Collective Impact

No single organization has the ability to solve any major social problem at scale by itself. Collective impact is a powerful new approach to cross-sector collaboration that is achieving measurable effects on major social issues. This article is also available in Spanish.

Top Takeaways

  1. There are many examples of coordinated cross-sector collective impact efforts—including Strive, the Elizabeth River Project, Shape Up Somerville, and Mars Cocoa—that have succeeded when other individual efforts have failed.
  2. Successful collective impact initiatives typically have five conditions that together produce alignment and lead to powerful results: a common agenda, shared measurement systems, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and backbone support organizations.
  3. The social sector has not yet changed its funding practices to enable the shift to collective impact. Funders must be willing to invest sufficient resources in the facilitation, coordination, and measurement required for organizations to work together in this way.