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Defining collective impact



The definition of collective impact is “the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem at scale.”  In our view, the five conditions of collective impact outlined in the initial 2011 Stanford Social Innovation Review article - Common Agenda, Shared Measurement, Mutually Reinforcing Activities, Continuous Communication, and Backbone Support – still hold.

In addition to these core conditions, the field’s practice of collective impact is advancing to recognise that there are other aspects of the work that are critical to achieving impact using the collective impact approach. While we haven’t amended the initial five conditions, we encourage collective impact practitioners to consider:

1. Ensuring that community members (residents, individuals with lived experience) are authentically engaged in the conception, design, governance, and implementation of the collective impact process.

2. Bringing an equity lens to collective impact work – to ensure that inequality along race, class, gender and culture lines is tackled head on through a collective impact…

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