Scale Projects Internationally

What are the issues when engaging with local orgs?

How to find target audiences?

Jen: Every country is different. Every country needs to work in a different way. Social media, for example, different everywhere. So no one right way to do it 

Ideal: a week on the ground working with political actors before getting started 

Grounded in user needs.  

Q: How do you find target groups? 

Lots of different models. Can set up country office. MySociety very different. Works in UK, but through local partner. Local partner knows what audience they’re reaching. They network in their own communities for user design work. User needs work - what their audience is, what they’re trying to achieve - incredibly important

Q: How do you find partners? How do they pay?

MySociety is all open source. MySociety will jointly apply for grants with a local organization. Grant funding is hard to do - needs to be different enough, needs to have impact. Hard to measure impact, especially internationally.

Charlotte: Grants are hard. They’re for A project for a SPECIFIC period of time. But our projects are not like that - long-term projects with long-term vision. Trying a hybrid model where can get some commercial funding for their work. But grants are really not sustainable.

Jen: Some groups use kickstarter - Galigali worked with Accountability Lab to get $5k raised - with that they were able to revolutionize passport signups in Nepal.

Jen: need to go where your audience is - so if they’re already on social media, go there rather than expecting them to come to your web site. Much harder. Could be facebook, twitter, telegram... anything that lets a social group share info and get it to other.

Demonstration effect for community champions the way you spread information around a network. If things work, they can grow by word of mouth. 

Q: Do you work with universities and academics

Jen: Very interesting working with academics. MySociety has a research team - how does impact work in different counties and contexts. University students have strong ideas and are politicized - and can spread ideas to their friends.

Charlotte: Rely on students but researchers not part of their process. 

Jen: Data analysis and visualization useful. Data journalists can be incredibly helpful. People who can communicate effectively to the public useful. And genuine, academic research can provide credibility. "How serious is our research? Well we have a PhD working on it!"

Vorakit: We work with researchers with students and their professors who manage things and represent a lot of the academic network.