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What is Collective Impact?

Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem.

In order to create lasting solutions to social problems on a large-scale,
organizations —including those in government, civil society, and the
business sector — need to coordinate their efforts and work together
around a clearly defined goal.

Collective Impact is a significant shift from the social sector’s current
paradigm of "isolated impact," because the underlying premise of Collective
Impact is that no single organization can create large-scale, lasting social
change alone. There is no "silver bullet" solution to systemic social problems, and these problems cannot be solved by simply scaling or replicating one organization or program. Strong organizations are necessary but not sufficient for large-scale social change.

Not all social problems are suited for Collective Impact solutions. Collective
Impact is best employed for problems that are complex and systematic rather than technical in nature. Collective Impact initiatives are currently being employed to address a wide variety of issues around the world, including education, healthcare, homelessness, the environment, and community development. Many of these initiatives are already showing concrete results, reinforcing the promise of Collective Impact in solving complex social problems.

The Five Conditions of Collective Impact Success

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

 

For more information on Collective Impact, visit www.fsg.org or read the articles: Collective Impact, Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work and Embracing Emergence: How Collective Impact Addresses Complexity.

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