I was recently starting to feel good, or at least slightly better about the world. Lockdown is easing in Australia; kids are back in school and it’s looking like we have fared well comparatively. I was starting to imagine what the new world could look like after Covid-19. Can we live in a world that isn’t driven by profit and capitalist greed? Then America erupts into riots (#blacklivesmatter) and Rio Tinto in Australia destroys a 46,000 year old Aboriginal site to expand their iron ore mining. The world is in turmoil and people are rightly questioning whether the system is broken. What if it didn’t have to be this way?
There is a real desire for change. In the recent Edelman Trust survey NGO’s are still viewed as the most trusted and ethical. However, they are horribly under resourced and overstretched which undermines their competency. Business is viewed as competent and innovative but trust in institutions around the world is at a low point. I’m an eternal optimist and would love to see charities use their unique place of trust within the community to build more effective corporate partnerships.
How can they do that?
There has never been a time when businesses are under this much pressure from their staff and their consumers about whether they’re operating ethically. 56% of Edelman Trust respondents agreed that Capitalism was doing more harm than good. How can charities inspire business to create a better world for all of us and create mutual value in a partnership? Linda wrote a great piece challenging the paradigm that corporates are from Mars and charities are from Venus and how to bring these seeming opposites together.
This crisis has placed charities in the unique situation of being able to drive a shared partnership vision that creates true value for society. Businesses need to listen, or their stakeholders will vote with their feet. Think about and articulate to your partners what you can achieve together by working on a single societal issue. This will have far greater value and measurable impact than asking a business to fill a program gap. What can you shift the dial on if you used the strengths of both organisations to work on this? What would it take from each of you? The result will be a partnership that is win-win-win. Good for you, good for your partner and good for society. Now is the time to tap into a corporate partner’s innovation and resources and begin those conversations.
Two seemingly opposite entities can come together under a shared vision and shared goals. What is the ideal future that you want to see? This will be the foundation for your partnership. All goals, measures and activities will contribute to this overarching vision. It will dramatically elevate your partnerships into something that has additional value for both partners and society.
The last time I felt this much groundswell of public support was around the Millennium Development Goals. A huge problem that was seemingly too big to make progress in – how do you end world poverty? It was broken down into milestones and targets with hundreds of organisations tracking their results. Although many goals were missed, the progress achieved on key issues meant it was a huge success. Just one example is the number of children dying before their 5th birthday from preventable causes. It was reduced from 30,000 deaths per day to 15,000. One of many staggering achievements. Can corporate-community partnerships now look at bridging the gap on other inequalities that have been highlighted during this crisis?
Charities have a deep expertise. Your knowledge of these systemic issues and your expertise in tackling inequalities has never been more important. Invite businesses into that knowledge. Identify the wicked problems. Work together on the common issues. Create partnerships that are not just providing mutual value but are creating additional value. Make the sum of the partnership greater than the two partners. That’s what the world needs now. Your ability to create a sustainable, ethical, just and fair world has never been needed more. Step up and invite your partners to be a part of your vision. Inspire your partners about how you want to see the world and show them how they can contribute to it.
If you want to know how to create a partnership framework that sets out an ambitious vision and drives transformational value from the partnership, then talk to us. We really are all in this together.
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