Dissemination Introduction

Dissemination Introduction

 Dissemination is a key aspect of the Leonardo programme, as it is an essential element in making
projects sustainable beyond the funding period. The European Commission (EC) encourages all Leonardo projects to undertake active dissemination throughout their lifetime. However, dissemination is often seen as an add-on activity within a project. Additional support is required for partners, in order to raise general awareness of the importance of dissemination, and to provide
practical tips for undertaking dissemination activities.


The concept of dissemination is relatively straightforward. It can be defined as ‘the process of information-giving and awareness-raising’. In the context of Leonardo projects, dissemination is key
to longevity and to ensuring that projects can provide benefits to a wider audience than direct beneficiaries and immediate partners. The answer to the question ‘Why disseminate?’ is simple – it is to enable others to benefit from project outcomes.

Dissemination encompasses a broad range of activities. This variety means that we need to focus on clear objectives when designing and implementing our dissemination plans. Otherwise we will spread our limited resources too thinly without achieving any impact.

The role of the Leonardo programme, and of all projects funded by it, is to develop and test new ideas and solutions. In achieving impact, we should aim for securing longer-term take-up of activities, outcomes and lessons by policy-makers and practitioners at local, national or European level. This is called ‘mainstreaming’. Mainstreaming or multiplying projects’ outcomes implies seeking a ‘return on this investment’, by reaching out to as many potential users as possible.

This section therefore highlights the importance of dissemination. It also provides practical information that we can integrate into the planning and operation of our mutual assistance mobility projects throughout their lifetime. The following aspects of dissemination are addressed:


  • key features – what, when, to whom and how
  • Draft  SWOT analysis
  • Draft  Action plan for reaching our target audience
  • Draft  Dissemination Action Plan


All the elements above that are classified as draft we would advise you to finalize together with all project partners prior to the beginning of the project or in its very early days. These will than form our PROJECT DISSEMINATION STRATEGY, which can also be reviewed and adjusted throughout
the project life time.


Elements of this section are derived from documents that were issued to project managers within the
European Social Fund Community Initiatives ADAPT and EMPLOYMENT; as well as from guidance notes and resources published on website of the Leonardo UK National Agency and the European Commission.





Dissemination is dedicated to the goal of enabling others to benefit from project outcomes throughout and beyond the lifetime of the project itself. Effective dissemination and exploitation
is a key part of raising awareness and promoting successful and innovative mobility.


When devising and implementing your dissemination plan, amongst many others you
need to consider four main questions:

  • what to disseminate, including the types and levels of activity to be undertaken as
    part of the dissemination plan;
  • when to disseminate, in order to ensure that the timing of activities is appropriate;
  • to whom – the audience/ target group for dissemination; and
  • how to disseminate, including setting a dissemination budget with the appropriate
    resources (such as personnel and materials).



Your project is likely to have two kinds of ‘products’: tangible outputs which are physical and substantive, and more intangible outputs such as project processes and methodologies.

The tangible products being disseminated could be: a website, CDs and DVDs, publications, project
documentation, new methodologies, new tools, etc.

The intangible  outputs can cover areas such as achievements of learners or staff; changes in attitudes; an increase in cultural awareness; better language skills; or an improvement in quality during your project. Even though they may be more difficult to quantify they are important results from your project and should be included in your dissemination plan. Use of interviews, questionnaires or other self assessment mechanisms may help to extract and highlight this sort of information.





Your dissemination plan should take account of the timing of the phases of your project. Obviously, since the timing of these phases can change as your project’s work proceeds, it is necessary to be flexible about the timing of dissemination activities.


Plans for dissemination should always be specified at the outset of a project. This enables the dissemination plan to be drawn up in relation to the project’s aims and objectives. For this reason, Leonardo project applicants are required to specify their intentions for dissemination. This does not mean, however, that dissemination plans are inflexible. They may need to be revised in the light of progress and the actual outcomes of the project.

However, establishing a dissemination plan at the beginning of a project helps to ensure that the appropriate resources are allocated, and focuses the project on its intended audience.


Three periods for dissemination can be identified. For each period there
are differences in the reasons for, and the intended audience of,


      •      Early in the project, dissemination aims to ensure that your project is addressing the      needs of its target groups, or is creating awareness or understanding of your activities.

      •      During the project, dissemination is about identifying lessons from what has been learned,
particularly in relation to processes, and passing them on to interested parties.

      •      At the end of the project, dissemination is intended to publicise more generally your project’s outputs (both products and processes), the lessons learnt, and the benefits gained. Such dissemination may also aim to build up a constituency of support for your project’s working processes.





It is important to target the audience for dissemination activities, in order to ensure that maximum benefit is gained from these activities. The audience will be those individuals and agencies
who have the potential to carry forward the activities, lessons and outcomes.


Partners are to concentrate on disseminating to three groups: the end-users themselves
i.e. trainers, social workers, youth workers, representatives of the target groups in the participating countries; the decision makers i.e. directors of target group organisations, owners of foundations, charity heads, as well as LLP National Agencies across Europe; other interested parties or stakeholders i.e. NGOs, voluntary organisations, equal opportunity organisations, social sector, employers, local authorities, etc.





Many activities can be used to disseminate your outcomes and products. Some examples of relevant
activities are given below.


               •           Distributing products (e.g. training materials and good practice guides) as publications in their own right It is useful for your project to produce its own documentation, rather than placing items in other publications. Such documentation could include short flyers, or brochures
giving more detailed information about the project’s outcomes.

