The 4 Mega-Shifts Impacting the Community Sector

By Jocelyne Daw



Our world is changing. Society is shifting. We are moving forward. Thanks to globalization, new media technologies, generational shifts and the urgent community issues we face, working in community has undergone more evolution in the past five years than in the past thirty .Our new society will be characterized by scarcity, complexity, speed AND growing creativity, innovation and participation. Against this backdrop, a number of fundamental and exciting questions are emerging:

  • How important is community?

  • How do we increase our impact?

  • How do we strengthen creativity?

  • How do we deepen influence and trust?







On June 5th I presented at the AFP Calgary luncheon about how the team at JS Daw & Associates approaches these questions (to download my presentation please see the bottom section of this article). Our team has identified four mega shifts in cultural values and beliefs systems – ones that we predict will affect organizations from all sectors. Whether you work for a nonprofit, a business, or government, our observations and strategic insights are meant to inspire new thinking, start internal conversations, and help organizations think, plan and above all flourish, whatever the future holds.#1 VALUE:What we value is shifting. Community is moving from the margins to the mainstream where it is becoming a mutual bond. As traditional power structures break down, as government dominance in community gives way to diverse new actors including social enterprises, not-for-profits, and B corporations and as engaged citizens value leaving the world better than they found it, those that embrace community as a shared responsibility and opportunity will thrive.So what?Purpose helps organizations stand out with clarity and focus. Breakthrough organizations are demonstrating what they stand for and where they are making a unique and positive difference in the community. When your organization is infused with purpose you foster positive conversations, deepen connections and drive positive social results.#2 IMPACT:Doing good is no longer good enough. Working in community – whatever your sector has never been more complex and cluttered. Expectations of what leading organizations can and should do are shifting.There are ever increasing demands for business to take on a greater role in helping to tackle complicated social and environmental challenges. In our resource-crunched world, nonprofits are expected to deliver greater value and more effectively address growing community needs. Limited government resources require a new approach.Doing things the way they have always been done does not position an organization for the future. Leading organizations ask the hard questions, do the research, and take calculated risks in embracing big, bold ideas and innovation and adopt more holistic approaches to deliver tangible results for the community, stakeholders and their own organizations.So what?Purpose however important, is not enough. An organization can’t create value for itself and deliver community impact with good intentions alone –performance and results are paramount. Leading organizations start with the end in mind and ask, “What are we working to achieve?”#3 INTEGRATE:The critical issues of our time are far too complex and significant for any single entity to address alone. There is an urgent need for action on a myriad of issues from education, health and wellness, economic development and more – that affect all of us. It is going to require the combined resources, ingenuity and sweat equity of business, government, nonprofits and citizens.So what?Cross-sector groups working together toward a common cause can have a far greater impact than organizations working on their own. Meaningful partnerships allow for co-creativity, shared value and deep community connections. To drive impact partnerships must be with the right organizations whose expertise and tools enhance credibility and capacity.#4 INFLUENCE:Public trust has been transformed, and the players in society who have the most influence are not the same as they used to be. New digital platforms allow people to share information instantaneously. Real-time exchanges between millions of people is quickly becoming a reality. Demands for transparency and the rise of new community networks are shifting where influence lies.So what?How you engage people and connect will be critical to building trust and influence. Authentic engagement and outreach helps fuel community passion and delivers greater results. Building trust hinges on participation. With real engagement comes real ownership. With real ownership comes momentum.THRIVING ORGANIZATIONSCommunity builders, from all sectors must adapt as we shift from sole responsibility for community to a shared responsibility; from what we do to the results we produce; from a culture of how we act to how we collaborate; from trusting traditional institutions to the growing influence of community networks.At JS Daw & Associates we believe that there is no single solution to delivering strong community impact. The future requires the coming together of social purpose, measurable performance, aligned partnerships and authentic community engagement. We have designed this impact framework to help our clients plan, prepare and above all, thrive today and in the future.PURPOSE:

  • Brand

  • Meaning

  • Values


  • Outcomes

  • Measures

  • Results


  • Shared value

  • Mutuality

  • Co-creativity


  • Engagement

  • Ownership

  • Trust

 To learn more about this approach, stay tuned for a deeper focus on each of the “4 P’s” with the launch of our updated website this summer!

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