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Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work

Fay Hanleybrown, John Kania, Mark Kramer

What does a global effort to reduce malnutrition have in common with a program to reduce teenage substance abuse in a small rural county? This follow up to FSG’s original 2011 Stanford Social Innovation Review article (which elicited hundreds of responses from around the world including from the White House), explores new examples of collective impact initiatives and provides more guidance for those who seek to initiate and lead collective impact initiatives. This article appeared on, January 2012 and is also available in Español and Français.





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Daniela Barone Soares
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Congratulations to FSG for raising awareness of a new way of working that has the power to multiply the impact we and many other organisations are able to have on some of the really hard-to-crack social problems.

In our venture philanthropy work here in the UK, we are helping the organisations in our portfolio to be able to do three things: scale up, link up and speak up. (More about this is detailed in research from London Business School

As the authors of Channeling Change so wisely point out, learning to "link up" often requires the development of new skills and ways of working for organisations aspiring to deep collective impact. We will be sharing this very useful "how to" of collective impact work with the organisations we support and with our grantmaking partners, to try to become even more effective in this crucial area.
Daniela Soares, CEO, Impetus Trus
Javier Hernandez
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Hi Daniela,

We're thrilled you are sharing the new article with the many organizations Impetus Trust works with. As you remind us, "linking up" is crucial for this type of work and does require a new set of skills, in which Venture Philanthropy can play an important role! We look forward to seeing the cross-work of Venture Philanthropy and Collective Impact.

Stephanie Lepp
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Awesome article.

Re the difficulty of creating shared measurement systems due to competing stakeholder priorities and fears of being judged as underperforming: it's clear redundancies/inefficiencies among mission-based orgs come into sharp relief within the context of collective impact efforts. Has FSG ever helped partering orgs in a collective impact initiative merge/acquire one another/dissolve? (Or are there cases of this?) If executed sensitively (with 'softer' dimensions), seems like collective impact could be a ripe context for addressing wheel-reinvention?

Also, re the fact that social change is long-term though 'early wins' happen along the way (e.g. increase in College Bound applicants): could FSG consider these early wins - and even the cross-sectoral collaborations that enable them - part of the change itself, especially given that social change is a process? Could be valuable encouragement for participants and funders.
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