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2018: The year of collaboration

If 2017 was the year of division with Trump, Brexit and Ed Sheeran driving divisions between society, 2018 will be the year of collaboration.

Partnerships will be the vital theme running through the year. At the PRCA Charity and Not For Profit Group “year in review” event last week, we heard from academics, in house PRs and agency staffers that everyone is seeking to work more collaboratively to advance their causes.

From a fundraising perspective, this will mean donors becoming a more integral part of a charity’s work and closer collaboration between communications and fundraising staff to achieve charitable goals.

And this theme is being replicated across the wider communications industry. The rise of community businesses and social enterprises which see customers as partners – or members – rather than just consumers will continue apace.

As new upstarts with more engaging public positioning continue to destabilise the status quo, brands will need to adapt to survive. They will seek partnerships with campaigners to advance their own profit motives. But in turn, we will see campaigners work closer together to stop ”value wash” and campaign fatigue hitting their causes as they are adopted by high street names.

Engagement will continue to replace audience as the key watchword for media outlets, meaning campaigns and user generated activity will continue to grow in importance. This should be music to the ears of PRs, but again we will need to strike a balance between gaining headlines / media support and delivering our client’s messages.

So 2018 will usher in an era of collaboration and harmony. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, yes, Brexit. We can only forlornly hope for partnership on that front.

Simon Francis is Chair of the PRCA’s Charity & Not For Profit Group and Founder Member of Campaign Collective, a social enterprise helping charities and campaigners with their communications.