Generally, users are also satisfied with the information and content of the BCSDN website and visit it regularly, i.e. on weekly and monthly basis. One third report concrete benefits from the information and more than half say the information on website is relevant to their work. The use of the local languages hasn’t been seen as an advantage since most use English as their preferred language. The website offers something for everyone. It is thus able to balance its function of a news-source, resource tool (through it databases) and archive.
You can read more details about the findings in the Survey Report.
Recommendations for the Weekly E-mail Alerts (WEA):
– Information on specific topics such as partner activities, rural development (decentralization), partner search, availability of important EU documents should be provided in future WEA;
– Additional measures should be devised for stimulating sharing of information by subscribers (e.g. special message remind all subscribers to share information, review the need to introduce an editorial board, research into cooperation with other information services in the region);
– A feasibility study into possibility for introducing subscription fee/donations should be conducted.
Recommendations for BCSDN website:
– Website should continue being updated regularly and should provide a joint space for bringing together all information about the network, incl. information services such as the WEA;
– Further mechanisms for greater inclusion and interaction should be devised to make it attractive and user-friendly for use on a daily basis;
– Although most users did not find the local language editions and ‘About us” category useful, this should remain available to provided information to non- and potential members.
The aim of the survey was to evaluate BCSDN information-sharing tools and improve its services according to the needs of its users. The survey was opened between 25th August and 25th September, 2008. All 14 BCSDN members and WEA subscribers were targeted with the survey, i.e. altogether over 300 individuals. Twenty users answered the survey, of which 10 were from BCSDN member organization and 10 from other. According to country of response, most came from Macedonia (7), Serbia (5), Albania (3), Romania (1), Montenegro (1), BiH (1), Kosovo (1) and Belgium (1).
The idea for the Weekly e-mail alerts (WEA) was based on two experiences. Since beginning of 2004, Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) had an established mailing list through which information on different opportunities were being exchanged with network members. In order to develop a more effective and structured way for exchanging such information, an idea was developed to compile information in a special mailing and distribute it to members each week. As part of a joint EU-funded project “Partnership in Action-Strengthening BCSDN” in 2006-2007, BCSDN developed the current format and content of the Weekly e-mail alerts through exchange of know-how and information with European Citizen’s Action Service (ECAS) from Brussels and Centre for Information Service, Co-operation and Development of NGOs (CNVOS) from Slovenia, which provide similar service to CSOs on EU and national level. The BCSDN web survey in 2005 and External Evaluation 2004-2007 conducted in 2007 found the WEA as the most useful instrument among members and partner organizations.