Colorful picture of gears interlocking, some small, some medium, some big.Updated, April 2022


As mentioned previously in these pages, there are four elements of effective dissemination. We’ve discussed the first element, involving your intended users. This resource page focuses on the second element, involving dissemination sources.

The Meaning of “Dissemination Sources”

Let us clarify what we mean by “dissemination sources.” We’re talking about the main source or sources that each of your potential user groups is tied to or respects the most as a provider of information. As a disseminator, consider ways to partner with these sources, which can serve as valuable intermediaries who share your information with the groups you want to reach.  In other words, an effective element in your dissemination efforts is to partner with an organization or entity (or more than one) that your users trust and themselves use as an information source.

There are a number of reasons why it’s strategic to involve other dissemination sources in your dissemination efforts.

Research has shown that users are more likely to receive and use information that comes from a source they trust or see as credible.

Hard-to-reach audiences are exactly that—-hard-to-reach. A source they already use to find reliable information knows just where to reach them, and how. And they’re receptive to messages from that source. They’ve listened in the past, have found the source trustworthy, and are more likely to be receptive to your message when it comes through this credible third party.

Partnering with a source viewed as credible by a user group you’d like to reach gives you a valuable assist, an immediate presumption of credibility of your own. Credibility by association, you might say. Someone trusted is vouching for your cause or your message.

Your dissemination source can help you tailor your message so that it resonates with recipients.

Your message is carried into the networks of others, not just via your own. You reach more people this way.

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Why Would Others Give You Such Access?

It’s asking a big favor: Will you help me get my message out to your network? Oh, and may I use your communication mechanisms (newsletter, website, mailing addresses)?

Why would another organization give you such access to a valued audience?

Mutual benefit, that’s why. You have something to offer that a prospective dissemination source considers helpful. Information. Expertise. Assistance you offer to their audience or to a mutual audience. A return favor, such as access to your network for initiatives of their own. Together, we can do so much…

Now think about it. Who do you partner with to extend the reach of your credibility and message? Who would you like to have as a dissemination source? What user groups do you find challenging to reach and serve? Who could give you a hand?

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