Analysis of Union of International Associations
B: Internal Factors
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Section of Report of a Preliminary Investigation of the Possibility of Using Computer Data Processing Methods (1968): a summary of the various parts of this report, and details of its contents (with links to the various parts), are provided separately
In the last part the external influences on the activities of the UIA were discussed. In this part, the efforts of policies in the main areas of activity are analysed. These analyses will be summarized in the next part prior to a general evaluation. The strategy of the UIA is discussed at the same time.
This part has been divided into two main sections. The first covers the effort made by the UIA to sense the needs of the various markets and to produce publications or studies to meet those needs whilst ensuring the survival of the organization. This is the UIA marketing activity. The second part covers the supporting activities.
The use of the term 'marketing' is usually restricted to commercial profitmaking organizations. As with 'competition' it is generally assumed that the term is inapplicable to non-profit organizations. Marketing is however a useful concept which links together all the operational activities of an organization. It links the detection of the need for a publication with the production, advertising, and distribution of the publication. In the UIA case it also covers the effort to promote the concepts suggested in the official objectives and to influence other bodies to support financially and become members of the organization.
The reason the term is useful is that these activities can be considered separately and this leads to the danger that the policy making in one field will be considered independent of policy making in what are essentially related fields. In the extreme case, for example, an organization Eight produce publications without considering whether it can sell them or whether the necessary advertising activity might antagonize its membership.
The UIA is mainly concerned with documenting developments in the international system. In order to do this, it must ensure that it obtains a constant stream of information on such developments. A second function of the information system is to record the international system's reaction to the activities of the UIA in order that the UIA may review its programs to improve its effectiveness where necessary.
Sources of Information: Information is obtained from the following sources:
The current position is that the information 'search' network has not been planned in any definite manner. It is not known systematically which periodicals are received, from which organizations. More important still, if an organization stops sending its free or exchange publication, there isabsolute no means of detecting this, unless by chance.
The UIA does not normally enter into an exchange arrangement with other publications and thus loses a means of extending its information network. This is regrettable since the majority of the monthly magazine issue is sent as free copies to organizations which happen to be in the Yearbook of International Organizations. The latter organizations do not necessarily benefit from the magazine or benefit the UIA itself except insofar as they fulfil the advertising guarantee that the magazine goes to all international organizations. It would be better to encourage these organizations to exchange a certain portion of the circulation to improve the information network.
An additional problem with exchanges is that they are not differentiated within the system from free copies of the magazine. Once the latter are cut down during an economy month, then the exchanges are also cut down. The UIA does not normally purchase or subscribe to any periodicals or other publications unless these can be useful in its sales campaign. This means that important publications giving recent developments in the UIA's field are not always obtained and it is only by chance that any record would be kept of their existence or desirability.
Publications produced by national organizations are not generally considered of interest even if they are within the UIA's field.
Publications produced in competition with the UIA are not necessarily received on a regular basis, and if they are, it is generally as a result of the sender's initiative rather than that of the UIA's. It was noted that the competitors all seemed to subscribe to the UIA's magazine, one was outstanding as being one of the very few airmail subscribers.
Documentation Information: When competition publications are received, they are not considered as being of the same value as the UIA publications. They are either "too complicated", "inaccurate" or "based on the UIA's own publications". No attempt is made to examine these publications regularly and systematically. In the case of the Yearbook competitors, no effort is made to out-out and file the relevant sections on each organization. In the case some competing publications, considerable effort has been made by their editors, particularly in slightly specialized publications, to incorporate more details on the organization than is currently listed in the Yearbook. Newspaper cuttings are considered an important source of information. No use has been made of a press cutting agency which would considerably increase coverage and would make the information network less dependent on the collecting abilities of one or two persons.
Bibliographical information is collected primarily from the organization producing the volume. Little faith is placed in the bibliographies produced by other organizations, whether professional or otherwise. They are considered to have insufficient information and are only used as a last resort. It is not clear whether they are used as a check against the information supplied by the organization responsible for the meeting. The UIA has maintained contact with all international organizations and has no difficulty in obtaining information for the Yearbook from them. This also applies to the calendar and bibliography. Prom this point of view, the system is satisfactory.
The main weaknesses arise from the more complex cases where the international organization is not always the best source of information. The current executive officer may not have been supplied with complete details of all past and future meetings and reports. It is here that independent sources are much more reliable, particularly in the case of bibliographical information.
The documentation system is also weak on coverage. Because no check is made on periodicals received, the UIA gradually gets dropped from mailing lists or only receives the free specimen copy at the beginning of each subscription year.
Finally the current information system is essentially a passive one. Much of the calendar and bibliography material and their sources can be treated systematically. This needs to be done to ensure that a series of annual (etc) meetings and their reports are followed through instead of being treated on an ad hoc basis. This policy leads to wasted effort, incomplete records, and unnecessary repetitive correspondence (from organizations which are forced to state every year that they do not hold meetings or have reports).
Research Information: The UIA follows developments in the political science and international relations fields through the following publications:
All these publications, except the latter, contain articles on the economic and political developments from a governmental or diplomatic point of view. The UIA does not obtain or list the journals in which current research on international NGOs is published or abstracted, unless the journal itself proposes an exchange or supplies free copies. The main reason for this is that much of the research is published in national publications which the UIA considers outside its chosen field.
A number of American publications which contain information on non-profit organizations, their classification and methods of operation, etc. have never been consulted by the UIA. These include:
It is in these publications that the major advances in the study of voluntary organizations are reported. Much of this information is relevant to international organizations. Valuable material is also published in some of the accounting, public administration and psychology journals which is relevant to studies of NGOs.
The disadvantage of the current policy is that the UIA does not keep in close touch with the academic reaction to its publications and the type of data they are starting to demand. It also prevents the UIA from keeping in touch with authors who might publish their papers through the UIA magazine. Finally, it does not help the UIA to increase the sophistication and depth of its own studies.
A similar policy is adopted with regard to bound volumes although when press reviews are seen in other periodicals for a given volume, a single attempt is made to obtain a press copy for review in the UIA's own magazine. No systematic procedure exists to ensure that ignored requests do not prevent the UIA's purchasing the publication at a later date.
The above policies mean that bibliographical reviews appear in the magazine long after the original date of publication of the paper or volume. This affects the quality and standing of the magazine bibliography.
Market Research and Sales Information: Sales information is not collected systematically. Sales are deduced from approximate stock levels but often without taking into account the number of free or review copies. The Yearbook is the only exception to this, but the system has only been in operation for two years and does not immediately provide any breakdown of sales to a given market. Financial data on sales is often calculated, from the stock figures.
No method for assessing the desirability of a particular publication has been developed. Letters are occasionally sent requesting an evaluation of a proposed publication. The UIA has not, however, attempted to identify clearly the users of each publication and to question then on their needs and the extent to which the currently produced material fulfils these needs.
The UIA attitude to checking its own performances through market research and sales information is a rather dangerous one. It would be easy for a competitor to sound out a particular section of the market and design a publication to suit it. This might split the UIA market. A good example of this is the new TMIS world calendar which was based on market research.
This publication may eventually reduce the UIA calendar and bibliography share of the USA market to a minimum.
Sales information is discussed further in a later section.
Detection of Items of Interest in Material Received: The material received bythe UIA has to be 'scan-read' to pick out items of interest for the above information system. The responsibility for this procedure is constantly changing or being split up within the UIA according to the available personnel. No stringent check is made to ensure that all material is efficiently processed for all items of interest. This can mean that useful items are received but not detected.
