Community impact occurs when organizations from different sectors agree to solve a social problem using a common agenda and a structured form of collaboration. In contrast, isolated impact occurs when organizations primarily work alone to solve social problems. Organizations have been implementing community impact for a long time. Successful collective impact collaborations include 5 conditions to ensure success:
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.
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.