The Social Change Project: final report

Social Power: How civil society can ‘Play Big’ and truly create change

For the last 18 months, The Social Change Project has sought to answer one critical question: what can we learn about how social change is happening today that can strengthen civil society’s future efforts?

What we have learnt is being launched today in a new report which urges civil society to unleash its “Social Power” by being much bolder and braver.

Key Findings

  • Civil society is at the centre of much significant change; it reaches people and goes to places the state finds difficult, and builds the public support for significant change that allows governments to act.
  • At best, civil society drives truly transformational change – unlocking resources, realising assets, getting upstream of problems, transforming lives and sharing power.
  • This report believes civil society holds the keys to tackling some of society’s most pressing challenges – from knife crime to climate change – a potential to contribute to change we have called ‘Social Power’
  • However, this power is being constrained, both within the sector and externally, from a culture driven by the survival of organisations and services rather than driven by mission and pursuit of change, to the chilling effect of the lobbying act and the imposition of a market-based model.
  • The report identifies the ‘Twelve Habits of Successful Change-makers’ that civil society organisations should adopt to realise their social power
  • It also includes recommendations for senior leaders, funders and government that can create a more conducive environment for civil society to realise its full Social Power.

12 Habits of Successful Change-Makers: a summary

During our 18-month investigation into how social change is happening, we revealed 12 behaviours or ‘habits’ that successful change-makers often display.

They were exhibited by charity campaigners, local activists, service providers, parents fighting for their children’s rights. We found them in organisations of all sizes and types. People from all walks of life, with all kinds of goals, who are all working to make something better. Do you or your organisation demonstrate any of these habits? Where would you like to improve?

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SMK TeamThe Social Change Project: final report