Thursday, June 30, 2011

Six Questions for Globalization: Part Two

By Virgil R. Carter

Is your non-profit organization considering globalization? Or have you already begun efforts towards becoming a global organization, and are wondering what’s next? Here’s the second part of six key questions which may help guide your organization’s discussions and decisions about going global.

1. Are your globally available goods and services: a) timely; b) affordable; c) culturally and regionally relevant; d) available in the host country language?

The importance of this question is probably self-explanatory, but many nonprofits haven’t made the necessary important investments in their goods and services to ensure that they offer global value in a global market. It is all too common for U. S. nonprofits to believe that because they offer goods and services, there is interest and demand outside the U.S. Goods and services that are accessible in a timely manner, that have regional content, and have opportunity for host country language are among those that clearly bring highest value to the host country markets and customers.

2. Does your association work with, for, against or ignore similar host country associations?

Sooner or later each association must have a policy and a business plan that provides consistent guidance in situations when there are similar associations, providing similar goods and services, elsewhere in the world. Cooperation and mutual respect is always a good goal, but it can be challenging to achieve. An effective approach for building good relations among similar global organizations is to launch annual exchange visits, followed by low-risk, low-threat joint activities. An early atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual purpose goes a long way towards building good long-term working relationships. Once established, these relationships will be immeasurable in maintaining cooperation and mutual respect.

3. Are you patient?

Globalization is a challenge. It’s usually a substantial investment, and it’s generally not a quick return on investment. It’s a challenge to prepare a suitable business plan and to use resources wisely. It’s a challenge to show measurable results. Patience is required (along with sound business planning and processes). Be prepared and prepare your volunteer leaders. You will be tested.

For those who have successful answers to these questions, you will find globalization to be a rewarding way for your association to continue to do business and to provide the leadership that is the basis for your mission. Good luck!

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