Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations.
Substantially greater progress could be made in alleviating many of our most serious and complex social problems if nonprofits, governments, businesses, and the public were brought together around a common agenda to create collective impact.
If you are interested in exploring how collective impact can help you accomplish your mission, I recommend these two articles:
- John Kania and Mark Kramer’s “Collective Impact” essay published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. It can be downloaded here: Article
- David Bornstein’s New York Times article on Collective Impact titled, “The Power of Partnerships.”: Click here to read it.
What is collective impact?: The Five Conditions of Collective Impact Success
Collective Impact is more rigorous and specific than collaboration among organizations. There are five conditions that, together, lead to meaningful results from Collective Impact:
Common Agenda: All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions
Shared Measurement: Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable
Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action
Continuous Communication: Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation
Backbone Organization: Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies
This video describes the concept of collective impact, and shows the 5 conditions of collective impact in action
The Elizabeth River Project and The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) as examples. Please share with others who are working to tackle large-scale social problems, and help build the collective impact movement.