Quality of Documentation Files: An evaluation of the international organization file quality was made in Exhibit 29. This showed that, for example, only about 25% of the current files contained name and address information on the national members. The historical files contained relatively little specific information on the activities of the organization and mainly contained old correspondence with the UIA, Yearbook proofs and odd cuttings.
There is a danger when the scan of incoming material is done by persons not responsible for the quality of particular files, that the wrong items will be retained. Only the person responsible can know what could or should be received.
Information for Evaluation of the UIA: The following sources supply information of assistance in UIA selfevaluation:
No effort is made to encourage reactions on the UIA programs. If reactions are desired, they are sought from well known, respected but not necessarily well qualified sources.
The possibility of including a suggestion form inviting reactions in some of the UIA's major publications, has been discarded. This was tried once and no replies were received, since then no further efforts have been made. The only reactions systematically treated are the press reviews which are filed as a basis for future review copy dispatches.
Very little reaction is obtained from full members. Occasional reactions are obtained from committee members. No reactions are obtained from associate and corresponding members. Corporate members react in so far as it is in their interest to encourage the UIA to greater efforts on their behalf.
Since the UIA also avoids market research and sales analysis, these policies are rather dangerous ones. No information is available to allow the organization to check whether its policies are correct and effective, ineffective, or positively harmful to the future of the organization. The enthusiastic supporters of the UIA are the least qualified to comment or. the value of a particular course of action. Much more critical information needs to be sought.
The principal activity of the UIA is the production of a series of publications. This is therefore an important sector of policy making. The production of publications has been split into three different groups: the Information Unit, responsible for all regular publications except the magazine; the magazine; and other publications produced on an irregular basis.
Regular Publications : Information Unit: The unit was created in 1967 in order to group together the production of a number of different publications based on related data. The unit now groups the production of the Yearbook of International Organizations (every 2 years), Yearbook of Congress Proceedings (planned for every 2 years), International Congress Calendar (every year), and monthly or quarterly supplements to these publications which are published in the monthly magazine International Associations.
Each of the above publications has been considered in Exhibit 38. The following favourable points emerge from this evaluation and general consideration of the unit:
Unfavourable points which emerge from the evaluation are:
Regular Publications : Magazine: The monthly magazine International Associations has been published since January 1949. The magazine currently contains the following sections:
From the beginning of 1968, as a result of the reorganization associated with the Information Unit, the monthly bibliography, previously published separately, was incorporated into the magazine as asupplement. The articles and regular features included in the magazine over the past 20 years have been indicated in Exhibit 26. The type of advertising included in the magazine over the past 10 years is shown in Exhibit 27. These two Exhibits are introduced to indicate the extent of any drift in magazine policy over the years.
The magazine competition has been evaluated in Exhibit 38. The favourable points which emerge from an evaluation are:
Unfavourable points which emerge are:
Irregular Publications: These consist of the publications forming part of the Documents and Congress Science series, together with the Selective Bibliography and Directory of Periodicals ext. These publications have been evaluated in Exhibit 38. They are mainly produced as a non-profit service. . It is clear from the Exhibit that even in these fields there is a great deal of duplication and competition.
Conclusion on Publication Policy: The UIA does not make a great deal of effort to determine whether particular publications or parts of publicationsare of value to potential readers. The potential readership of all the publications currently forms only a very small proportion of a wide variety of markets. The readership should, however, have increased very significantly over the past ten years with the marked increase in interest in international affairs. Yet the magazine subscription sales are lower than ten years ago and the Yearbook sales in 1956 were 60% of the current Yearbook sales (see Exhibit 21). For Germany and Switzerland the 1956 figures are 87% and 89% of the 1968 figures. The unsold stocks of the irregular publications and the annual bibliographies are fairly high. These points either represent an inadequate publication policy or a poor sales organization, or a mixture of both.
The Distribution Department is responsible for processing and dispatching orders and with any follow up procedure necessary to ensure payment. It is also responsible for mailings of regular publications. The department is not necessarily involved in decisions on advertising and is not involved in decisions on the type of products produced. Where an advertising campaign requires use of the address plates, preparation but not the contents may be the responsibility of the department.
There is very little feedback of information on the weeks sales by number or value. The Secretary-General keeps track of these trends by scanning the sales correspondence on a daily basis, but no summary totals are produced. The department may be involved in decisions on magazine circulation each month or on the number of a given publication to be printed.
Results of Lack of Coordination: Because of the way the department is controlled, it is not concerned with the increases or decreases in sales, although superficial trends may be evident for particular publications. The Secretary-General, who controls the advertising campaigns, can only do so on the basis of a total sales figure. Because of the lack of coordination, it is difficult to judge the results of particular sales campaigns or where advertising emphasis should be placed.
A second consequence of this lack of coordination is that it has lead to the creation of files and procedures within the department which prevent -data on past customers from being exploited to promote future sales. An address plate is not systematically created for each customer in order to facilitate future advertising campaigns. This policy has also been adopted for the purchasers of the Yearbook of International Organizations, which is the major source of revenue. It is difficult to detect from the correspondence files whether a given customer is a regular one, or when he lapses from regular purchase of the Yearbook or other publications. One reason for this treatment of customer data is the bias within the organization towards dealing with international organizations only. Most customers are national organizations and many of them are commercial bodies. They have been given a second class status within the filing system. A second reason is that the UIA files have been organized to deal with orders rather than customers as a means of economizing on filing costs. This is a false economy because the system detracts from the total effort to market UIA publications.
The department is handicapped by the complications of the address plate system. Many distinguishing indicators have to be used, but not enough can be used to make the system operate satisfactorily. Certain groups of addresses have to be picked out by hand. In addition there is a six week time-lag in the process of updating or creating new address plates. This has also meant that there are discrepancies between the address plate system and the master copy Yearbook addresses for international organizations. This in turn leads to bad public relations because an organization may notify a change of address and the old plate is used before the change is effected.Lack of Stress on Links between UIA Publications: The lack of coordination between the Distribution Department and the Departments concerned with the production of publications has lead to omissions which do not assist the sales of the publications. An essential feature of the publications produced on international organizations is that they in most cases complement one another. Supplements to the Yearbook appear in the magazine. Supplements to the annual International Congress Calendar also appear in the magazine. The addresses of the international organizations mentioned in the monthly bibliography can be found in the Yearbook, etc. If one of these publications is ordered, it should lead to sales of the others. Each of these publications may have references to the others, but the references are difficult to find even when they are known to be there. For example there is no immediately apparent reference in the annual International Congress Calendar or the Yearbook to the existence of regular supplements in the magazine.
The reason for this is partly the lack of coordination and partly the desire to avoid implying that a particular publication is incomplete as it stands by suggesting that supplements have to be purchased. The assumption that the purchasers of UIA reference material wish to believe that the publications will remain up to date until the next edition needs to be tested. This policy may be seriously affecting sales. It also prevents the UIA from stressing that it provides an information package covering all aspects of international organizationshowever this information appears in print.
Correspondence and Postal Costs: These costs form a major item of expenditure for the organization. They can be divided into several groups. Dispatch of publications where the postal costs are not invoiced; dispatch of publications where the postal costs are invoiced; signed letter correspondence; advertising mailings; questionnaire mailings; subscription publication mailings; miscellaneous items; advertising and other material sent as a separate annex to a signed letter.
Postal costs are not normally split up but are treated as a global figure. It is therefore very difficult to determine the expenditure on advertising or dispatch of publications. This information would be valuable as a means of checking on a particular campaign or the net profit from the sale of a particular publication. Each advertising mailing is designed on the basis of the postal cost per envelope. The design is however based on the materials already prepared or printed. When the basic list of publications is produced, it is not necessarily designed in terms of postal cost. For example, if the cost of a heavier brochure is less than that of a lighter one, this would be selected without taking into consideration the increased postal costs during the period in which the brochure is used.
