Panoramic Perspectives: Creating Cross-Sector Communities of Practice

by Lauren Chasanoff
Jun 21, 2018 12:45 PM ET
Campaign: The Big Idea

We know communities of practice are an age-old concept, but we are excited to see a growing number of conveners who are bringing cross-sector leaders together to develop their people, improve their performance, and deepen their impact in the community. These groups are made up of practitioners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, who are actively developing shared resources, best practices, and tools to solve some of society’s toughest challenges.

In our latest blog post, “The Knitting Factor: Making Skills-Based Volunteering Stick,” we highlighted three key conditions that enable skills-based engagements between the private and nonprofit sector to create strengthened, sustainable solutions for our communities. The first of which is a Panoramic Perspective - an ability to look beyond traditional sector roles, titles, and stereotypes to create real societal value – not just profit. At Common Impact, we recognize the importance of bringing leaders together from different industries, regions, backgrounds, and experiences in order to create space for broader conversations to unfold. We play an active role by convening our own network of corporate and nonprofit partners to discuss topics such as trends in corporate pro bono and disaster relief.

If you are on the lookout for dynamic cross-sector communities of practice, you’ve come to the right place! Check out some of our favorites below:

Pledge 1% Initiative

Pioneered by and now a strategic initiative of Tides, Pledge 1% is a global movement that encourages and challenges both individuals and companies to Pledge 1% of equity, profit, product, and/or time for their communities. Those who take the Pledge have the ability to tailor pledge types to meet their needs and receive access to a membership community of like-minded leaders. Since its launch in December 2014, over 1,000 companies across the globe have taken the pledge and committed to making a deeper impact in their communities. One of the key pieces of the Pledge 1% initiative is giving through time, in addition to dollars. This is where skills-based volunteering plays a big role in not only yielding tremendous community impact, but simultaneously developing a company’s employees through real-time experiential learning opportunities.  

NYC Service: NYC Corporate Service Coalition

NYC Service is a division of the Office of the Mayor, launched in April 2009 in response to President Barack Obama's national call for volunteerism. New York City was the first “City of Service” and since NYC Service launched, over 200 U.S. cities have joined the network. As part of their robust initiatives, NYC Service has created the Corporate Service Coalition, a coalition of nonprofits and city agencies that regularly meet to share best practices, and develop strategies to expand and deepen corporate volunteer and pro bono service. Common Impact has had the privilege to partner with NYC Service and the Coalition on creating half-day skills-based trainings for their cohort of nonprofit partners. These trainings equip organizations with the knowledge and best practices to make these initiatives work within their own operating environment – no matter their size.

NationSwell Council

NationSwell Council is a membership of cross-sector community of service-minded leaders and innovators who are taking action and tackling the nation’s most critical issues. Their members, including Common Impact’s own CEO, Danielle Holly, share an authentic passion for service, take action around solutions, and support each other as part of a shared community. We love that the spirit of service is core to the Council’s mission and that each member’s unique experience is designed to advance their work, their life and their service; expose them to new ideas, perspectives and sources of inspiration; deepen their relationships and opportunities for collaboration, and generate measurable impact.

“The Council convenes socially conscious leaders from different walks of life who would have otherwise never crossed paths.  It’s a fantastic mix of finding your “clan” and exposing yourself to fresh ideas that drive your work forward,” says Danielle Holly.

Over the next week, we will be unpacking the stories from cross-sector leaders who inspire us to hear how they leverage their cross-sector experience and their participation in communities of practice to make a deep impact in both their organization and their community.