On our blog, Collective Impact Forum staff, partners, and guest contributors share the latest learning, innovations, and stories from the field.
  • Scenario Thinking for an Unpredictable Year: Status Quo is Not an Option

    Paul Schmitz

    April 23, 2020

    During the past month, many of us have had our lives and livelihoods completely upended. We have been forced to respond to emergencies in our work and for some of us, in our lives. For those of us still working, we have had to change our work and the way we work. For those with children, jobs are being balanced with new roles as principal, teacher, guidance counselor, cafeteria worker, janitor, and librarian at their brand new home school. We’ve had to lean into empathy and manage change like never before. If you are struggling, you are not alone.
  • Making Meetings Work

    Paul Schmitz

    August 29, 2018

    One of the five core tenets or conditions of collective impact is “Continuous Communication,” which usually means meetings, lots of meetings. And let’s face it, most meetings suck. They don’t have to. There are some lessons we can apply to ensure that meetings are purposeful, engaging, and advance our work in ways that people anticipate with enthusiasm instead of dread.
  • New Toolkit for Community Engagement

    Paul Schmitz

    March 26, 2017

    Almost every collective impact effort I have visited has struggled with community engagement at some level. During the past few years, I have learned a great deal from projects I’ve visited, while also drawing on my experience doing community building for more than two decades through Public Allies and The Asset-Based Community Development Institute.
  • Vu Le is Right* About Equity and Collective Impact

    Paul Schmitz

    December 14, 2015

    Vu Le is an important voice in the nonprofit sector. He speaks truth to power and calls out the elephants in our collective room. Many critics approach their fields with righteousness; Vu approaches with refreshing humility as one struggling with these questions and willing to be wrong. On November 30th, he posted “Why Communities of Color Are Getting Frustrated with Collective Impact.” He may find it surprising that The Collective Impact Forum not only welcomes his critique, but is broadcasting it as an important contribution to our field. I am writing to share some thoughts about why his essay is so important. I hope others will also join this discussion.
  • Applying An Equity Mirror to Collective Impact

    Paul Schmitz

    September 2, 2015

    There has been increasing buzz about “equity” and “racial equity” in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and among cross-sector collective impact efforts. This is a good thing and our nation’s persistent and rising racial and economic disparities demand it. Many groups are applying an “equity lens” to look outward at social problems and solutions, disaggregating data and seeking to differentiate opportunities and services to reduce disparities. But our organizations and collective efforts must begin by looking inward, using an “equity mirror” to examine our own composition, culture, and policies that reinforce and perpetuate societal disparities. To do equity, we must also be equity.
  • The Culture of Collective Impact

    Paul Schmitz

    October 23, 2014

    Last summer, I spoke at a conference of funders convened by the Collective Impact Forum. To prepare for the event, I contacted several trusted leaders in different communities who had been involved at various levels in collective impact initiatives. I heard enthusiastically about the promise of collective impact, but I also heard comments like those above that led me to a conviction: collective impact efforts must be as rigorous about culture as they are about data and strategy if they wish to achieve enduring change.