An estimate of the advertising costs can be obtained by assuming that each circular is mailed in an open envelope at an average postal charge. The cost of regular correspondence can be estimated from the number of signed letters sent per year. An I.B.M. study determined the average cost of a business letter in Belgium to be Bfrs 70. -- . At a rate of 1000 letters per year, and an average stamp cost of Bfrs 4.5, the total correspondence cost is Bfrs 74,500. --
This cost can be considerably reduced by three methods. Routine inquiries on specific points can be answered on the letter itself, which is then posted back. If the number of enclosures makes the printed matter rate preferable, then the overtyped letter can be photocopied and sent with the enclosures. Photocopies are classed as printed matter in Belgium. It is possible to photocopy a "with compliments" card mask with the letter. Offset or stencilled models of letters can be used as annexes to a one line letter. A manual of model paragraphs can be built TO and selected for particular answers.
The UIA had, up until May 1965, only three categories of membership. These were Full or Associate individual members, and Corresponding inte national organization members. In 1965 a fourth category of membership was approved. That is Supporting or Corporate members. These different categories have been described earlier.
The relationship between the UIA and its members is summarized to some extent by Exhibit 18a. This indicates the degree of contact maintained with members as represented by circulars sent. The attitude of the UIA towards members is illustrated by the internal administration and organization of membership files as indicated in the Exhibit. Each category of membership is discussed in detail below.
The membership statistics are shown graphically in Exhibit 18. Membership statistics are not maintained by the UIA as a part of regular procedure. It is clear from this Exhibit that the exact number of Associate and Corresponding members is not at present known.
Full Members: In November 1964, the maximum number of full members allowed under the Constitution was increased from 100 to 250. There are now 145. The UIA maintains contact with these organizations by means of mimeographed letters which are sent out irregularly approximately every 6 months. The members also receive the magazine free of charge. Although the Constitution provides for a membership fee, no such fee is charged.
The full members appear to serve four purposes for the UIA. The UIA must possess members according to Belgian law, or else it loses its status as currently registered. Members are periodically requested to use their influence to increase the sale of the UIA publications. It is not possible to determine what effect, if any, they have in this direction. Members elect the Executive Committee at periodical General Assemblies. The election procedure is facilitated by using a postal vote. Finally, members give status to the UIA, since they are elected or co-opted on the basis of their activities in the field of international relations. Members rarely supply any suggestions or articles for magazine.
It is not very clear what purpose the UIA serves for the members. In the case of the active full members, they probably consider that they are in some measure promoting international cooperation. The remainder must derive all the benefit of membership from receiving the magazine free of charge. Members are also able to receive any other UIA publications at a discount. In December 1966, this was announced at 15%. During the course of 1967, two full members purchased the Yearbook and received a discount of 50%. No other full members purchased the Yearbook. As the files are currently organized, it would be impossible for the Sales Department to know whether a given individual order was from a member, unless so specified by the Secretary-General.
Because there is no membership commitment, it is difficult to discard those members which are not active or interested. New members are not sought on any systematic or regular basis.
The problem faced by the Secretariat in maintaining contact with these individuals, is that they are each active in their own area and do not have the time to devote themselves to furthering the UIA's specific interest. Nor do they have the time to exert any combined pressure on current policies. This function is, of course, delegated to the Executive Committee.
Executive Committee: The Executive Committee currently numbers 11 individuals who were elected in 1966. The Committee has met approximately once per year.
It is difficult to arrange further meetings of the Committee because members are so widely dispersed. It is in fact rare to have a full meeting.
The Secretary-General is in regular communication with the President and with the Treasurer. Letters are sent to all members of the Committee with a frequency of about one per 3 months. The Committee, of course, receives the magazine free of charge.
Associate Members: Since associate members have to renew their membership annually by paying for a magazine subscription, it is difficult to distinguish between those members who renew and other individuals who renew. The last complete list was maintained in 1958-9. There were 29 paid up members and 9 receiving the magazine free, at 1st January, 1959. There was one new member in the course of 1959 and 2 in 1962, 1 in 1965. There do not appear to have been any new members, as opposed to inquiries since that date.
As Exhibit l8a indicates, it is not certain who these individuals are, although the UIA is, of course, fulfilling its commitment to them since an address plate exists.
Theoretically, the UIA maintains contact with these individuals by means of mimeographed letters. The last such circular in September 1965 was concerned with resubscribing to the magazine. The previous one was in January 1960.
The associate members should serve two purposes for the UIA. They should constitute a pool of individuals anxious to channel some of their ideas through the UIA and provide a body of opinion and suggestions for new pro. grams. They should serve as a means of making known the UIA publications and ideas in a variety of circles and countries, particularly at the national level.
The main purpose the UIA should serve for these members is to act as a channel for their ideas. No contact of this type is maintained. They also receive a discount of 15% on publications, although none appear to have taken this up or to be aware of it. The Sales Department does not have a list of these members.
New members are not sought on any systematic basis. An average of 3 people per year wishing to become members, currently write to the UIA on their own initiative. Of these, one may become fully paid up associate members. This is an old category of membership which has been allowed to lapse for lack of personnel to maintain and build up the contacts. There are probably plenty of individuals who would wish to maintain such a contact and this could possibly be built into some form of active student membership which could prove a great strength to the UIA. The difficult question to establish is what these members are wanted for and according to what criteria they should be sought.
Corresponding Members: There are probably between 50 and 100 fully paid up genuine corresponding organizations. As Exhibit l8a indicates it is not certain which these members are, although the UIA is fulfilling its commitment to them since address plates are maintained for all purchasers of the magazine. There cannot be more than 189 such members since this represents the total of all international governmental and non-governmental organizations subscribing to the magazine. The situation is complicated by the current magazine distribution policy of free copies of the magazine to all international organizations. It could therefore be considered, as with full members, that past corresponding members (who paid in earlier years) continue to be members, despite the fact that they do not fulfil the Constitutional requirement, namely annual payment of a subscription. The other requirement, namely agreeing to supply the UIA with information on their activities can be interpreted very loosely indeed. On this basis the Secretary -- General estimated a total of about 500 corresponding members.
The UIA maintains contact with these organizations by means of mimeographed letters which have been sent out irregularly. The last such letter appears to have been sent in 1960. The members also receive the magazine free of charge, although this policy is changed during some months to cut down expense.
The corresponding members appear to serve a number of purposes for the UIA. Whether technically members or not, a pool of organizations does supply information on the activities of international organizations in a variety of fields. This information forms the basis for the UIA's documentary work. Such organizations act as a body of opinion to stimulate the concept of the NGO movement and its place in the development of international cooperation. Such organizations should also act as a guide to areas in which the UIA should concentrate its documentary or research work. Theoretically, the organizations are supposed to be consulted regarding work to be undertaken.
The UIA appears to servo several purposes for these members. They were originally supposed to enjoy priority in the publication of articles and notes on their activities in the magazine, and obtain a discount of 15%. Membership provides international organizations with a means of showing their support for the UIA's efforts to help international NGOs and the resolution of common problems.
