Thought Leadership

Aligned Values and Shared-Value Partnerships: A Deeper Level of Collaboration for Social Impact

Shelley Mayer

Categories: Thought Leadership

March 4, 2022

Creating social impact is a shared responsibility between businesses, charities, and non-profits. While many traditional corporate partnerships between companies and non-profits are transactional in nature, shared-value partnerships take it to the next level by establishing a deeper level of collaboration and alignment to achieve mutual benefits and create lasting social impact.

Shared-value partnerships are built on the foundation of shared goals and values between the company and the charity or non-profit. Both parties are committed to achieving social impact and the partnership is ultimately more lasting and resilient because the company is enjoying business benefits from the partnership as well.

Some of the key characteristics of shared-value partnerships include:

Shared vision for impact

Shared-value partnerships start from a mutual desire for social impact that is aligned. Both parties should have the same vision and commitment about what they are trying to achieve and the desired impact. Companies often publish their social impact priorities, making it easier for non-profits to identify the right partners. When you are getting started, be very clear about the intended impact and how you will measure success.

Aligned values

Aligned values are also crucial in shared value partnerships. Shared-value partnerships are trust and relationship based and when values are not aligned, the involved parties may experience conflicts, breaches of trust or different approaches to decision-making that can impede progress. Organizations should get to know the key decision-makers, and identify drivers and motivations of the prospective partner before jumping into the relationship.


Long-term relationships are essential in shared-value partnerships, and there’s an investment in these types of relationships. Building a shared vision for impact and establishing trust takes time, but it creates more resilience and predictability for the cause. Organizations can tackle more systemic problems and scale their collective impact in more significant ways by designing and building long-term programs and initiatives together.

Designed collaboratively

Collaboration and co-creation are also essential in shared value partnerships. Both organizations should deeply understand each other’s value drivers, interests, strengths, and capabilities. Establish your relationship with prospective partners before developing the initiative or program. Then work together to design solutions that bring about meaningful social change and serve the interests of all parties involved.

Mutual exchange of value

Mutual exchange of value is one of the cornerstones of shared-value partnerships. Through the collaboration process, both organizations should understand what each others’ value drivers are. Design programs with the value-proposition in mind, and establish specific KPIs to monitor and measure the value delivered on both sides. Corporate partners should be reminded of the value they are receiving, and they will want to see progress towards the shared vision for impact.

Strategic alignment

Shared-value partnerships should ideally be strategically aligned with the company’s core business objectives. This ensures the partnership becomes a critical part of the company’s overall strategy and something they want to invest in for a long time. Organizations can help a company access a new market or audience, introduce a new product or service aligned to the cause, or help them solve a business challenge in a different way.

In conclusion, shared-value partnerships are a better way to approach corporate partnerships as they lead to deeper collaboration and alignment, allowing benefits to flow in both directions. Organizations should build long-term relationships, collaborate and co-create solutions, establish mutual exchange of value, and align strategically with the company’s core business objectives. Shared value partnerships are crucial in achieving sustainable impact and creating a better world.

To learn more, attend our upcoming webinar on May 17, 2023.


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