Blog

On our blog, Collective Impact Forum staff, partners, and guest contributors share the latest learning, innovations, and stories from the field.

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  • Avoid the pitfalls of those before you! The Collective Impact Principles of Practice

    Jennifer Splansky Juster

    March 12, 2020

    No two collective impact initiative are the same … that of course is the reality of working to make progress on complex, systemic issues. However, one thing that has tripped up many initiatives using a collective impact approach is that they have been so focused on implementing the “Five Conditions of Collective Impact” – outlined in the original article Collective Impact in the Stanford Social Innovation Review – that they forget about the *how* this work actually unfolds.
  • Navigating Consent and Allyship

    Tracy Timmons-Gray

    December 9, 2019

    At work during an affinity group meeting, I shared a story from back in college where a close friend offered me assistance. We were in our college café, and I was standing by the counter, squinting up at the menu hanging on the far wall. As someone with low vision, menus posted on walls are normally my unreadable enemy. My friend knew this, and while I stood there, she offered to read the menu to me. I replied that I didn’t need assistance that day as I was wearing my (very large, very magnifying) glasses instead of my less powerful but culturally more accepted contacts. She replied, “Oh, I didn’t even notice.”
  • Re-framing the Way We Talk about Poverty: Three Insights from the FrameWorks Institute

    Victor Tavarez

    November 15, 2019

    For organizations and individuals engaged in collective impact work, it is important to remain inclusive in the way you and your organization frame the issues and partners you work with. The recent FrameWorks Institute’s article Framing Two-Generation Approaches to Supporting Families offers valuable insights for framing, messaging, and shifting mental models in collective impact work.
  • Assessing the Collective Impact Field’s Needs: Insights from Our Fifth Annual Survey

    Sharon Ide

    October 29, 2019

    Earlier this year, the Collective Impact Forum gathered feedback through its fifth annual survey of members with online profiles. The purpose of this survey was to assess the Forum’s progress to date, to understand the current state of our members’ collective impact initiatives, and to collect input on topics of interest for our programming. Thank you to all who responded to the 2019 survey.
  • Welcome to the Party! How to onboard new collaborative partners

    Deborah Halliday

    September 24, 2019

    If collective impact efforts have any certainties, one surely is the ever-revolving (one might hope ever-evolving) door of community partners coming to the table. Our efforts for inclusivity, the reality that multisector coalitions invite instability as people leave jobs and new people come in: it’s inevitable that we will be regularly onboarding new partners. How do we invite in new faces without disrupting the focus and momentum of the team? I’m often asked this as I coach collective impact efforts. Here are a few strategies that seem to work.
  • 13 Collaboratives Selected to Participate in Collective Impact Data Accelerator

    Robert Albright

    September 23, 2019

    The use of data across partners is a core element of the collective impact approach. In fact, the central use of data – for both collaborative learning and accountability – is often the element of collective impact that practitioners report to be the most differentiating from the other collaboratives in which they have worked. Through our engagement with funders and practitioners in the Collective Impact Forum community, we understand that collective impact initiatives are using a variety of types of data – including collecting data through public databases, shared measurement systems, evaluations, research studies, and in informal conversations – to learn, inform, and improve their work.
  • Unsticking Stuck Mental Models: Adventures in Systems Change

    John Kania

    August 30, 2019

    Experience has shown that many efforts to change systems emanating from philanthropy, government and the main stream nonprofit sector focus the lion’s share of activity on change at the first level – the structural level of systems change. Yet successful systems change must place significant attention on the second and third levels of change – the cultural levels.
  • Securing Funding for the Backbone Role: Lessons from the Field

    Erin Sullivan

    June 21, 2019

    One of the most common questions we hear from collective impact practitioners is how to raise the funds needed to support and sustain the backbone role. While some funders have a nuanced understanding of the immense value of collective impact initiatives, supporting the backbone is a different approach for many philanthropic and public funding sources, which can make it challenging to get the consistent, long-term investments needed to help effect population-change.
  • Envisioning a “New Normal”: Systems-Based Approaches for Achieving the Next Generation of Development Goals

    Ann Hendrix-Jenkins

    June 20, 2019

    International development is in the midst of a sea change, broadening from a general focus on project-based outcomes to production of sustainable, embedded change. Worldwide, leaders at all levels are calling for development outcomes that go beyond “short-term technical assistance” and direct service provision, and looking to integrated approaches that foster self reliance and resilience.

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