It is this category of membership, combined with the current title of the UIA, which leads to confusion in the minds of organizations and individuals coming into contact with the UIA. It is a commercial advantage to the UIA to gloss over the fact that these organizations are not active members of a 'trade union' constituted by the UIA. This facilitates advertising and contacts with the travel trade, particularly if the relationship between the number of corresponding members and the number of international nongovernmental organizations in the Yearbook is not stressed. In other contacts, particularly with some international non-governmental organizations, this situation is a great disadvantage. Such organizations assume that the UIA Secretariat is constantly attempting to mobilize some form of power base and therefore negate the value of every contact with the UIA. (This does not include contacts with regard to entries for the Yearbook.) 'This situation has prevented the UIA from participating effectively in any international conference of NGOs. The question is further discussed in relation to the UIA image.
Supporting Members: This category of membership was introduced in May 1965. There are now about 10 such members.
The supporting members appear to serve three purposes for the UIA. They effectively block many queries requiring considerable research through the files, since only these members are entitled to such facilities. They represent a source of funds. The commercial organizations, of which this category is mainly composed, represent a field with which the UIA must maintain contact, since they represent the forefront of the commerialization of the international relations market.
The UIA serves two purposes for these members. It acts as an assembly point for documentation on the international meetings market. It supplies them with a channel of communication with international organizations.
Secretariats: The function of the 14 national secretariats for the UIA is to help it to become better informed about international organizations and their activities in the country; to encourage participation of organizations within the country in international society; and to make available in their countries the fullest and most up to date documentation on international organizations and their activities.
Several of these voluntary secretariats are installed at world affairs centres. The UIA is not in a position to finance these centres or their activities on its behalf.
In 1966, the Committee recognized that, of the 14 secretariats, some did practically nothing for the UIA. It was hoped to link the work of a secretariat with that of the full members to increase activity. This has not proved successful. At present, the secretariats either do nothing at all or make use of the UIA name on the letterhead to facilitate their own contacts with NGOs.
Conclusion on Membership: Membership is not an important aspect of the UIA activities. This is due to the lack of personnel time, the lack of interest or suspiciousness of potential members. Members have no part to play in UIA activities and the UIA has difficulty in finding the right basis on which to approach KGOs and maintain relations with them.
The UIA has attempted to raise funds by the following methods, apart from the sale of publications: written requests to governments, commercial firms, and several foundations (in the U.S.A.); personal contacts with Belgian government departments and private individuals (through "Amis Beiges de la Cooperation Internationale"); creation of a special membership category for commercially oriented bodies which could be persuaded to pay high subscription fees (minimum $ 100), in return for the privilege of exploiting the UIA files. Fund raising blends into the efforts to obtain contracts for specific work.
The fund raising activities are in some cases automatic. For example some governments support the UIA on a regular basis from year to year. The fund raising program is not usually initiated for the other categories during the favourable financial years, when the organization can support itself from the sale of the Yearbook. In the other years, more intensive efforts are made.
The UIA has unfortunately not been able to devote the time and personnel to organizing fund raising systematically. Various attempts have beermade at doing this, but they have lapsed after a few months.
There are several other difficulties. Fund raising has become specialized and now requires personal contacts within government and foundation departments and skills in the preparation of requests adapted to each potential source of funds. These contacts must be built up and maintained over a number of years before they bear fruit. Because UIA planning is on a short term basis, it has not been able to prepare for the financial problems of two and four years ahead. In addition the image of the organization may have proved a difficulty.
In preparing requests for funds, -the UIA has in the past made the assumption that these should not be too well presented in terms of paper and print technique used. Much use has been made of stencils and typewriters which do not reflect the benefits available from modern office equipment. This assumption may be a valid one. Many grant-giving bodies may not consider that an organization with modern equipment warrants financial support. This assumption may however only be valid for grant-giving todies dealing with social welfare type non-profit bodies where funds should be channelled directly to the needy. Organizations which aim to present an image of importance in the documentation and research field may however be more readily accepted by their potential grant givers, if they show through the standard of their documents evidence of past ability to raise funds.
The UIA has not attempted to make use of professional fund raising organizations, some of which specialize in non-profit organizations of the association type. These bodies operate either on a flat-rate or commission basis and generally guarantee a certain minimum return before they agree to accept a client. This guarantee is based on interviews with persons in contact with the organization. These interviews are very useful as a means of obtaining a report on the image of the organization. They are an anglo-saxon institution and do not operate successfully within the continent of Europe. The campaign which is eventually designed and approved may make use of any of the media (press, radio, advertising, direct mail, etc.) or a combination of these.
A much more coordinated fund raising activity is required. This should be conducted by personal contact where possible and with carefully designed requests. There are a number of contacts within Belgium which the UIA has not been able to find the time to develop.
The UIA files information and documents which have been used for the preparation of the regular publications. The organization has publicised itself as a documentation centre to which people can come to undertake research into different aspects of international organization.
No systematic count of the number of people coming for this purpose is kept. A superficial estimate is about 1-4 per month. This increases when the local university sets papers which require the sort of information available at the UIA. These people are considered to be somewhat of a nuisance since they waste the time of the staff and are not engaged in serious work. Some sections of the meeting report library cannot be kept in a suitable state of order to recommend themselves to inquirers. No systematic indexes are available to physical volumes in the meeting report or general library. The quality of the information in the organization files was mentioned in an earlier section.
The number of incoming queries and the lack of funds make it difficult to make the study centre an important part of UIA functions.
The UIA placed great emphasis on its status as a service centre for international organizations in the early 1950s. The two words in fact formed a sub-title to the name of the organization. The current service centre activities can be divided into four groups. These are advice to international organizations on legal matters (free of charge), answers to general queries on other organizations (free of charge), publishing or sales agent for five international organizations (commission basis), secretariat for three international organizations (generally free of charge). The demands of other parts of the UIA program have prevented the organization from developing this program. The answers to queries are processed as quickly as possible, but this involves much effort for little direct return, despite the fact that the answers may be directly instrumental to facilitating the creation of international links. The answering service could perhaps be made less of burden to the organization if individual letters were avoided and the answers were supplied on standard forms.
The various sections of the form would constitute a form of indirect publicity for the spectrum of UIA documentary activities. The publishing service is recognized to be a potentially important source of revenue. Many organizations do not have the possibility of creating adequate services to publish their congress reports or monographs. This could be made to tie in with a sales agency for congress reports in general. Many bookshops and libraries' write in (about one per week) requesting that the UIA arrange for them to receive a congress report or other publication on international organization. The UIA cannot handle these requests at the moment and they are simply filed. The difficulty in following through this program is that the organization does not have the staff or the funds to launch the scheme. Attempts have been made to employ a commercially oriented sales manager but these have not been successful.
Within the UIA 'research' is defined loosely to cover any activity which involves a search through files or a questionnaire sent for survey purposes to any group of organizations, and the analysis of the results. The UIA does very little creative research in the academic sense. No attempt is made to formulate hypotheses and test them systematically in order to bring out significant new. details on NGOs or other aspects of the international system. The UIA does however publish articles by outside authors, mainly of a descriptive nature, which do border on the more fundamental type of research. These are restricted to political science and legalistic investigations of NGOs. No articles have been included on the social science, management, psychological, or interdisciplinary studies relevant to NGOs. The UIA has not been influenced by these tendencies in its own research program. Any articles of this type forwarded to the UIA by the authors are only scanned to check what UIA publications are cited.
The file searches and surveys result in descriptive analyses which are published in the magazine. These are very frequently cited by authors of papers and books on NGOs. The UIA has built up a reputation as the unofficial register of statistics on international governmental and nongovernmental organization. The descriptive analyses on voting, finance, budgets, etc. are also cited. Due to the lack of time and personnel and funds, it is not possible to fully analyse the data on file on a regular basis.
Research does not form an important part of the UIA activities. There is no regular research program. Occasional contract work is undertaken. A survey will be undertaken without a contract, if a subject within the UIA's field becomes of current interest.
