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For the past year, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the value of partnerships and collaborations between organisations. My role at the RSA is to lead on strengthening and diversifying our Fellowship networks with new pools of expertise and experience.  And one of the best ways to do this is by broadening the range of partners that we work with on a variety of projects and ideas.

Partnerships are really about sharing resources…

In a tough economic climate, finding effective low cost ways to collaborate between charities is becoming increasingly important, and partnerships based on the exchange of human and intellectual resource even more so.

RSA Catalyst funding is available for Fellow-led start up projects, along with an expanse of expertise in the Fellowship and the ability to connect Fellows around the world

At the RSA, we are fortunate enough to have built extensive networks of skills and experience through our Fellowship, which itself extends to 101 countries across the world. In our ongoing search to strengthen these networks and the impact of the work our Fellows are doing, partnering with other organisations offers an effective way of bringing in new skills and best practice to the RSA.

I’ll give you a few examples:

Ashoka - an organisation that’s a world leader in supporting social entrepreneurs.  Ashoka is one of our newest partners and we’re very excited about the potential positive impact working together can have. With the RSA’s Social Entrepreneurs Network, RSA Catalyst, RSA SkillsBank and our Fellow-led networks across the world, both the RSA and Ashoka will benefit from sharing our networks of people with extensive skills and dedication to tackling social issues; supporting both of our core missions.


UpRisingUpRisinga leadership programme whose mission is to open pathways to leadership for talented young adults aged 19-25 from diverse backgrounds. Through this partnership, not only is the RSA able to offer the expertise of our Fellows and staff by running Catalyst workshops and mentoring for the UpRiser’s, but we are also able to increase our engagement with young people in London, Bedford, Birmingham and Manchester, as well as the local Fellow-led networks in these areas. 

Winston Churchill Memorial TrustAn organisation that awards

British citizens from all walks of life to travel overseas, to bring back knowledge and best practice for the benefit of others in their UK professions and communities. Our partnership with WCMT brings together two communities of people across the UK: RSA Fellows and Churchill Fellows. A pilot in Wales this year has matched these two networks and various RSA Fellows are providing advice and support to some of the Churchill Fellows' projects.

Our existing structure is also well placed to support returning Churchill Fellows to develop their projects and support the impact they make.

With Catalyst funding available for Fellow-led start up projects, the expanse of expertise amongst the Fellowship and the ability to connect them with Fellows around the world, you can see the benefit in sharing human and our organisational resources.

We have many other fantastic partners (you can find out more information here), and each demonstrates how we in the RSA Fellowship department approach our collaborations; with the mindset that we can fulfil our own historic mission and objectives by supporting and sharing with other organisations.

And that is one of the RSA’s greatest attributes…

You see, as a convenor of networks, we can connect top social entrepreneurs with young leaders from UpRising, and projects looking to start-up overseas with RSA connectors and a network of like-minded individuals across the world (psst! We had a great partnered event with the Skoll Centre on starting up a social enterprise overseas, have a look!)

Time for networking at the RSA/Skoll Centre event

There will be more from me in the coming year, I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface and am very excited to share with you our work and the fantastic impact our partnerships have in supporting people to change the world – you see, sharing really is caring.

Jo works in the Partnerships Team and you can follow via @Jo_Painter


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