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.


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SMK TeamThe Social Change Project: final report