Multiplying Impact with Consensus-Building
When it comes to big, complicated issues, it makes sense for key stakeholders (including various nonprofits) to work together. Doing so allows them to find synergies and pool resources. It also gives them the opportunity to build consensus around a particular approach or solution.
Another benefit of consensus-building is that it provides a way for multiple disciplines to come together and tackle much larger problems. Depending on the issue, this may include social impact organizations, academics, government entities, policymakers, scientists, activists, industry leaders, enthusiasts, and the like. Consensus-building efforts bring these disparate groups out of isolated silos and into conversation with one another.
In some cases, stakeholders may appear diametrically opposed to each other (for example, environmentalists and loggers or ranchers and wolf preservationists). When you adopt a consensus-building approach, you acknowledge these differences. At the same time, you commit to working diplomatically to find commonalities. This means starting with the idea that each stakeholder has something valuable to bring to the table. It also means checking your biases, assumptions, and traditions at the door.
Indeed, the biggest changes often happen when groups from opposite sides of an issue find common ground and work together in the interest of getting something (rather than nothing) done. Even better: A consensus-based approach that involves all the affected stakeholders often leads to a larger vision that supports a wider net of outcomes. In fact, building consensus at a systems level can quickly take you beyond your initial intent, generating unexpected social or environmental improvements as well as business opportunities.
In short, consensus-building multiplies impact and leads to bigger, better, more creative solutions.