Harvard Business Review Press
December 15, 1999
With funding for nonprofits shrinking and global markets shaky, the business and social sectors in the United States face an increasingly uncertain future. Traditionally, business- and socially oriented organizations have sought in-sector collaboration for reasons at opposite ends of the spectrum. While business alliances have usually pursued and attempted to capitalize on market opportunities in order to gain profits for owners and investors, social sector alliances have tended to correct problems or respond to the impact of reduced funding, spiraling needs, or hostile forces. Shirley Segawa and Eli Segal present a world in which business and social sector organizations, despite their differences, are aligning their common interests to benefit the common good – and measuring success in light of this new paradigm.
Drawing imaginatively on their respective experiences in the nonprofit and for-profit worlds – including a recent partnership at the helm of AmeriCorps, President Clinton’s flagship of the Corporation for National Service – the authors of Common Interest, Common Good make the case for cross-sector partnerships between business and social concerns. Sagawa and Segal argue that visionary corporations and community organizations (both nonprofit and government) led by “social entrepreneurs” can solve many of their problems by working together – while serving the common good in the process.
Common Interest, Common Good presents the results of hundreds of interviews and in-depth research to explore innovative alliances between surprising partners, like Microsoft Corporation and the American Library Association, and Denny’s and Save the Children. Through the telling of these and five other provocative stories – bolstered by pragmatic guidance on creating long-term, high-yielding “New Value Partnerships” – experience practitioners Sagawa and Segal invite readers to imagine the possibilities and then take up the tools necessary to achieve barrier-breaking mutual gain and common good across business and social sectors.
Shirley Sagawa is the former Executive Director of the Corporation for National Service, former Chief Counsel For Youth Policy to the Senate Labour Committee, and former Policy Advisor to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Eli Segal is a successful entrepreneur, former CEO of the Corporation for National Service, and currently President and CEO of the Welfare to Work Partnership.