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Partnerships and Polarity Management

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” –  F. Scott Fitzgerald.

We all tend to see the difficulties we encounter at work and in life in general as problems we must solve. We come by this tendency honestly through formal education and through learned experience where we told to look for “the answer” to our problems. This is often the case in partnerships where we constantly look to solve the complex challenges of working together.  But is this possible and even in the best interests of building effective and impactful partnerships?   (more…)

Embracing Inherent Partnership Tensions

This past spring I participated in a conference on “Inherent Tensions in Networks”. The main theme was get comfortable with being uncomfortable when working in partnerships. When I work with partners I use a diversity of concepts and methods to support and enhance their work, including design and systems thinking and group dynamics. But “Polarity Thinking”, is one framework I use regularly. Like yin and yang, polarities are interdependent values that support each other.   (more…)

New Millennial Engagement Research

By Jocelyne Daw and Richard Janzen

Every nonprofit or community-minded organization is looking to pass the torch to the next generation, finding someone to take up “The Cause” and continue the good work. This work is vitally important to building and maintaining communities, helping the disadvantaged, and connecting us with like-minded people.  Millennials are a key target. They care about their community already.  So the question is not why engage them or what to do when they become involved. The real question is how do you most effectively engage and keep Millennials engaged?  (more…)

Reflections On My Partnership Brokers Training

Guest Blog – Rebecca Aird, Director Grants and Community Knowledge, Ottawa Community Foundation

In February this year, I participated in a 4-day training course by the Partnership Brokers Association. Participants included reps from post-secondary institutions, government agencies, funders, and not-forprofit organizations.  To begin on a personal level, the course helped affirm my sense of the necessity and potential for more enlightened approaches to collaboration, and greater intentionality and sophistication in pursuing multi-dimensional benefits. It’s hard to say more about the course without saying a lot more. But the explicit emphasis on courage, equity, transparency, and trust was so well modeled by everyone throughout the course that it strengthened my optimism and resolve! (more…)

Conditions for Effective Partnerships

By Jocelyne Daw

Everyone talks about partnership. But talking about collaboration isn’t the same as doing it. Genuine collaboration is hard, especially when it requires working across sectors and systems. Ineffective partnerships can be wasteful and challenge traditional power dynamics. It can be regarded more as a charming concept than as a legitimate practice to improve outcomes. Partnering isn’t the clear answer to every problem.   Partnerships must add value and create positive outcomes. To be effective, partnering must create a whole that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. So what does it take to build deep and meaningful partnerships that will drive system-wide change? (more…)

Shifting the Funder’s Partnership Paradigm

Donors increasingly play a critical role in funding cross-sector collaborations.  In fact, many require “partnerships” for funding to be provided. They rightly belief partnerships can be innovative, far reaching, scalable and sustainable. But donors often struggle to appreciate the challenges and hard work involved in true partnerships.   And while their intentions are genuine, practice suggests funder driven partnerships have often stifled rather than optimized multi-stakeholder collaborations. How can donors shift their support to help partnerships achieve ambitious and transformational goals? (more…)

An Update on Shared Value Around the World

So far, 2017 has been a year of stability and scaling for shared value. Shared value was introduced over six years ago as an innovative new approach  addressing social needs with a business model to achieve social and economic value.  While some of the initial excitement has faded, many companies have found success with this strategy and are reaping the benefits of more effective community-business relationships while creating new economic value. (more…)

Social Purpose Marketing for Behaviour Change

By Rachel Adrian

Recent years have seen a huge increase in companies getting involved in social purpose marketing. Rather than solely throwing money at a cause, companies are taking a stand and educating the public about underlying social issues. Advocacy and educational campaigns add authenticity and a personal connection to community investment initiatives. Social purpose marketing isn’t just about doing good for the community, it has also been shown to have unique business benefits. (more…)

The Future of Cause Marketing

Cause marketing has changed rapidly in recent years and these changes have the potential to impact their contribution to the nonprofit sector. With the rise of online shopping, and many retailers closing up physical stores, the popular point-of-sale requests are becoming less viable. Fortunately, even with all of these changes, there are still ways to get customers involved and create a successful campaigns that support organizations both in raising money and awareness.  How? (more…)

Experts Weigh in on the Future of Business Giving

By Joe Waters, Selfish Giving

Business giving is changing and nothing reflects this more than how they interact with charity. So how exactly is it changing and how can you ensure you’re prepared for the road ahead? To answer that question, Joe Waters from Selfish Giving asked 26 experts to share their insights into this rapidly changing landscape. Here’s what they had to say:
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