Collective Impact

Collective Impact – General Resources

Achieving “Collective Impact” with Results-Based-Accountability Epps, D. (2011) Results Leadership Group.

  • The author aligns the requirements of collective impact with the requirements for results-based-accountability and provides examples of implementation.

Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work  HanleyBrown, F., Kania, J., & Kramer, M. (2012). Stanford Social Innovation Review.

  • The authors discuss required preconditions for collective impact, the phases needed for implementation, and provide examples of backbone organizations.

Collective Impact Kania, J., & Kramer, M. (2011). Stanford Social Innovation Review1(9), 36-41.

  • Collective impact is defined in this central piece as “long-term commitments by a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem. Their actions are supported by a shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, and ongoing communication, and are staffed by an independent backbone organization.”

Collective Impact Forum

  • The Collective Impact Forum exists to support the efforts of those who are practicing collective impact in the field. While the rewards of collective impact can be great, the work is often demanding. Those who practice it must keep themselves and their teams motivated and moving forward. The Collective Impact Forum is the place to find the tools and training that can help achieve success. 

Collective Impact for Policymakers: Working Together for Children and Youth The Forum for Youth Investment (2014)

  • The document describes inconsistencies in public policy, and how it makes improving the lives of children and youth through collective impact difficult.  The article provides eight recommendations for improving public policy to encourage collective impact efforts.

Collective Insights on Collective Impact  (2014) Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • Essential Mindset Shifts for Collective Impact Kania, J., Hanleybrown, F., & Juster, J. – The authors discuss three major shifts in thinking to improve collective impact efforts.
  • Defining Quality Collective Impact Edmondson, J., & Hecht, B. – The article describes four principles for long-term collective impact success: 1) Build a culture of continuous improvement; 2) Eliminate disparities; 3) Leverage existing assets; and 4) Engage local expertise and community voice.
  • The Role of Grantmakers in Collective Impact Bartczak, L. – The author suggests that grantmakers consider how they will balance their needs, catalyze their connections, and fund the cost of collaboration while using examples from the Central Appalachian Network and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation.
  • Power Dynamics in Collective Impact Ryan, M. – This article describes ways to effectively manage and engage power in collective organizations.  The author provides examples from the Road Map Project.
  • Roundtable on Community Engagement and Collective Impact Melody Barnes moderates a conversation between Paul Born (Tamarack Institute), Richard Harwood (The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation), Steve Savner (Center for Community Change), Stacey Stewart (United Way Worldwide), and Martin Zanghi (University of Southern Maine).
  • Aligning Collective Impact Initiatives Irby, M. & Boyle, P. – The authors discuss aligning various impact groups in an area, such as Northern Kentucky, to streamline the process and reduce overlaps between organizations.
  • Learning in Action: Evaluating Collective Impact Parkhurst, M., & Preskill, H. – This article suggests evaluating collective impact in three simple sections : 1) Ask what 2) Ask why, and 3) Ask often.  The authors also provide brief descriptions of developmental, formative, and summative evaluation techniques.
  • Achieving Collective Impact for Opportunity Youth Allen, L., Miles, M., & Steinberg, A. – The article focuses on efforts to reach “disconnected youth,” which could be improved with more data tracking and organizing funding initiatives.
  • Making Public Policy Collective Impact Friendly Ferber, T., & White, E. (2014) – The article provides examples of how public policy can be improved to provide incentives for organizations involved in collective impact efforts.  The authors provide recommendations for policy that focus on specific populations and issues, funding accountability, and government auditing practices.

Does Collective Impact Really Make an Impact? Stachowiak, S. & Gase, L. (2018). Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Embracing Emergence: How Collective Impact Addresses Complexity Kania, J., & Kramer, M. (2013). Stanford Social Innovation Review.

  • The article contrasts the emerging nature of collective impact with fields that are more traditional, where partnerships are strategic and intentional.  Developmental evaluation is recommended as a way to assess the effectiveness of such environments.

Getting to Collective Impact: How Funders can Contribute Over the Course of the Work Easterling, D. (2013). Foundation Review5(2), 67-83.

