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Shared value is a game changer for not-for-profit organisations

October 7, 2012

If there is one sector that stands to gain the most from shared value thinking, it is the not-for-profit sector.

At our most recent Shared Value Project leadership group roundtable it was Peter Burns (CEO YMCA Victoria and immediate post-Chair at YMCA World Urban Network of CEOs) who pointed out that, with increasing interest among companies looking for social projects, the not-for-profit sector needs a framework for establishing mutually beneficial partnerships.

When a global business comes knocking, it can be intimidating  for a not-for-profit organisation. It raises many questions about brand and reputation, resourcing and future direction. Often it forces a reassessment of the organisation’s  very purpose and its medium term vision.

The Shared Value Project has spent considerable time refining a facilitation model that helps NFPs considering partnership with governments and corporations define value and plan for its creation over time.

What is so very rewarding about this process is that is often clarifies just how valuable NFPs are to their partners – particularly consumer advocates and health organisations. Beyond a respected brand, they offer the capacity to source unbiased research, reach an extensive network, shared knowledge, and coordinate programs.

The power balanced that initially seems so tipped in favour of the corporation or government, swings closer to balance when adopting a shared value approach.

In addition to facilitation, shared value and social thinking processes help NFPs:

  • Understand and map the full value of the organisation and its activities
  • Reconsider the notion of ‘profit’ as a negative outcome
  • Assess the effectiveness of partnerships and report on key metrics
  • Work with philanthropists to generate confidence in thie invetsment and therefore secure longer term funding agreements

We’ve recently developed a practical ‘social thinking’ model to assist NFPs in identifying and measuring social impact.

As the old management adage goes, ‘what can’t be measured, doesn’t exist’. Once you measure something, you define its value.

And not-for-profit organisations create serious value for society, and their partners, every single day.

Contact us if you’d like to get a briefing on shared value for your organisation.