DFE launches a Guide on Strategic Partnerships

Danish Forestry Extension has – as earlier described in the News here on the DFE homepage – published a booklet (or manual) about partnerships between Danish NGOs and private sector companies. The title of the guide is: Value creation, knowledge sharing and the feeling of togetherness” – a Guide to Strategic Partnerships between NGOs and the Private Sector”.

The guide is mainly aimed at NGOs who in the future plan strategic cooperation with companies. - And there is good reason for this, because both with regard to funding from Danida and other international development donors, there is a political commitment to encourage civil society organizations to a greater extent to enter into partnerships with companies, among other things in order to reach the UN's 17 Development Goals for sustainable development. In short, Danish civil society organizations are under increasing economic pressure to team up with private business entities.

The guide can be recommended, among other things because of its pragmatic approach to business collaboration, both seen from the NGO's and the company's side. The guide wants both parties to be realistic in their cooperation, and clear on each other's goals and success criteria.

Team building

One of the ten learning points in the guide (page 56) reads: Relationship building and maintenance is an important aspect. It is about creating a "feeling of togetherness" about the project, so both the company and the NGO take ownership of the project. The build-up of trust and common values take time. Therefore, it is also wise and realistic that the guide states that it might take a year or two before the collaboration between the company and the NGO is sufficiently rooted. – So the recommendation is: Use ample time for relationship building.

Professional advice on communication

I would especially recommend Section 9 on Communication. Here focus is on communication about the project (internal and external communication and how it should be coordinated between the NGO and the company) and the company's focus on CSR (corporate social responsibility).

In the final part of the guide (from page 57 and forward) a useful description of video production can be found. The guidance includes practical and concrete suggestions for apps, tools, and equipment for video production (including editing programs, microphone, camera (smartphone), etc.)

Download the Guide

The 62-page guide or "manual" can be used as a reference or it can be read from one end to the other.

 You are welcome to download the guide here. (The language of the Guide is Danish)


Additional material about the collaboration between businesses and NGOs

As mentioned earlier – the topic of NGO and private sector collaboration is relatively heated in Denmark. Some examples of the dialogue can be found at the Civil Society Portal by Altinget (www.altinget.dk)

CISU – a Danish DFE partner and donor for development

Information and discussions about private sector and NGO collaboration can also be found at the Danish umbrella organisation for civil society in development, CISU. CISU.dk offers information on various development issues and is regularly developing new input on the relationship between NGOs and the private sector. See for instance one example, “A Piece of Good Advice for Business Collaboration”, here

(Illustrations used below: © Jessica Rae Thomsen and Stine Casparij Kondrup, www.intugreen.dk)