Understanding Collective Impact

In a previous blog post, we’ve already explored the use of social impact bonds as an alternative means of financing socially driven projects. A corollary to social impact bonds is the concept of collective impact. Whereas social impact bonds are the means to achieve some social or environmental good, collective impact is the method in which that complex social problems can addressed. It allows for the collaboration of businesses, social enterprises, non-profit organizations and government to achieve social change.

Common areas of collective impact include education, healthcare, community development, and poverty alleviation. It is based on the belief that there is no single organization that can tackle society’s complicated social issues. Collective impact works by way of uniting multiple entities from different sectors to agree in a common agenda and work together towards reaching a common goal based on shared interests and values. In 2011, when collective impact was first introduced by John Kania & Mark Kramer for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, its five key elements were outlined as:

  1. A shared common agenda among participants, a common understanding of social problems and agreement upon the approach to solving the problem
  2. Collection of data and measuring results consistently across all organizations to ensure accountability
  3. A plan of action that outlined the activities of each party involved
  4. Clear communication in order to build trust and ensure a common motivation
  5. A “backbone” organization to coordinate the union of agencies

As of this year alone, collective impact projects have started in Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and California.

For more information on collective impact be sure to visit the collective impact forum.

Here at SLG, we take the view that the only way to harmonize the world’s chaos is to look at problems from every angle. It is going to take a collective effort among a spectrum of different actors to ensure continuous and healthy growth, especially in the social enterprise space. We hope this article inspires you to rethink how your organization addresses its call to action and maybe how you can prioritize and strengthen your collaborations and partnerships!

Sustainable Lawyer