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Collective Impact

Collective Impact is an approach for facilitating and achieving large scale change on complex social issues. It is a disciplined approach to bringing community-led change through a collective of cross-sector organisations who focus on a common agenda with disciplined use of data to demonstrate change at the population level.

Kania and Kramer wrote about Collective Impact in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011 and identified five conditions that must be present to achieve success. These are:

1. A 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

2. Shared Measurement 

Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable

3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities

Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action

4. Continuous Communication

Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation

5. Backbone Support

Creating and managing collective impact requires a dedicated staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organisations and agencies.

Collective Impact readiness can be assessed through the following three pre-conditions:

  1. An Influential Champion - An individual or small group who command the respect necessary to bring CEO-level cross-sector leaders together and keep them actively engaged over time
  2. Adequate Financial Resourcing -  Adequate financial resources to last at least two to three years and generally involving at least one anchor funder to support needed infrastructure and planning
  3. A Sense of Urgency for Change - A new opportunity or crisis that convinces people that a particular issue must be acted upon now and/or that a new approach is needed.

Together SA

Together SA is a systems changer that works with communities who  collaborate with communities to tackle complex social problems. Together SA brings expertise, independent facilitation and energy to bring about the social change that local people seek. Together SA aims to inspire communities to create better futures for themselves.

Collective Impact Resources

Page last updated : 20 Jun 2022

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