• 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.