How the Public Thinks About Cross-sector Collaboration


Hart Research Associates convened six focus groups on behalf of The Intersector Project to explore citizens’ views toward the business, government, and non-profit sectors and toward cross-sector collaboration. This report presents key takeaways from these focus groups and provides:


Guidance on how to effectively make the case for cross-sector collaboration to key stakeholders, including insight into whether the public sees cross-sector collaboration as a “breakthrough” approach to solving public problems, how words like cooperation, partnership, and collaboration resonate (or do not) with citizens, and the overall rationale for cross-sector collaboration that the public finds most compelling.


Insights into how each of the business, government, and non-profit sectors is perceived, which can help practitioners communicate the need for and value of cross-sector collaboration to their constituencies by illuminating the assets they bring to the collaboration, and how the assets of other sectors can help them overcome their limitations.


An overview of citizens’ views on how results of successful cross-sector initiatives are communicated, highlighting elements that make certain stories of success resonate with citizens more than others and recommending three fundamental elements that the most compelling stories include.

See The Intersector Project’s article in SSIR (“What does the public think about cross-sector collaboration?“) for more practical takeaways from this research.