitly describe the goal of NGO collaborations, as well as what roles Human Nature Projects and the NGO in question would play in such as collaborations. By outlining goals and roles early on, Human Nature Projects can avoid mission creep.
2. Collect actionable feedback from volunteers. When it comes to addressing challenges, LabStorm attendees agreed that Human Nature Projects first step should be collecting feedback from their network. In order to ensure that the feedback is actionable, Human Nature Projects should only ask for input on things that they are able to change. For example, when it comes to the challenge of communicating across cultures and languages, Human Nature Projects could conduct a survey with volunteers about prefered languages and methods of communication in order to figure out which languages and platforms to use.
3. Use the power of your network to fill NGO pain points. When it comes to building relationships with NGOs, Human Nature Projects has a very obvious value add – a network of thousands of volunteers! Human Nature Projects can advertise the size, commitment, and geographic diversity of their volunteer network as a main draw for potential NGO partners. After all, social good organizations could often use more hands on deck. As they write out their NGO partnership guidelines, Human Nature Projects should keep this point front-of-mind.
This LabStorm reminded us of the challenges of managing a global network. Do you have any advice about collaborating on a global scale? Leave a comment below or send a message to [email protected].