Evolving Partnerships: A Guide to Working with Business for Greater Social Change

Partnerships can work, but can they work better?

This accessible guidebook distils the author’s key learnings on the advanced strategic planning of cross-sectoral partnerships.

By bringing together their respective competencies and resources for the greater good, governments, business, civil society and multilateral agencies have been seeking innovative ways to work together to respond to the myriad global challenges of our time. The appetite for such partnerships appears strong. Over 90% of corporate executives responding to a World Economic Forum survey felt that future partnerships between business, government and civil society would play either a major role or some role in addressing key development challenges.

Evolving Partnerships by Jem Bendell is a must-read for all those who are interested in fostering collaborative solutions between the public and the private sector, between governments, business and civil society. As sustainability challenges become ever more pressing, there is a growing premium for effective and scalable partnerships. This guide gives valuable insights on lessons learned and outlines viable approaches to achieve greater effectiveness and impact. It is especially timely ahead of Rio +20 as governments are eager to experiment with fresh approaches to bring about much-needed change.
Georg Kell, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact.

When considering how to equip their organisation or programme with the necessary skills to engage with companies in new ways, many leaders of NGOs or UN agencies hire staff from the private sector. Although such staff exchanges are important, it is not sufficient to rely on private-sector staff to develop and implement strategic forms of engagement. Rather, engaging business for social change is a specialism in itself.

This book seeks to distil some of the author’s 15 years of experience and key learnings on the advanced strategic planning of partnerships for people who work within civil society or public-sector organisations and who already partner with companies.

A useful guide for public-interest organizations, this book provides the reader with resources to identify, build, and improve cross-sectoral partnerships to better contribute to the sustainable development of communities around the world. The guide supplements concepts with useful exercises and real-world examples that allow the reader to better understand the particular opportunities and challenges of these types of collaborations.
Jennifer Roynon, Book Review Digest, CSR International.

Evolving Partnerships provides a rich and accessible mix of commentary, boxes for clarification, and 11 exercises to help the reader evolve partnering to achieve a wider level of impact – a level that responds to the scale, depth and urgency of the challenges we face today.

Asking for partnerships is one thing, getting them launched another, and making them work a different science entirely. Jem Bendell offers deep insights into how NGOs and intergovernmental organisations like the UN are adapting — and often being forced to adapt — to the new order they have helped catalyse.
John Elkington, Executive Chairman of Volans, co-founder of SustainAbility and co-author of The Power of Unreasonable People.

Listen to the Sea Change radio show for more of Jem Bendell’s thoughts on cross-sectoral partnerships.

Jem Bendell has partnered with Alex Wise of Sea Change radio to discuss the possible implications of unlikely alliances between nonprofit organisations and multinational corporations. Click here to listen to their debate.

Chloe Parker
Greenleaf Publishing


AVAILABLE NOW: Evolving Parnerships: A Guide to Working with Business for Greater Social Change is essential reading for all those involved in cross-sectoral partnerships and is also available in eBook format. Download the free introduction here.


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