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introduction to NGO credibility and legitimacy
Circa October 2007
is the quality of being believable or trustworthy. It refers to
whether or not a person or a statement is believed or trusted. Sometimes
leaders or experts are not considered by the public to be credible
because they have a personal interest in the outcome of a situation
or a conflict which would likely influence their views and/or statements
about that situation or conflict.
a salesperson's "believability" is established through
empathy, willingness to listen to specific needs, and continual
enthusiasm toward his or her work and the customer's business.
It is the quality of being plausible, believable, dependable, or
worthy of confidence. An improvement of credibility is considered
to be the same as confidence building or providing quality to the
user. Thus, a "credible" communicator is perceived as
both expert and trustworthy.
is one of the most critical factors that affects an NGO. Being credible
is simply the perception of being trustworthy and believable. Why
do people buy brand name goods and services? One of the key reasons
is that the brand represents a level of quality that they know and
So how can an
NGO build credibility? A key factor is being consistent, with reference
to the work being done, the message being disseminated, or the concepts
being advocated. Sharing knowledge is a useful way to build credibility.
This helps in building the intellectual base of the NGO, and its
ability to articulate the views of the people it is speaking for.
And oboviously, telling the truth is always the best way. Good testimonials
can also be a powerful way to generate trust.
A number of
strategies can be seen being used by NGOs to build their credibility:
- Use of academics
and experts to evaluate NGO projects and activities
with national or regional associations, alliances, or forums
- Finding credible
and publishing regularly
- Seeking awards
and prizes as recognition for work done
with key community, governmental and industry entities
- Writing case
studies that tell compelling stories from people and communities
- Geting some
good press stories
an NGO's strengths and larger connections, communicate the strengths
and connections consistently
- Keeping a
significant presence online - both web and email
a good image through newsletters, bulletins, press releases etc.
building good credibility builds trust and confidence - which not
only strengthens staff morale, but enables an NGO to garner resources
to be more effective in its programmes and projects.
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