Today marks the 6th annual Blog Action Day, an occasion where bloggers from around the world join in a global discussion around an important issue. This year’s theme is the “Power of We” – a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world.
At APCO, we see examples of collaboration making a difference all the time across all sectors – government, business and NGO. Collaboration has often become a necessity for organizations looking to solve a social problem, particularly where businesses are concerned. This makes the “power of we” more important than ever.
To celebrate this year’s theme, we asked our team to submit some of their favorite examples of the “power of we” – diverse, out-of-the-ordinary, poignant and important ways that unlikely partners are solving problems through collaboration.
You can share your own examples on Twitter, using the hashtag #powerofwe, and follow along with all the 2012 Blog Action Day activity using #BAD12.
Our 8 Must-See Examples of the “Power of We” –
- ONE’s Recipe 4 Change: ONE may be known best for its work alleviating extreme poverty and disease around the world, but this fall, ONE is digging into the power of the sweet potato. The group has an immense global following, and it is asking its followers to sign a petition to encourage world leaders to put “nutrition on the global agenda.” By taking advantage of a fall favorite in the kitchen, ONE is drawing on the “power of we” to drive its agriculture and hunger agenda.
- Landesa*: Landesa is an international NGO that works to secure land rights for the world’s poor. Landesa’s unique model focuses on working with governments to bring about land reform and lasting change. Landesa’s land-rights experts work with government policy-makers to create programs based on proven successes in other countries while incorporating the unique nature of local politics and culture. When a family gains secure tenure, the effects are astounding, including improved nutrition, children’s education, self-confidence and conflict resolution. When these effects are multiplied by hundreds of thousands of families – thanks to collaboration with government – the result can change an entire nation.
- Diplomas Now: The dropout crisis in the United States is a problem too big for any single organization or sector to solve on their own. Diplomas Now is an amazing example of the “Power of We” – bringing multiple organizations together to combine their unique strengths and create a comprehensive approach to solving the dropout crisis in some of the United States’ worst dropout factories. Talent Development provides teachers with the training and support they need in the classroom. City Year provides an army of volunteer support to give students individual attention. The group Cities in Schools provides social and emotional support for students struggling with serious issues. Combine this with the resources of corporate partners, and Diplomas Now has been able to achieve miraculous results. In its first year of implementation in Philadelphia, it achieved a 55-percent reduction in the number of students with attendance below 80 percent, as well as strong improvements students’ grades.
- Panera Cares: We’ve put a spotlight on Panera Cares Community Cafes on this blog before. But the success of the Cafes’ pay-it-forward business model is, now more than ever, a vote for the “Power of We.” There are now four Cafes around the United States. In 2011, the cafes served 500,000 people. On average, the cafes bring in about 70-75 percent of what would be the retail value of the food. By drawing on the power of its customers, Panera has made a real impact in its communities. It’s estimated that about 60 percent of people leave the suggested donation, while 15-20 percent leave even more.
- Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Pass it On: Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee recently launched a “great coffee, good vibes, pass it on” campaign working with the nonprofit Fair Trade USA to educate consumers about the concept of fair trade. Green Mountain knows that consumers are inundated with eco-labels and certifications, so much so that fatigue and confusion reign. Thanks to its collaboration with Fair Trade USA and the voices of celebrities like Michael Franti and Grace Potter, the campaign is capitalizing the designation of October as Fair Trade Month.
- The Bush Institute’s African First Ladies Summit: The Bush Institute’s Summit in Tanzania in 2013 will bring together Africa’s first ladies and leaders in education, health and economic opportunity to discuss efforts to improve the lives of women and girls. At a recent gathering of 10 current and former African first ladies, former U.S. first lady Laura Bush highlighted the power of collaboration: “Each of you here is using your interests and passions to shape your work as First Lady. Whether it’s education and healthcare or poverty and social justice, you have taken your unique opportunity lead. Thanks to your efforts, more children in your countries are in school, families are learning to lead healthier lives, and communities are benefiting with more citizens in the workforce.”
- Reimagining Service: Reimagining Service is a coalition of businesses, NGOs and government agencies focused on effective use of volunteerism – especially skills-based volunteerism – and clarifying volunteerism’s ROI. Employee volunteerism encourages engagement, promotes loyalty and increases employee satisfaction. This is especially true of the Millennial generation. Reimagining Service is providing valuable research data and best practices so companies can make smart decisions about how to invest human resources in issues that intersect social and business objectives in order to net a return.
- The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)*: In its eighth year, President Bill Clinton’s annual meeting of global leaders and shapers may be the largest example of the “Power of We.” As President Clinton said this year, “I am convinced that cooperation, not conflict, will define this century.” CGI members are a testament to this. They have made nearly 2,300 commitments so far, reaching more than 400 million people in more than 180 countries. Attendees at this year’s annual meeting addressed myriad important issues, ranging from reliable and safe energy to advancing women-owned businesses in the developing world to LGBT human rights in Uganda.
APCO’s Tara Greco, Leela Stake, Andrea Shatzman, Robin Deliso, Alisha Damodaran, Lindsay McBride and Daniel Gabis contributed to this post.
You can learn more about Blog Action Day on their website, blogactionday.org.