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March 17, 2012
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Finding & Supporting New Models of Collaboration for Good

Following up on last weeks blog post about how, in the midst of the economic downturn, the best corporate citizens built more successful ways of working with governments and NGOs, we now look at how to help organizations establish them by shining a light on real-world examples and providing a platform for connecting with potential partners.

At the 2011 COMMIT!Forum we highlighted several new models of collaboration. Two of my personal favorites were the work done by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Compass Group to alleviate slave-like working conditions for migrant workers in Florida and that of Western Union and USAID to establish an African Diaspora Marketplace to harness the wealth and entrepreneurialism of this community to jump-start new businesses in Africa itself...


Leveraging Deficits: How the Best Corporate Citizens drove more effective cross-sector collaboration during the Great Recession

In last week's blog post, I pointed to the emergence of a "renaissance" in how companies, NGOs, and governments are collaborating to tackle some of our toughest challenges. This week I'm going to look in-depth at the specific new models and practices we're seeing emerge. 
Throughout 2011 we looked for successful practices in cross-sector collaboration by examining commitments made as part of the annual COMMIT!Campaign and by talking with CR Magazines Best Corporate Citizens. There were stark differences in the way these organizations engage with NGOs and governments as compared with most companies and donors. The best:

Deficit-Driven Developments

The recession started a renaissance in how companies, NGOs, & governments collaborate

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention.  With governments and non-profits facing yawning budget deficits and business facing one of its biggest trust-deficits in history, organizations are coming together in unprecedented ways to tackle some of society's greatest challenges. In fact, a distinct set of collaborative practices used by the “best corporate citizens” and their partners have emerged that others could adopt.


Show me the Money: Getting CSR Capital for your NGO

More than ever, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are echoing Cuba Gooding Jr.’s line “Show me the money!” when it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Having successfully fundraised CSR capital for an NGO, I’m often asked for my secret, as though I have the best-ever marinara sauce recipe. These conversations are often asymmetrical as I get excited about how CSR is revolutionizing development and exclaim: “But it’s about rethinking our whole approach to social change!” or “Think in terms of making the pie bigger, not just redistributing wealth!” or “Creativity not bureaucracy!” Although NGOs embrace the excitement about CSR, they understandably have questions about companies’ funding priorities, how the procurement process works, if they should present themselves differently and so on.

Navigating corporate funding is indeed a bit like being at sea with no compass. So I’m setting aside my excitement for a moment, putting on my practical hat and listing a few tips for chasing CSR money...

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