One of the preconditions to successfully launching a collective impact initiative is urgency to address the issue in new and different ways. Frustration with the existing situation often motivates people to come together to work in a collective impact approach, rather than continuing work as it has been done in the past.

The context for starting every collective impact initiative is unique. In some situations, people looking to launch a collective impact initiative have successfully recognized that urgency exists amongst key stakeholders to shift toward using a collective impact approach. In other situations, stakeholders have created urgency to address the issue by using a collective impact approach. Some techniques people have used to recognize or create a sense of urgency amongst stakeholders are described below.

  • Use data to highlight the issue in ways that people have not seen before. For example, disaggregating data by geography or socioeconomic status can highlight the urgency of addressing a social or environmental challenge in a new way
  • Conduct research and publicize a report that captures media attention and emphasizes the severity of the problem
  • Recognize if a crisis has created a breaking point, convincing people that an entirely new approach is required
  • Elevate the voice of individuals with lived experience, who can testify to the impact that the status quo has on their lives and importance of addressing the issue
  • Leverage influential champions to advocate for new ways of addressing the issue. Having champions use data about the issue, and commit their time and resources to the initiative, can add to people’s perception of urgency

The case studies included on the Collective Impact Forum's website provide additional examples of how initiatives were launched. Learn more at