Civil Voices
NEWS  | 

Cross-Sectoral Collaboration: It’s Complicated

Wednesday, 30th October 2013 at 8:30 am
Lina Caneva, Editor
Multi-sector partnerships are messy but worthwhile, a gathering of Not for Profit and corporate leaders in Melbourne has been told.

Wednesday, 30th October 2013
at 8:30 am
Lina Caneva, Editor



Cross-Sectoral Collaboration: It’s Complicated
Wednesday, 30th October 2013 at 8:30 am

Multi-sector partnerships are messy but worthwhile, a gathering of Not for Profit and corporate leaders in Melbourne has been told.

Social Contribution through Multi-Sector Partnerships, a panel discussion hosted by the Toyota Community Foundation, showcased active partnership projects tackling social problems. 

Speaking about his organisation’s project READLEARNSUCCEED, United Way CEO Doug Taylor was emphatic that partnerships were tough but fruitful. 

“Collaborative work is inherently messy, it’s not a linear process,” he said. 

“If you want to get something done, don’t collaborate! We’re flying the plane and building it at the same time, which doesn’t follow good practice in many ways.

“But, it’s fundamentally more sustainable and impactful.”

Additional READLEARNSUCCEED partners include book publisher Penguin, fundraising Not for Profit Rotary and philanthropic organisation Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Taylor said a multi-sectoral approach was needed to help avoid what he described as “a whole lot of disconnected, duplicating activity that doesn’t necessarily solve the complex social problems we face today”.

“In terms of actually trying to find new kinds of different resources and find new innovation, to my mind collaboration is the only way we can change that frame and get better outcomes,” he said. 

The role of partnerships in advocacy for change was also important, he added.

“I think the focus for us is around building evidence – for individuals and at a community level.”

“I challenge the assumption that government is the primary way to create change in communities. Communities can create change themselves.”

Taylor said it was necessary for governments to partner with communities in a different way, not just as contractor of other organisations to provide services.

Government, he said, needed to be there “not as the contractor, but sitting at the table with other partners and thinking about change.”

The issue of competition between partners proved thought provoking for the other partnership represented at the forum – Feed Melbourne, a project shared between The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, food distribution organisation Fare Share and Leader Newspapers.

As part of its involvement in Feed Melbourne, The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation allocates one third of designated funds to Fare Share and two thirds to other community food organisations.

Asked of his predicted reaction if another social sector organisation wanted to participate in the partnership, Fare Share CEO Marcus Godinho spoke of Fare Share’s current relationship with comparable organisation Foodbank. 

“I’d be very reluctant– its part of our financial sustainability,” he said. “But the other side is that we work hand in glove with Foodbank – they are among our closest partners.”

“You only want to into another partner if you’re going to increase the impact,” Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation CEO Catherine Brown added. 

“You can be magnanimous but you need to look after your own hat, so not totally,” she said.

Representative of Rotary, Juliet Riseley, warned it was something partners would need to prepare for.

‘It happens all the time,” she said. “People do protect their patch.”

Competitiveness could be overcome, she suggested.

“It’s a matter of that generosity and that confidence with your organisation in who you are, and knowing what your patch is,” she said.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.


Prolegis Lawyers work exclusively for charities, other not-f...

Prolegis Lawyers

NGO Recruitment is Australia’s not-for-profit sector recru...

NGO Recruitment

We specialise in data solutions consulting and IT profession...

DQUBE Solutions

HLB Mann Judd is a specialist Accounting and Advisory firm t...

HLB Mann Judd

More Suppliers


$2M to Build Affordable Houses

Ellie Cooper

Tuesday, 31st May 2016 at 11:41 am

Call for Action on Disadvantaged Suburbs – Report

Lina Caneva

Tuesday, 21st July 2015 at 10:32 am

National Child Abuse Redress Scheme ‘Complicated’

Lina Caneva

Thursday, 16th July 2015 at 10:06 am

Not for Profits Grill Assistant Treasurer

Lina Caneva

Thursday, 9th April 2015 at 12:39 pm


Australians Losing Trust in Charities

Wendy Williams

Wednesday, 7th February 2018 at 5:28 pm

Calls to Overhaul NDIS to Better Accommodate Indigenous Australians

Luke Michael

Monday, 5th February 2018 at 12:11 pm

Senate Urged to Reject Welfare Reform Bill

Wendy Williams

Monday, 5th February 2018 at 5:48 pm

Prisoners with Disability Subject to Harrowing Abuse, Report Finds

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 7th February 2018 at 4:19 pm

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Civil Voices
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

The social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!