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Collective impact


Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration. The concept of collective impact was first articulated in the 2011 Stanford Social Innovation Review article Collective Impact, written by John Kania, Managing Director at FSG, and Mark Kramer, Kennedy School at Harvard and Co-founder FSG. Collective impact was chosen as the #2 philanthropy buzzword for 2011, and has been recognized by the White House Council for Community Solutions as an important framework for progress on social issues.

The concept of collective impact hinges on the idea that in order for organizations to create lasting solutions to social problems on a large-scale, they need to coordinate their efforts and work together around a clearly defined goal. The approach of collective impact is placed in contrast to “isolated impact,” where organizations primarily work alone to solve social problems. Collective impact moves away from this, arguing that organizations should form cross-sector coalitions in order to make meaningful and sustainable progress on social issues.

Initiatives must meet five criteria in order to be considered collective impact:

Collective impact initiatives have, and are currently, being employed for a wide variety issues, including education,health and healthcare,animal welfare,homelessness,poverty reduction, and youth and community development. Notable examples of collective impact initiatives include: The Strive Partnership educational initiative in Cincinnati, the environmental cleanup of the Elizabeth River in Virginia, the Shape Up Somerville campaign against childhood obesity in Somerville, Mass, and the work of the Calgary Homeless Foundation in Calgary, Canada.



  • Common Agenda: All participating organizations (government agencies, non-profits, community members, etc.) have a shared vision for social change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed upon actions.
  • Shared Measurement System: Agreement on the ways success will be measured and reported with a short list of key indicators across all participating organizations.
  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Engagement of a diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinating a set of differentiated activities through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.
  • Continuous Communication: Frequent communications over a long period of time among key players within and across organizations, to build trust and inform ongoing learning and adaptation of strategy.
  • Backbone Organization: Ongoing support provided by an independent staff dedicated to the initiative. The backbone staff tends to play six roles to move the initiative forward:Guide Vision and Strategy; Support Aligned Activity; Establish Shared Measurement Practices; Build Public Will; Advance Policy; and Mobilize Funding.
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Wikipedia

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