Survey of federations identifies online communication trends

The EURACTIV “Federation Communication Survey 2004” shows that
online communication is set to become a top priority, mainly due to
limited communication budgets.

Fifty seven per cent of respondents to the Federation Survey
2004 are small, well-established industry federations – many were
founded prior to the 1986 Single European Act – that work with a
communication budget of less than 10,000 euros. Most of these say
they do not employ consultants yet, and only one third currently
use online services to promote their websites. On the other hand,
15% have communication budgets above 100,000 euros.

Less than half of the respondents (44%) confirmed that they
expect communication staff to grow. Additionally, one respondent
explained: “smaller federations do not have separate employees for
PA, PR and communications […] All these various functions are
combined.” Most others (55%) expect stable staff.

Sixty per cent already use intranets or extranets, a
substantially high proportion compared with 1996 findings from
academic Justin Greenwood which showed that only 30% of federations
used the Internet at all. Most federations confirmed plans to use
internet-based communications tools much more in the future.
Federations intend to use online communication tools more and more,
apparently because they consider the internet to be a more
cost-efficient channel for their broad communication
needs. 

One respondent summed it up in the following way: “The
importance of and need for communication in European federations is
often underestimated. Communication budgets should be increased
and, if necessary, more people should be employed. However, there
should also be an improvement in terms of methods (namely the
internet).”

EURACTIV’s Senior Public Relations Manager, Dan Luca, comments:
“With the complexity of institutional mechanisms, branding becomes
a priority for large and small federations alike.”

A full report on EURACTIV’s “Federation Communication Survey
2004” will be published in the Journal of Public Affairs in early
2005. A summary will be made available to respondents.

The survey was conducted between 7 July and 13 September 2004,
promoted by postal mail, e-mail and telephone to 550 European
federations. One hundred and nine answers were received, mostly on
a web-based questionnaire hosted by CommunicateResearch Ltd.
Support for this survey came from Kellen Europe (an association
management consultancy), CommunicateResearch Ltd and the Journal of
Public Affairs.

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