There is no provision in the budget for research activity. No long-terra research plan exists to give continuity to the intermittent investigations of a series of topics on which files are maintained.
Research Topic Files: Information collected on topics of interest is filed in approximately 117 dossiers. No list of the titles of these is maintained. A number have been duplicated and many are not of current interest. 51% contained no material later than 1965 and only 32$ contained material from the year prior to the survey (see Exhibit 37)
The following forms of advertising have been used:
Major advertising effort is timed to coincide with publication of the Yearbook of International Organizations (every 2 years) or resubscription to the magazine and the International Congress Calendar (every year). Other campaigns are conducted throughout the year, particularly when minor publications are produced or when new addresses become available.
Mailings: Each individual campaign is planned to the extent that only circulars and printed material on items susceptible to interest the particular group of addresses is included. No attempt is made to balance the advertising effort according to the size of the market segment involved. Thus a group which purchases a small proportion of UIA publications may receive more advertising than a group which receives a larger proportion of UIA publications. No attempt is made to record the campaigns conducted to each group or the expense.
It is not considered possible to evaluate the efficiency of individual campaigns. The main reason for this is that many groups receiving advertising may purchase individual publications via a bookshop and not use any order slip that may have been included in the campaign literature. In general, very few order slips are returned to the UIA. No attempt has been made to graph orders over a period before and after a campaign. Another technique is to use a different department name as part of the UIA address for each advertising campaign (Department OL/1, NL/2, etc.). Any orders via bookshops will use the department name. In this way, the response to a particular campaign can be assessed. The last campaign for the Yearbook was conducted through an agency for the first time. Of 15,000 printed brochures sent out using direct mail addresses, only 9 order forms were returned. No definite conclusions can be drawn from this, since the Yearbook sales showed the usual increase over the previous year (see Exhibit 21a). A similar count is not made of other advertising campaigns conducted by the UIA, but the proportion of returns is not much higher.
Mailing Campaign Weaknesses: There are several weaknesses in the conduct of advertising campaigns.
Press or Review Copy Advertising: This is one of the principal forms of advertising used by the UIA. A card file is maintained on periodicals to which publications have been sent and the number of lines of review. On this basis the periodical is evaluated for subsequent publications.
Efforts are made to update the list of periodicals but it is difficult to determine, whether this form of advertising achieves a good coverage of the actual purchasing market.
Accessions Lists and Book Lists: This form of free advertising is not effectively used. It is a valuable means of bringing publications to the attention of a wide circle interested in international material. There are only about 15 20 such lists.
Reference Books: A number of reference books exist in which the UIA or its publications could be listed. No effort is made to actively seek out such books and . ensure that appropriate entries are included and updated from edition to edition.
Citation Advertising: The citation of UIA studies or publications in other studies is an important means of stimulating orders. This does currently lead to sales but this could be stimulated by designing studies to result in citations. An example is the inclusion of the study on multinational commercial organizations, an important current topic, in the 12th edition of the Yearbook. This should lead to extensive reviews in periodicals which would not normally be interested in the Yearbook.
Advertising Difficulties: One major reason for the haphazard approach to advertising is that the UIA has been unable to obtain a suitable person to fill the post of 'public relations cum sales manager'. As a result, the sales department has become a distribution department only and advertising has had to be taken over by the Secretary-General. This means that no concentrated long -- term effort has been made to make the UIA and its publications known.
A second difficulty is the image of the UIA as seen by the potential purchasers of publications and by those with whom the UIA could collaborate. The latter group help to build the reputation of the organization and thus stimulate sales. The question of image is discussed in the next section.
The UIA is in contact with four main groups: other NGOs, IGO circles . interested in NGOs, congress organization and commercial travel groups, and libraries and university research centres. Each of these groups makes different demands on the UIA and to maintain its position, the UIA must cultivate a different image, or impression of itself, to each of them as to what it is and does.NGOs: To other NGOs the UIA has to convey the impression of not wishing to interfere or be involved in their affairs. It has to maintain contact with these organizations and document their activities and suggest solutions to their common problems. At all costs, it must avoid any implication that it is a 'union' of NGOs, as it was when first created, and as its name so explicitly implies. It also has to stress that it is an NGO like other NGOs to avoid the suggestion that it is a profit-making Belgian organization.
There is no definite information available as to how well the UIA has succeeded in conveying its neutrality and lack of desire to 'organize' other NGOs. When represented at conferences of NGOs, it has had some difficulty in putting forward suggestions for projects, because other NGOs have feared that the UIA was power-hungry. It is also a fact that the UIA only rarely cooperates with other NGOs on any project. It is not clear whether this is by choice, namely that it does not wish to be involved with individual NGOs, or whether other NGOs prefer to be more closely associated with more conventional membership organizations. Fundamental to all UIA activities in connection with NGOs and their problems ±8 the assumption that these bodies want help and advice and are willing to receive these from the UIA. This assumption needs testing since the requests for advice from a few organizations may obscure a general hostility to outside advice and interference in their affairs.
The UIA objectives make it difficult for it to select any suitable program of cooperation which does not centre on the UIA's mechanism for centralizing, processing and publishing information. This centralizing procedure automatically brings to mind its negative image as a 'union'.
The lack of cooperation may also be ageneral phenomenon amongst NGOs except on the most inocuous programs for the exchange of information and alignment of programs.
There is a tendency for the UIA to make use of its 'union' image with some new international organizations which are anxious to cooperate with any other organization. These organizations benefit from the experience at the UIA.
There is no definite information on how much effect the UIA circulars have on NGOs. These, together with the magazine and occasional letters, are the only regular contact. It is possible that many NGOs have reached saturation point. The fact that some of these circulars are IGO initiated questionnaires which are channeled through the UIA, may again bring to mind the negative 'union' image.
A detailed investigation by an independent reporter on NGOs attitude toward the UIA would be of considerable use as a guide to future policy, particularly since the UIA work is primarily for their benefit and yet few of them appear to purchase its publications. This would need to be related to an investigation on how many such organizations consider they are or want to be part of a general class known as NGOs having common problems.
IGOs: The UIA has been able to develop fairly successful contacts with some IGOs. The Yearbook is officially endorsed by the United Nations, a regular correspondence with the New York and Geneva Headquarters is maintained. FAO projects on NGOs are regularly handled by the UIA. With these organizations the UIA is concerned to maintain the image of being a useful source of documentation on NGOs as well as being, through its mailing list, a useful means of contacting these bodies. Aside from the purely documentary side, the UIA is also occasionally asked for comments on NGO attitudes by the NGO Department of these bodies.
In order to succeed in this relationship, the UIA has to imply that it is in constant contact with NCOs, not only from the purely documentary point of view, but also as receiving a representative number of reactions on their attitudes, particularly from its Corresponding Member Organisations. It must therefore attempt to some degree to represent NGOs to IGOs and vice versa through questionnaires. This procedure again recalls the 'union' image, which is useful in this context.
Libraries and University Research Centres: A large proportion of the publications are sold to these bodies. From the documentary point of view the UIA must therefore convey the image of being an expert in the field of assembling documentation from NGOs. This has presumably succeeded satisfactorily since UIA publications are quoted extensively in any papers on NGOs.
The UIA also makes the claim to possess considerable material on file on each organization. It was originally hoped that people would come to the UIA to do further research on NGOs. A regular stream of academics visits the organization but from the relative lack of follow up it is not clear whether the reality of the secretariat conflicted with the image conveyed via the publications or whether academics do not in general maintain regular contact with institutes like the UIA.
