Social Power: How civil society can ‘play big’ and truly create change

Social Power explores the existing evidence on pursuing change in civil society today

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This report, conducted by Sheila Mckechnie Foundation, comprises of a year-long conversation with practitioners and a review of existing evidence about how change happens in civil society. Social Power offers a rich account of how individuals and communities are engaged in social change, developing ‘The Social Change Grid’ as a way of conceptualising this.


Clear in the findings is that civil society plays a significant role in driving social change. Reaching and connecting people, sharing power and unlocking resources - the work that goes on in civil society is significant and often rooted in principle and passion.


While civil society is key to driving change, constraints on power and voice can create barriers, such as organisational cultures, government policies and a sense of civil society’s ‘proper place’. This report also identifies 12 habits of successful change-makers, as well as what may be holding civil society back. 


It offers useful recommendations to government, funders and sector leaders on how civil society can be strengthened.


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