Collective Impact Coalitions

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"A large body of practice has now developed under the banner of collective impact—the commitment of a multi-actor alliance from different sectors to a common agenda for solving social and environmental problems, whether alcohol abuse, recidivism in the criminal justice system, or river basin-wide pollution issues. This structured form of collaboration was first articulated in 2011 in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (Kania and Kramer, 2011).

Collective impact alliances are outcomes-focused; they grew directly out of the sense that, on any given challenge, single organisations might have been achieving results but the problem persisted. In collective impact, stakeholders develop a shared vision and joint approach around an ambitious but clearly defined goal, coordinate their activities and measurement approach, maintain communication, and share a common enabling infrastructure or ‘backbone’.

A well-known example is Strive Partnership in Cincinnati (, which started as a ‘cradle-to-career community’ in 2006. By bringing together local leaders to improve education in the region’s urban core, the partnership sought to increase student success in three public school districts. More than 300 cross-sector representatives joined in the effort, including school district superintendents, business and nonprofit leaders, city officials, and university presidents. As Strive Partnership emphasises, it “didn’t try to create a new educational program or attempt to convince donors to spend more money. Instead, through a carefully structured process, Strive focused the entire educational community on a single set of goals, measured in the same way” (Kania and Kramer, 2011). Every year they publish a partnership report to catalyse discussion around the current state of education in the community. This report includes an review of trends over time, highlighting the areas of greatest impact as well as areas where more focus is needed in order to improve the cradleto-career journey. Evaluation is essential to understand how to “ensure success for every child, every step of the way, cradle to career” (Strive Partnership, 2015)." (from the North Camden Zone report on 'Place-based systems change', via Indy Johar)