Congress Organizations and Travel Groups: These groups make use of UIA published data on international meetings, as well as consulting the UIA on contacts with NGOs. The UIA has attempted to develop its image of expertise in the organization of international congresses through its series of publications on 'congress science' and its four congresses on international congress organization. The latter are intended to bring together NGOs organizing meetings, travel, airline, professional, governmental or commercial bodies concerned with congress centres or organizing congresses.
In this field, the UIA is therefore concerned to convey the image to NGOs of giving them the opportunity to improve their meetings at reduced costs namely solving a common problem aided by the UIA. To the commercial and other bodies, the UIA attempts to act as the centre or meeting point for the various interests involved. It is also convenient not to stress too specifically the non'union' nature of the organization.
Secretariat, Publication and Advertising Quality: A constant stream of visitors pass through the Secretariat. The impressionof these people are extremely important as word-of-mouth advertising for the UIA and its publications. The building has however only recently been partially decorated and still gives a very musty 19th century impression. Much of the furniture and equipment is second hand and dilapidated. The inadequate floor covering, general amenities, and the many collections of exposed files and reports which gather a lot of dust, do not make a good impression. They may strongly convey an image of inefficiency, ineffectiveness and outmoded methods.
The UIA adopts a similar policy with its advertising literature. Poor quality stencils are used where offset is employed by other organizations. A pre-war style photograph is used on the list of publications. The UIA relies on the quality of the information in its reference works, but produces an inferior quality cover for its major income generating publication, namely the Yearbook. This can only damage the image and reputation of the organization when competitors use more modern materials.
The assumption made by the UIA is that other organizations and visitors (particularly from grant -- giving organizations) will appreciate the evidence of economy. It is hoped that an image of a struggling underdeveloped organization producing high quality publications will be conveyed.
Since most of the UIA visitors are not from NGOs but are executives and academics used to modern buildings (particularly those from the U.S.A.), this assumption could be very damaging to potential income. Although many other small Brussels offices have a similar dilapidated atmosphere, the contrast to important visitors from large modern organizations must be very marked. They may assume that their funds would not be properly utilized. This assumption therefore needs testing. If proved inadequate, a small investment in superficial improvements could quickly convey an atmosphere of efficiency which would not discourage grant-giving bodies.
As with commercial organizations, the UIA is forced to appear differently to different groups in order to maintain its activity with each group. The problem isthat with some groups the UIA can usefully stress its 'union' image and with NGOs this must be avoided. There is therefore a basic inconsistency between its image in one case and that in the others. This would be fairly satisfactory provided there was no overlap between the groups and provided that the UIA had very specific program objectives which were not blurred by the necessity to maintain conflicting relationships with each of these groups. In other words, if the UIA had a consistent self-image and set of objectives, it could balance its programs and decision-making with respect to each of these groups. At present, it must alternatively deny or imply that it is a union or federation of NGOs. This confusion is stimulated by the name of the organization.
Name of Organization: There has been a continuing discussion or. the name of the organization for a number of years. In the early 1950's, stress was placed on the title 'Service Centre' for NGOs, but this has since been dropped. No satisfactory alternative has been produced. Further serious consideration does appear to be necessary in conjunction with a more detailed specification of objectives in order to make the organization more acceptable to other NGOs and to give it aforward looking, cooperative image and reputation. The current title has connotations which are more appropriate to the prewar mode of thought, before people had become sceptical and suspicious of organizations which explicitly claimed some form of universality. It may also bring to mind the United Nations Organization. Linking the two may make the UIA appear presumptuous. In the terminology of the communications media, the title would be described as "hot", namely as exciting critical objective interest and perhaps even hostility. What the organization requires is a title which is "cool", namely one which invites participative interest and acceptance (McLuhan, M.,G3).
In effect this corresponds to the distinction between forcefully putting over the intentions of the organization, and putting the intentions over in a more subtle manner. In the first section of this Appendix, the value of the term 'world' as opposed to 'international' was discussed. The latter was shown to be limiting in an ambiguous manner. 'World' is, however, difficult to use in a title because it implies only world, if used as World Associations (Centre, etc.). This title is also rather "hot" as it could imply that the organization represented these bodies. 'Associations' is a difficult word because it excludes governmental and commercial organizations, which the UIA also documents, together with some NGOs. Finally, it is difficult to decide whether the organization should be an 'Organization', 'Centre', 'Association', 'Group', 'Study Centre', etc. Each of these terms has disadvantages. An additional complication arises when the title is trans.lated into French. The advantage of the English title is that it places the important keyword first, namely 'World' or 'International'. The French title places an ambiguous word such as 'Centre' or 'Group' first which group the organization in indexes amongst national bodies with the same first title word. This will, of course, depend on the classification system used in libraries, but it is an advantage for the organization to have an 'international' keyword to guide people to the field of interest of the organization.
A possible approach would be to compose an artificial name which would imply the organization's interests without too clearly specifying their nature. Examples might be 'Interlink', 'Intergroup', 'Intersystem', etc. This could be combined with 'Centre', 'Group', 'Organizations', etc. Most libraries use some form of keyword which would automatically have to pick out the field of interest of international organizations with an artificial title.
The UIA is not sufficiently well organized to beable to detect what the purchasers and readers of its publications and potential members want. Nor is it organized to seek out and contact new markets and sources of support. To some extent this is because it is assumed that people and organizations interested in the highly specialized material the UIA offers will have the energy and determination to seek out the UIA. Partly it is also that the UIA has defined for itself the mission of educating the organizations it currently contacts. Low response and slow increases in sales can then be explained as due to the slow speed of the educative process rather than any defects in UIA operations. The organization has succeeded and performed a useful service where many commercial organizations would have had to be disbanded. With the increase in commercial activity in the international organization field, the UIA may be forced either to commercialize itself or to specialize into a worthwhile non -- commercial field. The choice facing the UIA is typified by the magazine editorial policy problems.
II: SUPPORTING ACTIVITIES
In the last section, the marketing activities of the UIA were analysed as part of the general analysis of the internal organization and activities. In this section the supporting activities, departments and policies are considered.
In 1948 the UIA was reactivated with a capital of Bfrs 500,000 which was a legacy from one of its original founders. Since that date it has teen entirely dependent on sales of publications, grants or contracts, government subsidies and membership fees, in one form or another (see Exhibit 31 and 32).
Balance Sheets: The balance sheets prepared bythe UIA are listed together for comparative purposes in Exhibit 30. The cover the period 1955 to 1967, the end of the financial year coinciding with the end of the calendar year. The balance sheets do not give avery clear picture of the situation of the organization. There are several reasons for this.
Accounting methods have not yet been finally standardized for non-profit organizations even within the accounting profession. The result is that the meaning of 'capital', for example, is somewhat fluid. The UIA is not forced into producing a well -- ordered balance sheet since this is not required by the Belgian Government, because of the non-profit tax status. Over the period indicated in the Exhibit, at least three different methods of treating individual elements of the balance sheet can be distinguished. This makes comparison from year to year difficult.
Opinion in Belgium and on the continent in general has not been strongly in favour of making the balance sheet public as evidence of the progress of the organization concerned. The form finally made available is therefore somewhat disguised, which, together with the difference in treatment from American and English methods, makes it difficult to understand what has been achieved over a period.
