This post is the second in a series. Read the first: "INGOs Reimagined: New Era, New Business Model."
Momentum around shared value accelerated at a zealous clip in 2014. The proof? A recent Fast Company article—“Never Mind Corporate Responsibility, Companies Can Solve Actual Social Problems”—captured the promise of shared value partnerships. A packed World Economic Forum session last week in Davos led by the Rockefeller Foundation’s Zia Khan that included, among others, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke, questioned: “Should Business Lead the Social Agenda?” And a recent Devex/Abt Associates Development Partnerships Survey found that shared value is important for achieving development outcomes, with 91% of development professionals agreeing that business is mostly a positive force in global development.
At the intersection of shared value and global development, the Shared Value Initiative at FSG is driving a rich exchange among companies and international nonprofits (INGOs). But far from simply talking, the Initiative-led INGO Shared Value Working Group is busy doing. How did it first unfold?
The Working Group arose organically in response to demand from a sector keen to explore new approaches to corporate partnerships. Faced with disruptions from new development actors, stagnant public budgets, and high opportunity costs to pursue innovation, the Initiative co-developed a pilot agenda with 12 INGOs that count $3B+ in annual revenues. We launched in September 2014. The group had two early objectives: to improve the process for members to develop shared value partnerships with corporations and to expand opportunities for creating these partnerships. Across the group, there was a strong appetite for moving from a more general conversation on public-private partnerships to the more tangible, concrete, how-to of next generation partnerships. What does it look like to create revenue sharing agreements with companies? How do we value our advisory services? How do we forge collaboration among the INGOs in this group?
Initially, Working Group members focused energy on internal groundwork issues: securing buy-in from across the organization, new organizational structures to support effective partnerships, and tweaking the value proposition to companies. An innovative meeting format that brings corporate representatives into a portion of the conversation provides an opportunity to test assumptions with individuals responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate social investment. Indeed, support from Chevron for specific components of the Working Group agenda in 2015 emerged out of the realization that they were already working with many member INGOs and would benefit from optimizing capacity building, collaboration, and beyond.
As we move into 2015, the Working Group is expanding with additional members to complement our 12 founding INGOs. For 2015, the group has built a value proposition around four priorities:
- Providing ongoing knowledge exchange opportunities among an intimate group of peer practitioners in the global development and corporate partnerships space.
- Bringing members’ program and field staff together for shared value partnership training, including the development of a bespoke curriculum for 100+ INGO field staff.
- Creating learning labs focused on targeted social issues that aim to amplify existing partnerships, or build new ones, that align with companies investing in shared value strategies and initiatives.
- Building the brand of INGO members committed to shared value partnerships with media and other platform partners at this early stage in shared value field development.
As we advance into 2015, we will continue to post updates on #FutureINGO on sharedvalue.org, the Shared Value Channel on Business Fights Poverty, the Shared Value Leadership Summit in New York, May 12-13 (10 CEOs and chairwomen confirmed) and through our growing number of INGO members. If your organization is interested in joining the Working Group, please contact Chad Bolick at firstname.lastname@example.org.