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Developing NGO Partnerships in China


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In this pitch, delivered at the 2010 American Chamber of Commerce CSR conference, I spoke about the need the internal/ external dynamics of developing partnerships with local NGOs, and the trend away from globally centralized programs to locally engaging programs.

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Developing NGO Partnerships in China

  1. 1. How to Develop an NGO Partnership in China
  2. 2. Developed the project based class Sustainability and Responsible Leadership •To institutionally support society by leveraging its students, faculty, alumni •Improve student awareness of the social and environmental challenges in China •Teams will conduct research, develop external partner, & present business plan Develop long term capacity within the various actors (NGO, MNC, academic, gov’t, and citizen) to create stable/ sustainable solutions •Provide a platform where civil sector professionals can share best practices •Conduct research, study problems, assess program, & create partnerships •Work with social entrepreneurs and NGO leaders to develop capacity •On campus research, develop student leaders, clubs, mentorships, internships Established in 2004, Hands On China’s mission is connecting people – both locals and foreigners in Shanghai who want to become involved as volunteers in community activities with local charities who need assistance. • Coordinates volunteer opportunities for active professionals, according to their availability and personal interests • Support project partners with direct donations, fundraising planning and execution, community project design/implementation • Design and manage a variety of community relations programs for private sector partners in Shanghai – CorpWorks! About Me www.collectiveresponsibility.or
  3. 3. Organizational Trends Globalized Programming: Era of centralized / disengaged programming: •Partnerships chosen at global level •Partnerships reflected global issues of interest •Little local ownership Programs that were chosen were at a global level and, regardless of program effectiveness, isolated local offices from programs. Localized Programming Era of decentralized/ engaged programming: •Entrance of locally chosen program partners •Alignment of issues at the regional level that tie to global level •High local ownership / engagement Global firms (and their foundations) began developing capacity internally to locally source project partners as a means to create more stable programs that have greater buy in locally Global HQ Interna tional NGO China HQ BU China Found ation BU BUBU Program Partner Program Partner Program Partner Global Corning BU BU BUBU Local Organiz ation Local Partner Local Partner Local Partner China HQ www.collectiveresponsibility.or
  4. 4. Local Trends Pre 5.12 Giving: Era of Philanthropy on Demand: •Quid Pro Quo Giving •Holiday giving Clear rules about giving: How much to give, who to give it to, when, who would be in attendance, and which camera to smile at Post 5.12 Giving Era of Engaged Philanthropy: •Citizen involvement embraced •Accountability and transparency required Rules about giving had changed as the expectations surrounding philanthropy had changed www.collectiveresponsibility.or
  5. 5. Changing Partnerships www.collectiveresponsibility.or
  6. 6. Corporate Barriers to Impact 1) Developing strategy  Firms are still having a hard time developing a clear strategy  Product of China’s changing economic importance/ strategy 1) Dynamics of environment  Increased scrutiny/ pressure from externals  Changing role of the media 1) Abundance of Choice  The range of NGOs that can be partnered with has growth, but many NGOs are largely unknown or untested  Lingering traditions that complicate processes and reduce visibility 1) Localization of programming  Firms are having to build capacity internally in China to develop and manage partnerships  CSR managers come from PR/ HR backgrounds 5) Developing partnerships • Developing something “real” vs. ending up another logo on wall www.collectiveresponsibility.or
  7. 7. Partner Barriers to Impact Internal Barriers •Organizational focus •Program instability •Knowledge base •Overcoming idealism •Program management capacity •Fundraising / operating costs • Marketing & communications •Transparency External Barriers •Programs Acquisition •Partner Acquisition •Government relations/ licensing •Branding / program size •Stable funding •Organizational support Fundraise Fundraise Spend Spend Spend www.collectiveresponsibility.or
  8. 8. Having an Impact 1) Move past awareness to knowledge  Understand the issues that are important to key stakeholders (government, employee, and citizen)  Understand the role that your firm plays as a stakeholder within the community within that issue. 1) Develop a focus around a clear strategy  Align focus and strategy around a single topic, or a few topics (at most), and develop a strategy that will lead to the highest measure of impact.  Align segmented (international, national and grassroots) programs and partnerships 1) Identify, and work with, partners who align with strategy and have greatest opportunity for impact  Longer term programming is preferred  Equitable financial arrangements that keep partner engaged 1) Look beyond the donation. Look for depth of partnerships  NGOs need more than money.  Corporations have more to give than money 5) Stop Trying to Compete. Engage  Look to develop programs (innovative or not) that work  Good programs will brand themselves www.collectiveresponsibility.or
  9. 9. Good Programs Brand Themselves • Programs don’t have to be sexy • Programs don’t have to be innovative • Programs don’t have to win awards • Need to align core values • Need to be long term • Need to be communicated effectively www.collectiveresponsibility.or
  10. 10. “In the end, environmental, social and economic sustainability cannot be separated. A sustainable planet must include a sustainable human civilization – resilient human systems that respect the complicated relationships among poverty, human rights, economic development, environmental health, and human success” - Institute for the Future, 2008 Richard Brubaker Founder and Managing Director, Collective Responsibility Founder and Executive Volunteer, HandsOn China Adjunct Professor, Sustainability and Responsible Leadership, CEIBS www.collectiveresponsibility.or