This list provides some resources that teams can use to better understand the collective impact approach, assess their readiness to use the approach, and apply the collective impact approach to existing collaborative efforts.

Updated as of October 2015

Complex, systems change requires leadership from various partners: state government leaders, funding agencies, schools, hospitals, the private sector, community organizer and more. This is where collective impact comes into play – as a method to engage partners from different sectors to solve the complex social problems of the day. Collective impact – an approach which brings together different sectors for a common agenda to solve large complex problems – can be applied to existing collaborative work to help facilitate cross-sector engagement to effectively implement their strategies to achieve their desired results. Collective impact is built upon five interconnected components that can produce strong alignment and lead to large scale results. The five components, as spelled out in the paper above, are:

  1. Common agenda – All participants share a vision for change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed-upon actions;
  2. Shared measurement – All participating organizations agree on the ways success will be measured and reported, with a short list of common indicators identified and used for learning and improvement;
  3. Mutually reinforcing activities – A diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinate a set of differentiated activities through a mutually reinforcing plan of action;
  4. Continuous communication – All players engage in frequent and structured open communication to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation; and
  5. Backbone support – An independent, funded staff dedicated to the initiative provides ongoing support by guiding the initiative’s vision and strategy, supporting aligned activities, establishing shared measurement practices, building public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing resources.

Raising Awareness: What is collective impact? Below are some resources to expand on the concept of collective impact and provide some additional background information.

  • “Collective Impact: Leading Change to Achieve Results” Presentation
  • “How Public Policy Can Support Collective Impact” Report
  • “Tackling Complex Social Problems Through Collective Impact” Motion-graphic
  • “Why Collective Impact” Video

Readiness to Engage: Before engaging in collective impact, it is important to assess whether the conditions for collective impact success are in place. Below are some resources to assess a state’s readiness to engage.

Capacity to use the collective impact approach: Effectively applying the collective impact approach requires leadership from multiple partners – from state leaders to funding agencies – around a common agenda. Below are some resources to help states grow capacity and facilitate this cross-sector work.

  • “Making Collective Impact Work” Webinar
  • “System Leadership and Collective Impact” Podcast
  • “Committing to Collective Impact: From Vision to Implementation” Article
  • Working Group Toolkit
  • Steering Committee Toolkit

Evaluating Efforts and Impact: When working on collective impact efforts, it is essential to implement an approach to performance measurement and evaluation that is as multi-faceted, responsive, and flexible as the initiatives themselves.

  • Guide to Evaluating Collective Impact Report
  • Evaluating Collective Impact: Assessing Your Progress, Effectiveness, and Impact Webinar
  • Learning in Action: Evaluating Collective Impact Article

Incorporating an Equity and Inclusion Lens: It is essential to examine how your collective impact effort is practicing equity and inclusion within its structure and work, from authentically engaging communities to forming governance structures.

  • Equity Resources Toolkit
  • 3 Steps for Advancing Equity through Collective Impact Blog
  • Bringing an Equity Lens to Collective Impact Blog

Collective Impact Five Components: The five conditions are the components necessary for collective impact success. Below are brief explanations of these components, and some resources to provide support for each.

An overview of all five components can be found here: Channeling Change Article

1. Common Agenda – “All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.”

  • Sample meeting agendas for the first 6 months of the collective impact initiative
  • Sample strategies for pursuing a common agenda

2. Shared Measurement – “Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable.”

  • Better Data Toolkit – A tool to help partners in “identifying data needs, filling data gaps, and using data to influence real-time decision making”
  • Implementing Shared Measurement Webinar

3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities – “Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.”

  • Implementation Activity Checklist – A checklist of suggested activities to assist in the implementation of collective impact initiatives

4. Continuous Communication – “Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation.”

5. Backbone Support – “Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations.”

  • Value of backbone organizations article
  • Sample job descriptions for Backbone Roles
  • Backbone Toolkit – “Tools to help establish the infrastructure of a collective impact Backbone”
  • “Funding the Backbone of Your Collective Impact Effort” Presentation

Sustaining Collective Impact – As states move through the process of applying collective impact to their initiatives, they should also think about sustaining the concepts of collective impact beyond the timeframe of the current initiative. Below are some resources to assist states in this effort toward sustainability.

  • Investing in Change: Funding Collective Impact Efforts Webinar
  • Analysis of Success, Challenges, and Helpful Tools by Initiative Phase Presentation

For more information and resources on collective impact, you may visit the Collective Impact Forum resource library. If you would like to share a resource that you have found helpful when engaging in collective impact, please contact Robert Albright at

Have other resources to recommend? Share with us in the comments as well!