A new era of collaboration is the key to achieving societal impact


As companies aspire to achieve greater societal impact, they are moving away from traditional partnership models and seeking out new models of collaboration.

The research findings shed a light on the current landscape of collaboration for social impact, finding that 68 per cent of practitioners surveyed believe that they are already collaborating with others to achieve tangible impacts and 43 per cent of those already collaborating are doing so with eight or more organisations to achieve their goals. Impact measurement is important amongst this group, and 57 per cent of practitioners stated that they are performing some form of impact measurement – from applying LBG methodology to measuring the social return on investment.

The majority of effective collaborations undertaken are with non-profits, followed by governments. Collaborating with corporates within the same sector and cross-sector corporate collaboration is also becoming more common place.

Five models of effective collaboration were identified in the research:

The Conductor – A single company collaborating with a number of not-for-profit partners to solve a specific challenge. These types of collaboration will often be focused on one specific issue and be working to tackle this issue across a number of geographies, utilising different local not-for-profits to achieve this.

The Alliance – A company or group of companies that have come together to tackle a specific industry issue. This can often result in the development of a focused initiative that the companies subscribe to deliver, or the development of tools, indices or standards that companies within the industry commit to.

The Assortment – Several companies across industries working together to solve a particular societal issue, applying their resources, skills and expertise as relevant.  These collaborations are often cross-sectoral, involving non-for-profits and/or government bodies.

The Engager – A company that engages and collaborates with its clients or customers to find solutions to sustainability issues. These types of collaboration may come about through specific corporate responsibility initiatives or through a commercial relationship.

The Selector – A company which selects and collaborates with parties with varying but specific expertise across a range of fields to address a societal issue. This collaboration is the most mature model and involves taking a holistic approach to solve an issue.

Amanda Jordan OBE, Co-Founder of Corporate Citizenship commented: “More and more organisations are seeking to achieve a greater social and environmental impact through collaboration with others. Many different types of collaborations and relationships are emerging as organisations engage in new ways, in order to address big issues and deliver long-term change. We believe that those engaged in truly collaborative initiatives are the ones achieving the biggest impact.”