The UIA has not made systematic use of normal double entry book-keeping. Up until December 1965, the organization was run strictly on a cash basis. The principal effect of this on the balance sheet is that prior to 1966 the figure for debtors is not a true figure. On March 31, 1961, for example, Bfrs 550,000 invoices were outstanding and not shown on the balance sheet. A publication was not considered sold until the money was received. Thismeant that there was a time-lag between registering publication costs and creditors, which were treated in the normal manner, and the income from the sale of the publications. In practice this posed no problem, since there was always a constant inflow of cash, but it does not make the balance sheet useful as an aid to evaluating the health of the organization.
The situation has been further complicated because from 1959 onwards no attempt has been made to value the stock of publications unsold. This means that creditors will be indicated for the cost of producing such publications, but no assets are shown to reflect the result of this expenditure. This gives the impression that the organization has produced nothing for a large expenditure.
A number of other items make useful comparison of the balance sheets very difficult. The figure for capital which is supposed to reflect furniture, library and equipment is not a realistic one as can be seen by the changes from year to year. No attempt has been made to depreciate the assets. Revaluations of currencies are not always clearly distinguished within the balance sheet. The figure for debtors, even under the current system, bears no indication of any write-off of bad debts. In 1961 this was stated to be about 10% of the invoices outstanding. Under the current system, advertising invoices are treated in the same way as publications, but the commission payable on receipt of the amount due is not provided for in the balance sheet. In effect advertising commissions are dealt with on the same cash basis as were the invoices prior to 1966. These commissions represented 50% of the advertising income in 1966, namely about Bfrs 250,000. This system does not give a true picture of amounts due at the end of each year, but has the advantage that these sums do not become due unless the advertising invoice is paid. A more serious disadvantage of not including provisions for future payments on the balance sheet is that the organization may not be financially prepared for them when they fall due as was recently the case with a contractual obligation.
The cumulative profit or loss is carried forward from year to year. This isthe only element which can be followed through from year to year in conjunction with the comparative income statements (see Exhibit 31). The profit or loss as disclosed by the income statement is a net figure which includes both real operating losses (which cannot be detected), and apparent losses due to the time-lag between taking production costs onto the books and receiving payment. The effect of the latter should balance out over a number of years, but it is nevertheless impossible to determine the amount of profit made in a given period.
This cumulative figure, as a liability, is the trade credit controlled by the organization. The corresponding asset figure can be corrected to indicate debtors in the normal sense of the term, although this has not been done prior to 1966. This debtors figure is in fact tied up with the value of the stock of publications not taken onto the books. In effect the corrected debtors term may be considered as publications which are still 'in stock' up until payment is received. The transaction is considered complete at a different point. This choice has been of considerable disadvantage to the UIA since it always gives a delayed financial picture.
Income Statement: The income statement is shown in Exhibit 31 for the period 1955 to 1967. Publications have been grouped together in this Exhibit but are shown separately in Exhibit 32. As with the balance sheets, it is difficult to follow through different elements from year to year. It is not quite certain whether a given amount would be considered under the same heading from year to year. Thus in 1956, for example, no distribution costs are indicated separately.
The most significant item in the comparison of the income statements is the cycle in net profits. This seems up to 1965 to have consisted of two profitable or nearly profitable years followed by two years of losses. This cycle is due to the publication of the Yearbook every two years. The Yearbook is published in the December-January period depending on the speed of production. The exact date of publication may have a marked effect on the end of year financial picture. It can also disguise the typically very difficult cash position just prior to publication of the Yearbook.
According to the two statements, up until December 1965 the UIA made a cumulative profit of Bfrs 109,000. It is not possible to state, as with profit-making organizations, whether this is good or bad, since the organization is not intent on making a profit, but merely in obtaining sufficient funds to continue its programs. The breakdown of the publications sales, which are the profitable section of the organizations operations can however be examined more critically.
Publication Sales and Profitability: The sales of different groups of publications, their publication and distribution costs, and the resultant gross profit are shown in Exhibit 32 for the period 1956 to 1967. The sales figures do not include contracts and for this reason the bibliography figures show a commercial loss which is largely met under contracts.
From the Exhibit it is clear that the sales of the Yearbook and magazine have resulted in an overall profit for publication sales, except for 1962 and 1964. The remaining groups of publications have shown either a slight profit or loss.
Exhibit 33 shows income and expenditure items as a percentage of total income and expenditure. Publication sales and contracts formed 89.6 of total income in 1967 as compared to 71-4% in 1958. During this period costs of publications (excluding administrative overheads) increased from 57-7% to 70.6%.
The gross and net profit (or loss) have been calculated as a percentage of sales and total income respectively in Exhibit 33. These figures all reflect the cyclical nature of UIA operations although the net profit percentage has improved in recent years.
The comparison between the income statements in Exhibit 31 shows that between 1957 and 1967 the distribution costs as a percentage of sales decreased from 9-4% to 6.5%. During the same period, production costs as a percentage of sales decreased from 80.7% to 56.2%. The reduction in the production cost percentage is largely due to the low editorial costs and the increase in the Yearbook price. The reduction of the distribution cost percentage may indicate that insufficient funds are being allocated to advertising.
Present Position: With the change in the accounting methods regarding debtors the balance sheet for 1966 and 1967 shows a much more healthy picture on the assets side. There has however been a marked increase in creditors. This change in policy does not affect the tight cash position in the months just prior to publication of the Yearbook. In 1968, for the first time, a loan of Bfrs 300,000 had to be negotiated against the personal signature of the Secretary-General.
One reason for the cash position is the rate at which invoices are paid. The UIA requests payment in 60 days, but in December 1967 49% of the publication debtors and 41% of the advertising debtors had invoices dated prior to October. This represents Bfrs 560,000. An important difficulty in collecting amounts due is that the publications take a long time to reach their destination and the UIA is not in a strong position to threaten bad payers overseas. The rate of payment could however be improved (20% of debtors are over nine months old). A step in this direction would be to indicate clearly on the invoice when the amount falls due. Discounts for early payment should also be stated on the invoice.
The UIA is fortunate that it can stretch its creditors, particularly printers, up to five months or more. Some printers' bills payable date back over two years or more.
Conclusions on Finance and Accounting: The attitude towards the balance sheet is that it is something that must be produced for the benefit of members but that it is of little use in the management of the organization. The organization therefore loses the possibility of being able to detect and plan for critical periods by comparison between balance sheets over a period of years. Much more attention needs to be given to procedures for obtaining reliable cost and sales information on different groups of publications. These can be an aid to control of the organization irrespective of whether they are all made available to members. The lack of an adequate system of costing hasmeant that the financial success or failure of a particular publication or group of publications is not always clear. The sales and profitability of some publications are calculated on the basis of stock and selling price figures often without allowing for the number of press copies distributed, the distribution costs, and discounts. Discounts to the London business secretariat are treated as "national secretariat" expenses, for example. No attempt is made to allocate administrative overheads to particular publication groups to check their net profitability.
The procedure for collecting amounts due needs to be re-examined. The UIA could probably dampen the financial cycle. ' The publication of the new Yearbook of International Congress Proceedings at the same time as the other Yearbook will tend to exaggerate the cyclic effect. It would be useful to move its publication date into the second year.
The monthly cash situation would be much more reliable as a guide to the health of the UIA if figures for each month were combined together into aprojected cash flow sheet for the future twelve-month period. This would show the projected revenue and expenditure month by month. It would give some warning of critical periods. It would also allow the UIA to check the monthly situation against the budgeted situation. The UIA might be able to benefit from the work currently being done on accounting problems of non-profit organizations and the special techniques required (see bibliography). A special study in the U.S.A. resulted in recommendations on standards for balance sheets and income statements for for non-profit voluntary organizations. Copies of the statements are given as Exhibit 34 and 34a. Such standardized accounting statements could be used as a means for developing ratio-analysis of the items in the statements as a guide to the management of non-profit organizations (see Exhibit 15a).
