2021 Collective Impact Virtual Convening: Call for Session Proposals

Posted 10 months ago at 6:46 am

The Collective Impact Forum invites you to propose a session for the 2021 Collective Impact Virtual Convening on April 27-29, 2021.

Please submit your proposal using this online form by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, September 25, 2020.

Please read the following information carefully before beginning your submission. You can also access a copy of the session nomination questions, so that you can plan your responses before submitting in the online form by the deadline.

In order to make the Collective Impact Virtual Convening a more accessible and equitable event, we will be providing complimentary registration to all Convening speakers in 2021.

Visit our Online Submission Form

Session Speaker Registration Guidance

Before reviewing the conference priorities, please see our guidance below if you are considering submitting a session.

  • Comp Speaker Registration:  The Collective Impact Forum will provide complimentary registration for session speakers to attend the three-day virtual convening. Please wait to hear back on the status of your session proposal by December 2020 before you register to attend the virtual convening.
  • Lifting up Speakers from the Community: We encourage including community member voices on sessions when appropriate. We define “community members” as those who will be impacted by the collective impact initiative, and are participating in that capacity rather than as the employee of an organization that is part of the collective impact initiative. Session leaders are encouraged to consider providing an honorarium for community members who are speaking on their session.

Conference Content Priorities

The 2021 Virtual Collective Impact Convening will be centered on how collective impact efforts can contribute to reconstructing equitable systems as communities navigate through times of crisis.

We recognize that your local context may be rapidly changing now given (at least) three intersecting crises facing many communities –COVID-19, a prolonged economic downturn, and anti-Black racism. We anticipate that your collaborative’s efforts will involve responding to these crises toward reconstructing systems that will better serve those who have been historically most marginalized in your communities. As a result, across all of the sessions at the 2021 Collective Impact Virtual Convening, speakers should elevate the centrality of racial equity in these efforts.

Through a mix of session topics, session formats, and a variety of speakers, 2021 Collective Impact Virtual Convening participants will explore key topics related to reconstructing equitable systems through collective impact such as:

  • Community Engagement: Authentically co-creating alongside those with lived experiences by ensuring that community members actively contribute to and co-lead a collective impact initiative
  • Community Organizing: Building community leadership to harness and mobilize power toward changing local conditions, policies, and resources
  • Data and Continuous Learning: Using qualitative and quantitative data for continuous learning and decision-making in collective impact (e.g., identifying shared measures; using shared measurement systems / platforms; learning from data; evaluating the progress of collective impact work)
  • Mental Models and Narrative Change: Influencing individuals’ deeply held beliefs and assumptions that influence actions, and changing a community’s story that leads to large-scale shifts
  • Policy Change: Advocating for changes in federal/state/local legislative policy, or changing an organization’s rules, regulations, priorities, or policies/procedures that guide its and others’ actions
  • Relationships, Connections, and Power Dynamics: Strengthening the quality of connections and communication occurring between partners, and changing how individuals and organizations hold decision-making power and influence

Please indicate the intended audience for your session (e.g., funders, backbones, and/or any audience), the target stage of collective impact for your session (e.g., not yet initiated, early stages of developing, mid stages of implementing, late stages of refining/sustaining), and how you will address equity in your session (e.g., describing how you are focusing on marginalized populations in the development of your collaborative’s strategies or governance). Staff of the Collective Impact Forum will curate the 2021 Collective Impact Convening program, with feedback from a national host committee of funders, practitioners, and other field-building partners.

Proposal Submission Instructions

You are invited to submit a session proposal for one of three different session formats:

  • 75-minute how-to session: These concurrent sessions will focus on how-to “nuts and bolts” advice for collective impact leaders (e.g., how to evaluate collective impact, how to distribute leadership through working groups); maximum of 3 presenters, including moderator
  • 75-minute case study: These concurrent sessions will provide in-depth case studies where a collective impact initiative has overcome a significant challenge or has achieved systems or population-level impact; maximum of 3 presenters, including moderator
  • 60-minute tool session: These concurrent sessions will give attendees a chance to practice using a freely available concrete tool (e.g., actor mapping, data visualization, eco-cycle) that they can adapt for use in their own collective impact initiatives; maximum of 2 presenters
  • Note that sessions will take place at various points in the agenda from Tuesday afternoon (April 27) through Thursday morning (April 29).

To submit a proposal, please complete this form by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, September 25, 2020.

Suggestions for Submitting a Strong Session Proposal

The Collective Impact Forum gives priority consideration to session proposals that demonstrate:

  • Session design: your session allows attendees to hear from and interact with presenters and peers with varied virtual facilitation techniques (i.e., minimize virtual “panel discussions” with no time for participant interaction, consider using Zoom breakout room and live-polling, and other online collaboration tools]). In addition, you clearly state learning objectives for attendees to easily choose sessions that are most applicable to them.
  • Speaker composition: your session brings together diverse points of view and experiences on a topic. Examples of diverse perspectives might include speakers who are people of color, people with disabilities, people who identify on the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) spectrum, and/or programming that promotes gender equity among speakers. In addition, we ask you to consider including community members who are involved with your initiative and/or are directly impacted by your initiative’s work in your session, as makes sense for the topic.
  • Relevance of content: Your session presents ideas that provide practical, actionable insights for attendees. Your session also recognizes how current events affect individuals, organizations, and collective impact initiatives. This might include how your collaborative is responding to the short-term and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on racial disparities in outcomes, how you are revising your common agenda to advance systems change in new ways, or other approaches to adapt and meet your community’s needs as a collaborative during these tumultuous times. For case studies, you are able to point to systems changes or population level the impact that the collaborative has had
  • Equity: Your session describes how you are focusing on marginalized populations in the development and implementation of your collaborative’s strategies or governance (e.g., you might share examples of how you made space for difficult conversations about race in your collective impact work, how you have focused on shifting power, how you have disaggregated data to better target your work, or how you have authentically included members of community in the collaborative’s structures – particularly during periods of prolonged social distancing).
  • We are seeking proposals from both U.S. and non-U.S. contexts.

Please note: the Collective Impact Forum reserves the right to make adjustments or recommendations to final session designs, including speaker lineup, virtual session format, and description.

Key Dates

  • Tuesday, August 4, 2020: Call for session proposals is available online.
  • Friday, September 25, 2020 (11:59 p.m. ET): All session proposals must be completed and submitted online.
  • October 2020: Sessions under review.
  • November 2020 to December 2020: Collective Impact Forum staff communicates session decisions. The point-of-contact for accepted proposals may receive session recommendations, as needed.
  • December 2020 to February 2021: Session designers select final speakers and re-submit to Collective Impact Forum an updated speaker lineup and session description.
  • March to April 2021: Session designers and speakers refine their sessions, with support from Collective Impact Forum staff.
  • April 27-29, 2021: The 2021 Collective Impact Virtual Convening takes place on April 27-29, 2021. On Tuesday, April 27, we will offer a funder-only pre-conference dialogue for those who primarily play a grantmaking role in collective impact.

If you have any questions or experience technical difficulties, please contact Robert Albright at or 919-606-1013.

Visit our Online Session Submission Form: Submit a 2021 Session



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