  • In a study of the Central Appalachian Network’s success, funders were mentors and developed relationships with the organizations.  They abandoned the traditional funder-driven management style, and became partners with the collective organization.

Round Table on Collective Impact Nee, E. & Jolin, M. (2012) Stanford Social Innovation Review, 25-29.

  • Leaders from various sectors discuss their experiences in growing the collective impact field.

Reflections on Living Cities’ Integration Initiative Hecht, B. (2014) Living Cities.

  • The article provides insight into the first three years of implementing and establishing Living Cities, an organization engaged in collective impact.

Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • Based out of Stanford University, the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) is an award-winning magazine and website that covers cross-sector solutions to global problems. SSIR is written for and by social change leaders in the nonprofit, business, and government sectors who view collaboration as key to solving environmental, social, and economic justice issues. 



Collective Impact – Shared Measurement/Indicators Resources

Big Data for Social Innovation Desouza, K. C., & Smith, K. L. (2014). Stanford Social Innovation Review12(3), 38-43.

  • The article discusses how organization can use data in the context of social problems.  It outlines building global data banks, such as the shared measurement system which supports collective impact.

Breakthroughs in Shared Measurement and Social Impact Kramer, M., Parkhurst, M., & Vaidyanathan, L. (2009). FSG Social Impact Advisors.

  • The document compares three systems for tracking data: shared measurement, comparative performance, and adaptive learning.

From Soft Skills to Hard Data: Measuring Youth Program Outcomes Wilson-Ahlstrom, A., Yohalem, N., DuBois, D., & Adler, P. J. (2011). In The Forum for Youth Investment.

  • The article provides detailed examples of instruments designed to measure youth development skills.

Metrics 3.0: A New Vision for Shared Metrics McCreless, M.,  Fonzi, C.,  Edens, G., & Lall, S., (2014). Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • The authors anticipate new metric systems will become more value driven.

The Power of Partnership: Road Map to Success Education Northwest (2014)

  • Education Northwest, an organization engaged in collective impact, describes aligning data with goals, engaging parents and community, the power of data, and building stronger support systems.

Using Data for Action and for Impact Fruchterman, J. (2016). Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • This article provides a framework to help nonprofits and social business make better use of data to inform decision-making and evaluate performance.



Collective Impact – Evaluation Resources

Developmental Evaluation Patton, M. Q. (1994). Developmental evaluation. Evaluation practice15(3), 311-319.

  • In developmental evaluation, the evaluator is a facilitator or team member whose job is to help improve and organize the effort.  The article provides examples of where developmental evaluation is appropriate.

Evaluating Social Innovation Preskill, H., & Beer, T. (2012). Washington, DC and Seattle: Center for Evaluation Innovation and FSG Social Impact Consultants.

  • The authors recommend the use of developmental, formative, and summative evaluation techniques to assess the adaptive nature of social change.

Guide to Evaluating Collective Impact Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Preskill, H., Parkhurst, M., & Juster, J. (2014) Collective Impact Forum.

  • The three-part series discusses distinct growth stages of collective organizations, appropriate evaluation techniques at each stage, and examples of evaluation questions, indicators, and outcomes.

Lost in Translation Kloos, K., & Papi, D. (2014). Stanford Social Innovation Review12(3), 59-60.

  • The article suggests that non-profits may want to consider using content analysis to analyze their website and more qualitative analyses to monitor the overall success of the organization.



Collective Impact – Backbone Organizations Resources

Collective-Impact-Backbone-Toolkit  Collective Impact Forum (2014).

  • The toolkit provides information about critical roles, procedures, descriptions, and timelines for becoming a backbone organization involved in collective impact.

Making the Work of Anchor Institutions Stick: Building Coalitions and Collective Expertise Cantor, N., Englot, P., & Higgins, M. (2013). Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement17(3), 17-46.

  • The article describes Syracuse University’s efforts, as an anchor institution, to improve the surrounding neighborhood through collective impact with the community.

Understanding the Value of Backbone Organizations in Collective Impact Parts 1-4 Turner, S., Merchant, K., Kania, J., & Martin, E. (2012).

  • The four-part blog uses the Greater Cincinnati Foundation as an example to discuss their purpose, goals, indicators used, and how organizations adapt over time.