Office Conditions: The organization is housed in a very adequate 19th century building on a 3-6-9 formula lease. The house is being leased whilst awaiting the increase in property values in what is relatively expensive area. The building has been redecorated bythe owner and the UIA jointly. Central heating was installed at the same-time.
Although the conditions are fairly satisfactory for the Brussels area, no attempt has been made to modernize the washroom facilities and cover the floors. This means that the general impression is one of bare boarded offices filled with a variety of second-hand desks and no modern filing cabinets or storage equipment. Because of the lack of adequate filing facilities and the exposed piles of documents, dust tends to accumulate, giving the office a rather musty atmosphere.
Since much of the documentation is considered unique, and there is little fire protection, this amounts to exposing ones assets dangerously. The UIA has already had one fire in a previous premises.
These comments are relevant to the sections on personnel turnover and also to the question of the UIA image and fund raising.
Equipment: There is a lack of adequate filing facilities as was indicated above. Aside from the fire hazard, the current system used does not encourage organized filing. Some of the files are difficult to work with and dirty.. Manual type writers are used in all work. One problem in this respect is the need to keep two sets of typewriters, with English and French keyboards. A manual duplicator is used. The use of the manual typewriter and duplicator results in a rather poor quality stencil which reflects on the image of the UIA. A manual addressograph machine is used for addressing the regular mailings. The UIA has used a Rank-Xerox photocopy machine with some success.
The personnel of the UIA may be divided into three groups:
The secretariat has grown from two persons in 1949 to the present staff of 10 with 1 part-time. An organization chart is shown in Exhibit 35. A basic problem in obtaining staff is the necessity to have production staff proficient in both English and French, since the majority of the publications are produced in English or in some bilingual form. Much of the data received is in these two languages, but an acquaintance with Italian, Spanish, Dutch, German and Portuguese: is necessary to be able to scan periodicals.
The executive staff, composed of the Secretary-General, Assistance Secretary-General and the Head of the Information Unit have been with the UIA for over 15 years. One member of the secretarial staff has been with the UIA for 4 years. The remaining personnel have been engaged during the past two years. These details are illustrated in Exhibit 36.
From Exhibit 36 it can be seen that the average staff turnover is approximately 50% per year. If the executive group is excluded, this rises to approximately 70% per year.
Reasons for High Personnel Turnover: The main reasons for the high personnel turnover have been:
Reasons for which Personnel Remain with Organization: The main reasons for which personnel stay with the organization are:
Problems in Obtaining Personnel: The UIA has considerable difficulty in attracting and holding onto suitable staff to perform the documentary activity. This is partly due to the lack of people with the language qualifications prepared to work for the salaries offered, and partly because a certain amount of interest or dedication is required to work in a small non-profit organization. It is difficult to find people who are convinced of the value of NGOs as a field of long-term interest, and to be able to convince them of the UIA's future in this field.
Conclusions on Personnel Policy: There is a tendency when dealing with personnel to emphasize the non-profit 'sacrificial' aspect of working for the UIA. The work done and the well"being of the organization are stressed. This makes it almost impossible for employees to request salary increases or improved working conditions without implying some form of violation of the spirit of the organization. The personnel are however regarded as replaceable so that the high turnover is not considered important. The policy is to allow employees to leave without making any serious attempt to meet their demands for better conditions. It is easy to do this, since the employment situation in Brussels is in the UIA's favour at the moment. By adopting this policy personnel costs are kept low but the quality, commitment and morale of staff remains low.
The UIA does not cultivate all the advantages normally associated with non-profit organizations. Many commercial organizations get greater support from their personnel by a policy of encouraging participation and constructive criticism. The UIA does not have a regular meeting of staff at which this could be done.
As a result the UIA has attracted people who are initially interested but then drop away as they recognize the considerable amount of detailed documentary work involved. A certain number of idealists fall into this category. Also attracted are people who for one reason or another cannot obtain a position elsewhere and find it convenient to work at the UIA. A further problem in the case of the documentary personnel of anglo-saxon origin, is that it is difficult for them to adapt themselves, on a longterm basis, to life in Brussels. Locating personnel is not easy since they have to be brought across to Brussels for an interview, or else they nay have preconcieved ideas of what the organization's work involves. This has meant that the quality and continuity of the work has been the responsibility of the first group. The quality and volume of the documentary work, in particular, has been maintained almost entirely as a result of the efforts of the Head of the Information Unit.
The UIA has not been able to fill one important slot in an adequate manner. This is the position of sales and publicity manager. These functions now devolve onto three people. Although the commercial possibilities are quite considerable, the UIA has not been able to obtain anyone for this position despite occasional attempts. Reasons are that the type of dynamic person required would not accept the rather archaic working conditions and budget initially available. Also, no acceptable formula for giving him the necessary responsibility has been worked out.
Amenities and Working Conditions: The morale of the female staff is strongly influenced by the poor amenities and general physical condition of the offices and equipment. This is emphasized by the isolation of individual offices. People in different departments may not see each other for weeks. This does not help to cultivate good team work even though individual contact may be very pleasant.
Communication with Personnel: Since much policy making is on a short-term basis in response to immediate crises, it is not considered important to inform personnel of current plans. There is little participation by personnel in decisionmaking. As a result, each person is forced to restrict his attention to his own job and may have little understanding of other activities within, the organization. This lack of communication and a certain amount of secretiveness leads to a considerable number of rumours. These are not good for the morale of the personnel and may be an important factor in encouraging people to leave, particularly, when the rumours concern the ability of the UIA to meet staff salary commitments.
Future Problems: A problem implicit in the current set-up is the lack of a trained successor to a number of critical posts. Ho replacement exists for the SecretaryGeneral who wishes to withdraw slowly from current operations over the next five-ten years. The Assistant Secretary-General is not available on a full-time basis. The Head of the Information Unit is on contract expiring on anon-renewal basis at the end of 1968.
Of the three persons taken on in order to replace the Head of the Information Unit on his departure, one left after 3 weeks, and the remainder are leaving at the end of 1968. Of the other members of the administrative" and production group, one is retiring at the end of 1968. Two others are leaving before the end of 1968. This means that the whole of this group may have to be replaced if the current programs are continued.
In a snail organization the personal objectives and interests of the executives have a considerable influence on the activities and programs. The executives interpret, implement and modify the objectives and activities laid down in the Constitution. This is particularly true of a nonprofit organization or one pursuing some idealistic objective.
The three executives at the UIA, namely the Secretary-General, the Assistant Secretary-General and the Head of the Information Unit (who is also the Editor of the Yearbook) have all been intimately concerned with the development of the organization for the past 15-20 years. The differences in their conception of the role of the UIA, its activities, and the future program are reflected in difficulties of decision-making and inconsistency between parts of the program.
The Secretary-General is primarily interested in increasing the role of the organization in international society and in ensuring that it benefits from the commercial possibilities of its specialized documentation and contacts. The Assistant Secretary-General is primarily interested in the services the UIA can render to NGOs and in the well-being of the UIA. The Head of the Information Unit is mainly concerned with the improvement of the general documentation on international organizations and their activity. The objectives of the Executive Committee members do not lead to new programs but act more as a brake on existing activities. The main reason for these differences is the lack of a well thought out, mutually agreed, consistent set of objectives. These are not essential and the organization has survived without them by relying on the discipline imposed by a regular publication program.
The importance of these objectives is that any future program must be designed to satisfy the desires of these key individuals and any future executives. This cannot be done effectively without a mutually agreed conception of the rolsof the UIA.
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