Corporate, NGO leaders believe in the promise of partnerships

Corporate and NGO leaders may not always share the same perspectives or points of view, but there seems to be a consensus around the importance of partnerships in achieving development goals.

“You can’t really do it alone anymore,” said Scott Jackson, CEO of Global Compact. “The days of nonprofits doing small projects are gone because there is an opportunity to be scalable and to have impact on a much larger basis, but only if they partner.”

Devex Impact interviewed Jackson and other key stakeholders and executives from NGOs and corporations about the challenges and benefits of partnerships during the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting.

Brian Harris, Western Union’s chief product officer, offered the advice that it’s crucial for partners to spend time getting to know one another in person so they can better understand how the others work on a day-to-day basis.

Deidre White, president and CEO of Pyxera Global, said partnerships are truly complex.

“NGOs, government and the private sector don’t always work all that well together and we still have a long learning curve in terms of understanding how we can better align our goals and really work in lock-step towards something that delivers value to society and value to business,” she said.

One of the main hurdles to achieving this relationship is that NGO partners often view his company merely as a donor, shared Allan Pamba, director of public engagement and access initiatives for GlaxoSmithKline.

“We are working with our partners to make that revolution,” Pamba said. “We don’t just give you the money and walk away but we want to think through the solutions with you…to become true thought partners in finding solutions and not [have] a donor and an implementer type of relationship.”

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About the author

  • Adva Saldinger

    Adva Saldinger is an Associate Editor at Devex, where she covers the intersection of business and international development, as well as U.S. foreign aid policy. From partnerships to trade and social entrepreneurship to impact investing, Adva explores the role the private sector and private capital play in development. A journalist with more than 10 years of experience, she has worked at several newspapers in the U.S. and lived in both Ghana and South Africa.