The new collaboration between profit and non profit The new collaboration between profit and non profit

The new collaboration
between profit and non profit

- + Text size
Print


Wednesday 18 November, the Sodalitas Social Innovation event, will discuss  innovative and productive partnership between companies and non-profit organizations.
But how does this collaboration between such different worlds work? What are the actual advantages of this partnership both for the Voluntary Sector and for the businesses?
We talked about it in this interview with
Carlo Antonio Pescetti, Managing Director of Fondazione Sodalitas, who deals with these issues on a daily basis.  

Sodalitas Social Innovation has been our response to the demands that we have collected both from businesses and from Non-profit Organizations with which, for over 20 years, we have been communicating and collaborating: the former had expressed their will to cooperate with the Voluntary Sector not as mere donors, but as partners that can contribute to the development of innovative social projects; the latter were looking for tools and ways to improve their design skills and become, in the eyes of companies, mature interlocutors with which to build impacting partnerships.


Last October we presented, as part of the CSR and Social Innovation Fair, the results of the research “From Stakeholder Engagement to Multi-stakeholder Strategy”, which we conducted in collaboration with Gfk Eurisko on a sample of 141 Organizations.  The survey showed that the identification of possible solutions to economic, social or environmental problems is not possible without a collaborative approach, which brings different subjects to work together for a common goal.
Businesses, in particular, have felt the positive impact in terms of stakeholders confidence, corporate reputation and social reporting; non-profit organisations have noted improvements especially in terms of visibility and quality of social relations. In other words, the profit-non-profit partnerships allow those who build them and participate in them to promptly and effectively respond to the needs of the community and of the people, to gain visibility with stakeholders and be perceived by them as more credible and to feed their own relationship network. On the other hand, the results of this survey have encouraged us with respect to the perceptions that we have gathered over years of relationship with both stakeholders: when they manage to set up collaborations which feature shared objectives and, especially, shared ways of working together to achieve them, they benefit not only in terms of quality of the relationship between them, but also in terms of a greater operational effectiveness of the individual organizations.

The Italian Non-profit sector is one of the few sectors that have grown during the economic crisis, thus coming to play a leading role in the redesign of the Welfare system and leveraging social innovation to meet the needs of the people and reduce the areas of hardship. In this scenario the partnerships with the business world - based on the equal sharing of expertise, goods and services - have emerged as a privileged way to process timely and effective responses.

In the last five years the Voluntary Sector, in other words, has experienced an important evolution in terms of design, digitalization, communication - with a more structured approach in the use of social networks - and in impact measurement. This latter is becoming increasingly popular in our Country too, although  the distance that separates us from the more advanced countries, such as the UK, is still significant.

At the same time, we must not ignore the fact that today the Voluntary Sector as a whole needs to make a significant leap forward in terms of design effectiveness: the increasing contraction of public resources, greater attention, by private donors, to the quality of non-profit organizations require this sector to open-up to changes which are certainly challenging but which provide interesting opportunities, such as the social enterprise model'.

Our observatory tells us that the contents of the Companies-Non-profit Organizations partnerships are quite diversified.

At the same time in recent years, in light of the economic crisis from which the Country only now seems to be recovering, partnerships engaged in fighting new types of poverty and in supporting the inclusion of the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and young people seeking employment, have gained greater importance, not only in terms of numbers, but also of social effectiveness.

We certainly hope so. The law is going precisely in the direction of facilitating  profit-non-profit collaboration in contexts - territorial and social - in which each partner can network its resources and expertise for projects of great importance.

Fondazione Sodalitas, besides following all legal procedures, has involved a group of companies and NGOs in the development of useful criteria to qualify businesses in the renewed system of international cooperation, and is ready to contribute to the drafting of guidelines for the development of effective partnerships between businesses and NGOs.