Dissemination and exploitation of results – Module 2

Complex Toolbox for Volunteers

[nextpage title=”SHORT DESCRIPTION”]Dissemination and exploitation of results are core activities in projects funded with European grants. Here you will find the main points to think about when planning and sharing the results of your international & volunteering projects. You will also be able to find links to more reading and audiovisual materials on the topic. Once you are ready, a few quiz questions and practical exercises will help you confirm your knowledge!

[nextpage title=”Intro quiz”]-

[nextpage title=”What do dissemination and exploitation mean?”]

Dissemination refers to a process of sharing the results of initiatives to potential users and key actors (e.g volunteers, volunteer-involving-organisations, adult learners, trainers). This means spreading the word about the project successes and outcomes as far as possible. At the beginning of the project, a dissemination plan is designed so that there is a better chance of the results being successfully shared. The dissemination plan should propose answers for the following questions: why, what, how, when, to whom and where dissemination of the results will take place. It should include online and offline  actions for  both during and after the funding period.

Exploitation refers to a planned process of:
(a) transferring the successful results of the programmes & initiatives to decision-makers and other key stakeholders  (eg volunteer-involving-organisations volunteer centres, civil society organisations, regional & national platforms for volunteering,  education and training providers, municipalities, regional and national governments (b) convincing individual end-users to adopt and/or apply the results of programmes and initiatives.

This means maximising the potential of the funded activities, so that the outcomes are used beyond the lifetime of the project.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/coordinators_day_communication_dissemination_exploitation.pdf

What is the difference between communication and dissemination?

Communication is a broader concept. It includes all information, promotion activities and visibility actions about a given project / initiative. The dissemination and exploitation of the project outcomes start as soon as they become available, while communication about the projects should start once the project proposal is approved. It is very important to set the communication & dissemination strategy right from the beginning and involve all partners and their different spheres of influence and networks in order to reach the biggest and most varied target audience possible!

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/coordinators_day_communication_dissemination_exploitation.pdf

[nextpage title=”Aims, objectives, planning, sharing results!”]

A good quality dissemination and exploitation plan should include:

  • measurable and realistic objectives,
  • a detailed timetable,
  • a resource plan for the activities to take place,
  • suitable target groups (e.g. volunteers & their organisations, volunteer centres, education & training providers)

Dissemination and exploitation goals may be to:

  • raise awareness,
  • extend the impact,
  • engage stakeholders and target groups,
  • share solutions and know how,
  • influence policy and practice,
  • develop new partnerships.

Participating organisations should:

  • discuss the aims & objectives of the dissemination and exploitation activities/plan,
  • decide on the best activities and approaches,
  • share the tasks among partners taking into account the particular specifics of the project and the profiles of each partner,
  • agree on realistic targets and deadlines with partners to monitor progress,
  • offer sufficient flexibility to respond to the needs of the target group as well as wider developments in policy and practice,
  • Include the use of existing communication channels and networks in the plan.

What are project outcomes?

Projects involving volunteers or run by volunteers may have very diverse results. A distinction between tangible and intangible outcomes can be made.

Tangible results are concrete outputs and may include for example:

  • an approach or a model to solve a problem,
  • a practical tool or product, such as handbooks, curricula, e-learning tools,
  • research reports or studies,
  • good practice guides or case studies,
  • evaluation reports,
  • recognition and validation certificates,
  • newsletters or information leaflets.

Intangible results may refer to new skills, competences,  experiences and may include for example:

  • knowledge and experience gained by volunteers and beneficiaries, learners or staff,
  • increased skills or achievements,
  • improved cultural awareness,
  • better language skills.

Intangible results are more difficult to measure. The use of interviews, questionnaires, tests, observations or self-assessment mechanisms may help to record them.

NB:  The type and intensity of dissemination and exploitation activities should be proportional and adapted to particular needs and the type of project. Dissemination and exploitation activities can create new opportunities to extend the project and its results or develop new partnerships for the future, may lead to external recognition of the work carried out, and enable and inspire others to benefit from the activities and experiences of the European Programmes.

Dissemination and exploitation of project results can help to inform future policy and practice. The aims and objectives of the dissemination and exploitation plan should link to the project aims to ensure that the methods and approaches used are appropriate for the project and its results, as well as for the identified target audiences (see next section ).

[nextpage title=”Target audiences and how to reach them”]

Every dissemination and exploitation strategy must identify target groups for its  messages. Target groups can be decision-makers at local, regional, national, European levels. They can be volunteers, volunteer managers, staff in different institutions- museums, hospitals, schools, local authorities, other volunteer-involving-organisations, networks, education and training providers, researchers, press and media, and so on. Activities and messages must be adapted to each audience.

Some tips!

  • Translate as many communication materials and project outputs in as many languages as possible. Cover all languages of the partnership and English;
  • Link the topic of the project to current concerns in society
  • Avoid technical language and jargon
  • Capitalise on visual and interactive ways to send your message out
  • Use social media based on needs and project capacity

Which tools to use?

  • the Erasmus+ Project Results Platform,
  • project or organisational websites,
  • meetings and visits to key stakeholders,
  • information sessions, workshops, (online) seminars, training courses, exhibitions, demonstrations, or peer reviews,
  • reports, articles in specialised press, newsletters, press releases, leaflets or brochures,
  • audiovisual media: radio, TV, YouTube, Flickr, video clips, podcasts or apps,
  • social media channels,
  • public events, (specifically planned for the project or others existing for other purposes that can also be used)
  • project branding and logos,
  • existing contacts and networks.

[nextpage title=”Impact! Was the strategy successful?”]

Indicators can be used to measure progress towards goals. These are signs that help to measure performance. Indicators can be both quantitative relating to numbers and percentages as well as qualitative relating to the quality of the participation and experience.

Questionnaires, interviews, observations and assessments can also be used to measure the impact. Defining indicators relating to the different project activities should be done at the start of the project as part of the overall dissemination plan.

For instance:

  • Facts and figures related to the website of project organisers (updates, visits, consultation, cross referencing),
  • Numbers of meetings with key stakeholders,
  • Numbers of participants involved in discussions and information sessions (workshops, seminars, peer reviews),
  • Production and circulation of products,
  • Media coverage (articles in specialised press newsletters, press releases, interviews, etc.),
  • Visibility in social media and attractiveness of website,
  • Participation in public events,
  • Links with existing networks and transnational partners; transfer of information and know-how,
  • Impact on regional, national, EU policy measures,
  • Feedback from end-users, other stakeholders, peers, policy-makers

[nextpage title=”QUIZZES/INTERACTIVE EXERCISES”]-

[nextpage title=”EXTERNAL RESOURCES”]

https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/programme-guide/annexes/annex-ii_en Erasmus+, Programme Guide, Annex II – Dissemination and exploitation of results
https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/erasmus-project-results-platform-tutorial-video_en Erasmus+ Project Results Platform tutorial video
https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/resources/documents/erasmus-project-results-platform-explained_en– Erasmus+ Project Results Platform Explained.

https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/project-results/impact-and-dissemination-toolkit_en the Erasmus+ Toolkit on impact and dissemination of projects.

https://ec.europa.eu/easme/sites/easme-site/files/howtocommunicateyourproject_vertical.pdf– slide- how to communicate your project

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/coordinators_day_communication_dissemination_exploitation.pdf presentation “Communication, Dissemination and Exploitation” Maria Jose Amaral, EC Research Executive Agency.