The Shaftesbury Partnership is committed to catalysing social reform and action in the 21st Century to rival the explosion of mass philanthropic engagement and activity last seen in the 18th and 19th Century in England, which was spearheaded by Lord Shaftesbury and his peers.
Thought leadership is an essential component of system change. Historically, social reformers have not only delivered programmes and services to the poor and excluded, but they have also engaged opinion formers and broader society in two ways:
- Through advocacy they have raised awareness of the plight of those where the rest of society is unaware, or chooses to be unaware.
- They have sought to understand the root causes that drive the social problems they are tackling, and to tackle these root causes head on. These root causes can range from legal frameworks, the implementation of government policy, cultural factors and prejudice, weak institutions, unfair economic practices – or a generalized inclination to accept the status quo.
Taken together with effective, scaleable delivery which demonstrates that solutions exist, thought leadership can generate a transformational impact.
The Shaftesbury Partnership maintains active relationships with government, policymakers, advocacy groups and academics, and pays particular attention to understanding soft aspects such as entrenched behaviours and beliefs.
In the last 20 years, we have seen unparalleled changes in finance, business, technology and social media. In some cases these have had minimal impact on policy, delivery and institutions that seek to tackle inequality and exclusion. We need more thought leadership to exploit these opportunities and bridge this gap.