Leveraging Partnerships to Improve Community Outcomes: Collective Impact

Why Collective Impact?

**Kania, J., & Kramer, M. (2011). Collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter. Available at https://ssir.org/articles/entry/collective_impact

This article introduces the concept of collective impact and argues that collective impact is more effective than other collaborative structures. Whereas other systemic improvement efforts have been hobbled by organizations working in isolation, Kania and Kramer describe collective impact as an approach that brings stakeholders together across typically siloed domains and requires coordinated actions from different perspectives that strive towards a common goal.  The authors outline the necessary components of a collective impact strategy.  First, partners need a common agenda. In order to effectively tackle a problem, everyone should agree on the context of the problem and the goals to work towards. Second, to evaluate their progress towards shared goals, participants must agree to a set of shared measurement systems to evaluate their progress towards their goals. Third, participants should have continuous and frequent communication, meeting often to share results and to troubleshoot. Fourth, each body should be engaged in distinct, yet mutually reinforcing activities.  As each stakeholder relates the problem from a different vantage, each will support the effort in distinct, but complimentary ways. And fifth, an effort that requires so much stakeholder participation must have a backbone or supportive structure that facilitates communication and progress.

**McAfee, M., Blackwell, A. G., & Bell, J. (2015). Equity: The soul of collective impact. Oakland, CA: PolicyLink. Available at http://policylink.org/sites/default/files/Collective_Impact_10-21-15f.pdf

This article argues that equity must be the grounding framework for any collective impact effort; this work requires a place-based, explicit focus on race. The United States was founded upon and still relies on systemic racism. In fact, race remains a fundamental factor that is deeply tied to generational poverty and lack of opportunity. The authors suggest that any collective impact effort will be more successful if it acknowledges and works specifically to undo the impacts of white supremacy. To integrate an equity lens, the article advocates for collective impact efforts to analyze racial barriers in order to fully address them, invite and center voices and leadership of members of the affected community in order to better understand their perspectives, and disaggregate data to see the full range and extent of the impact on groups. Further, the authors argue that these efforts require all participants have ambition and commitment to see the project through as well as a willingness to be held to account by those whose lives are directly affected. The authors also suggest that programmatic efforts are not enough—leaders must advocate for policy change for more widespread impact.

**Clifton, J. (2011) The coming jobs war. New York, NY: Gallup Press.  Available at http://www.gallup.com/press/176855/coming-jobs-war.aspx

In this book excerpt, Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton cautions readers about the upcoming shortage of high quality, meaningful jobs, which he coins the “coming jobs war.” For more than 75 years, Gallup has been conducting surveys around the world asking people what they most desire in life. Clifton writes that in recent years, nearly all people have responded that they want a “good” job (i.e. formal, consisting of 30 hours or more a week, and meaningful), but that economic, technological, and political indicators suggest that the world (including the U.S.) will not be able to meet this need. He describes this problem and its implications in the Introduction and Chapter 1. In Chapter 10, he writes specifically about the American K-12 education system and suggests that one of the most important things schools can do is instill hope in their students, which facilitates increased engagement in all aspects of their lives.