For the purpose of developing their social performance and identifying opportunities in new markets, companies may complement their potential through collaborations with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (Doh, 2020).
When it comes to Lebanese SMEs and corporates, businesses have had their fair share of exceptional challenges in the past couple of years, with firms shutting down, high rate of job losses, and absence of funds (International Labor Organization [ILO], 2020). Startups had to adjust to a volatile business environment. While the root of the problem lies in the ongoing financial meltdown that the country is going through, the lack of collaborative efforts with worldwide networks may catalyze the economic climate even more. Hence, businesses must realize that they can accomplish more in partnerships than they would on their own.
Corporate-NGO partnerships can benefit both participants, helping them succeed together (Doh, 2020). It is important for companies to create an alliance with NGOs which allows them to do more and better work in terms of mission and vision.
Firms engage in such a partnership with altruistic, defensive, and strategic reasons (Poret, 2017). NGOs are identified to have fundraising, stakeholder, and strategic functions in corporate-NGO partnerships.
As part of its initiative with different pillars of the Lebanese community, be it governmental or non-governmental, PFC saw that Lebanese crises created an abundance of opportunities and that, if dealt with properly, can lead to a significant change.
NGOs’ efforts, from a Lebanese perspective
The August 4th Port of Beirut explosion has had a detrimental effect on the capital’s infrastructure, the country’s healthcare system and its economy, but if it were not for NGOs’ joint efforts and initiatives, the blast-stricken Beirut would have become a deserted town. NGOs have functioned without government supervision and they were able to secure funding from various local and international sources and conduct activities in a wide array of fields (Cheeseman, 2020).
Many NGOs in Lebanon have been actively helping thousands of people impacted by the catastrophe, relentlessly on the ground, sheltering, cleaning up debris, repairing homes, providing necessities, food, and medical equipment, rebuilding, and lending moral and emotional support (Abdo, 2020).
Today, in providing relief aids, charities succeeded in consolidating citizens’ unity. The significance of the NGOs’ role lies in its capacity to communicate with the people in the absence of strategic government efforts (Fawaz & Harb, 2020). Following the explosion, international assistance and funds flocked towards both operational and campaigning NGOs that in turn have offered relief to numerous families afflicted by the catastrophe. Despite the international community’s support, aid organizations are overstretched (Red Cross EU Office, 2020).
That was not the end of Lebanon’s prolonged crises.
While the country still mourned its victims, COVID-19 has aggravated the situation, with a tenfold increase in the number of the deceased, calling for a large humanitarian need for aid (Red Cross EU Office, 2020). On top of that, the liquidity crisis and financial deterioration came amid an already difficult time for Lebanon.
How PFC contributed to the NGOs efforts
NGOs have undertaken the role of the country leaders helping to relieve the crisis-struck Lebanon.
Through joint efforts between PFC and international and local NGOs, Lebanon has been helped, releasing a relief emergency campaign, and accomplishing much in a short period of time due to donations and volunteers. The outcome of a partnership can be mutually reinforcing.
In fact, PFC works hand in hand with internationally funded programs directly aimed towards the economic development of the country through the provision of technical assistance for suffering Lebanese-owned businesses. Among these programs are the Lebanon Enterprise Development (LED) and Lebanon Investment in Quality (LINQ) programs both funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Advice for Small Business (ASB) program funded by the European Union (EU). These programs, like others, aim to enhance the Lebanese ecosystem by working towards the accomplishment of two main objectives: the creation of job opportunities for Lebanese citizens and the contribution to the growth of small and medium enterprises on a local and global scale.
A corporate-NGO partnership can lead to a genuine impact through proactive and purposeful collaborations.
Furthermore, PFC collaborates with NGOs as direct clients in which the former offers services on projects, notably, market studies, business coaching and training, and so forth.
Beyond adding to the social and economic value, such a partnership allows NGOs and companies to complete each other’s business models.
Strategic imperatives for successful Corporate-NGO Partnerships:
Here we stress 6 strategic imperatives for the success of corporate-NGO developing market partnerships.
● Establishing innovative combinations of firm and NGO resources and skills
● Realizing the importance of trust-building
● Having a mature concept
● Choosing the right partner to collaborate with
● Laying down clear guidelines at the very start to set up priorities
● Supporting and understanding the local business infrastructure and environment
Evidently, the pandemic and its profound social and economic repercussions have imposed many challenges on societies, underdeveloped and developed alike (Dahan et al., 2010). Addressing societal needs will undoubtedly necessitate organizations’ participation from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Lebanese non-governmental organizations have helped resolve some of the country’s raging crises. To further this end, a corporate NGO partnership would contribute to an untroubled, well-governed and secure society, and a stable operating environment. In addition, it would encourage healthy, active populations, strengthening local communities.
Abdo, J. (2020, August 24). 14+ Lebanese NGOs Actively Helping Blast-Stricken Beirut. The961.
Cheeseman, A. (2020, August 12). After Beirut explosion, Lebanese volunteers flock to help clean up.
Dahan, N., Doh, J., Oetzel, J., & Yaziji, M. (2010, April). Corporate-NGO Collaboration: Co-creating New
Business Models for Developing Markets. Long Range Planning 43(2-3). DOI:10.1016/j.lrp.2009.11.003
Doh, J. (2020, October 26). Partnering with NGOs: The 4 Keys to Success. Network for Business
Fawaz, M., & Harb, M. (2020, October 13). Is Lebanon Becoming Another “Republic of the NGOs”? Arab
Center Washington DC.
International Labor Organization. (2020). Rapid Diagnostic Assessment of Employment Impacts under
COVID19 in Lebanon.
Poret, S. (2017, April 21). Corporate-NGO partnerships in CSR activities: why and how?. HAL Id:
Red Cross EU Office. (2020, August 17). A triple emergency in Lebanon: the Beirut explosion, COVID-19
and an economic crisis.