The project’s training materials also need to be of high quality, and you need to consider how training courses will be disseminated, monitored and quality assured, particularly where they lead to accredited qualifications.


              •           Producing newsletters Newsletters provide a straightforward and effective way to disseminate the results of your project. They can be distributed to a mailing list of the project partners’ contacts, and are a good means of introducing new people and organisations to the
project’s work.


              •           Attending conferences and seminars and presenting your project Participating in conferences and seminars is another useful form of dissemination which can lead
to a productive exchange of information, depending on the nature of the event and the audience. It is important to distinguish between events organised by your project and events organised by others, since the resources and time required to organise and run events cannot be underestimated. There is always the possibility of holding joint events with other projects, so that the workload
can be shared and there can be a comparison of experiences. Whoever the organisers, it is important to ensure that the event has an appropriate audience for your project. Presentations made by your project are demanding in terms of time and resources, but they often have useful spin-offs (such as
publications). Presentations are also useful for raising other people and organisations’ interest in your project.


              •           Providing general guidance and support It is useful to have contact names and contact points for giving general guidance and support to people and organisations who might be interested in your project. General guidance can be provided through advice lines and information centres, for example. Enquirers’ needs are likely to range from requests for written
information or other contact names and addresses, to more detailed information on matters such as methods and successful partnership arrangements. Having a general contact point helps to deal efficiently with enquiries. More detailed requests can be referred to the most appropriate contacts.


              •           Using new technology (e.g. Internet, CD-ROMs) The Internet,
through the use of promotional web sites, offers tremendous scope for disseminating your project outcomes. The project’s web site should also have effective and relevant links to other sites, so that browsers can access your web pages from other, related sites. Consideration needs to be given to the means of advertising the site and monitoring its effectiveness (beyond simply measuring the number of ‘hits’).

However, as with all dissemination activities, it is important to identify your target audience and
decide if more focused dissemination would be more effective. More specific uses of the Internet include e-mail, bulletin boards and discussion groups among project partners and beyond. These methods can all be used to raise the profile of your project’s results with targeted audiences, and can also be useful in enabling some exchange of ideas.


              •           Using the potential of the media The media can be useful for informing a wide audience about your project’s achievements and outcomes. It is important, however, to ensure that your messages can reach their intended audience. This means that careful attention should be given to selecting the appropriate medium. Trade journals, for example, are useful for disseminating relatively detailed information about project outcomes, such as training products. More generic media, such as local newspapers and radio, may be interested in the overall implications of your project for the local economy. Press releases can also be useful for encouraging interest in your
project. They can easily be derived from other project materials, such as newsletters, progress reports and seminar presentations.


            •           Networking at various levels – local, regional, national and European It is important not to neglect the potential for dissemination through networks. Personal contact
between individuals in the same network can play a key role in getting messages across. Formal and informal contacts through networking are important at alllevels of policy-making. The networks and personal contacts established through your project will often survive after the project’s lifetime, thus making elements of it sustainable.


            When selecting your dissemination tools, attention needs to be paid to the following factors.


The range and number of actors thatdissemination tools can reach

Though overlap inevitably exists, the means by which your project team contacts relevant actors can be ranked according to whether they are ‘narrow-casting’ or ‘broad-casting’ methods. ‘Narrow-casting’ implies methods that impact on a relatively small number of people, but in some depth – e.g a small, selective advisory group which is very well informed about your project or partnership. An intermediate option, such as a thematic workshop with directors of training institutions, would reach a larger group but somewhat more superficially, though their comments might lead to adaptations in provisional products. A ‘broad-casting’ model, such as a large exhibition, would cover a wide group of potential users, but the contact would be limited. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, but in general the larger the size of the group, the lower the level of detail that can be provided.


The type of links established with actors

Another way in which dissemination tools differ is in the type of link or commitment that actors
have with your project. Some tools ‘involve’ audiences, others ‘inform’ them:

  •  ‘involving’ the audience means that actors, usually representing organisations, have some kind of direct relationship with, or are actively involved in, your project. Such links
    usually imply some degree of responsibility for, or commitment to, the project.

     ‘informing’ the audience means that
    actors receive information about your project, without having any direct say in the project or its products.


Dissemination tools’ effectiveness in getting your project outcomes accepted

Contacts with all actors have the same purpose: to get your new approach or product accepted.
Methods that actively involve a few actors are usually more effective in this regard than those that merely inform a large number of actors. There is ample proof from other projects that the sense of co-ownership generated by active participation has a positive impact on decision-makers’ willingness to support dissemination and use of a project’s products and proposals. It is therefore important to bring decision-makers into direct contact with your project or partnership.


Even if there are no dedicated resources for a full-time staff member for dissemination, the
responsibility for driving your dissemination strategy forward needs to be clearly allocated.

It is also important to remember that active dissemination has benefits both within and outside of
your organisation. The project may not be well recognised internally, especially if your organisation is large. You need to ensure that your project is as visible as possible within your organisation. Having a visible status within the organisation often brings out additional dissemination avenues that
can be used for external dissemination. All the dissemination tools identified in this section can be used for both internal and external dissemination.


Quality control

Quality control is important when disseminating processes and ouputs, but it is important to
recognise the value of disseminating negative as well as positive lessons learnt. Passing on both negative and positive lessons is important for ensuring that the same mistakes are not repeated in future projects and that the same ground is not covered in other projects. Positive and negative lessons can also both play an important role in helping other promoters to come up with new
project ideas.

Please note we have included videos, presentations and useful tools in the following pages!