I recently attended a meeting of “Climate Bay Area”, a coming together of dozens of government agencies, non-profits and specialists, called together by local climate change experts to address the regional approach to addressing climate change and its long-term effects. The meeting was highly inspirational given the great ideas and programs highlighted and the very positive energy being brought forth by so many civic leaders.
On the other hand, the meeting brought to life the extreme challenge we face with this issue. The wide range of organizations represented are all working on various programs to address environmental issues, though there is no clear connection between most of them, resulting in inefficiencies, overlap and more of a shotgun approach to solving this challenge. During a breakout session, each of the ten or so tables of participants was asked to identify the biggest needs and possible solutions to the issue at hand. At our table, it quickly became clear that coordination and collaboration are sorely lacking and greatly desired. So many municipalities and government agencies are having to do more with less, and need to find ways to combine efforts to learn from one another and to maximize impact.
Thus, what is really needed, now more than ever, is partnership. There is power in partnership – two organizations working together can accomplish much more than they can individually, and multiple organizations collaborating can do exponentially more. Structure and facilitation is needed and organizing takes time – but without some form of formal collaboration, the inefficiencies and lack of focus will at best waste a lot of time and money and, at worst, be the undoing of the movement.
And, of course, the same type of coordination is needed to address other major issues facing humanity – hunger, poverty, health care, water – all call for collaboration and formal partnership, and government cannot always step in and play that connecting role. While a mass amount of conscious and consistent individual acts will be required to move the needle on climate change and other major global challenges, partnership among organizations actually charged with creating necessary change needs to accelerate.
So where does sponsorship come into play? When developed and implemented effectively, major sponsorships are a form of partnership as each participant gives and gets according to the needs and capabilities of their organization. Sponsorships can help drive the partnership-oriented organizations that are needed to address the monumental challenges we face, and I believe that we will increasingly see practices like sponsorship and strategic alliance facilitation as being prominent drivers to move the needle in the right direction. For people working in the sponsorship profession and related lines of work, this provides a great opportunity to apply what you do to help address major issues on both a global and community level, in whatever form possible. In coming blogs, I’ll explain how we are trying to do so here, from our humble headquarters in Novato, California. Wishing you peace for the holidays – Kevin