Collaborators: Non-profits working together

Cooperation put Unicef and the Children's Society at the top of the news agenda.

Last month's Unicef report on wellbeing in childhood sparked a bout of national soul-searching when it emerged that the UK was ranked bottom in a league table of 21 rich countries.

But the media coverage was not just a result of the startling findings. It was also due to a collaboration between Unicef and the Children's Society.

Unicef, a United Nations agency with experience of working in the developing world, was keen to draw on the knowledge of an organisation with national expertise for the UK launch of the report. It needed a partner that could put the results in context.

The two organisations began talking last year, when the Children's Society launched its Good Childhood Inquiry, an exhaustive study of the experience of British children, to be published in 2008. They agreed that the release of the Unicef report on Valentine's Day should coincide with the launch of the Children's Society's new microsite for children and young people, mylife.

The society also collaborated on a full-page newspaper advert highlighting the report's findings and urging readers to sponsor a child to get involved in the Good Childhood Inquiry.

Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of the Children's Society, spoke at the Unicef report's launch and was joined by Peter Sincock, a 17-year-old adviser to the Good Childhood Inquiry. The Children's Commissioner was also available for interviews.

"We knew there was a strong story for the UK," says Unicef spokeswoman Kathryn Irwin. "But having others talking about the report, so that it wasn't just Unicef, was important."

The partnership was the first time the Children's Society had worked with an international organisation to promote a shared issue, and the results were impressive. Since the launch, 400 children have filled in the 'Have Your Say' section of the mylife microsite, and on the day of the launch the charity's main website recorded four times the usual number of visitors.

"In terms of partnership, it worked extremely well," says Reitemeier.

"There wasn't any fighting over press space: there was so much to go around that both organisations were delighted."

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