From the moment the original article on collective impact was published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011, we at FSG have been excited and humbled to watch the concept gain momentum in the social sector as a disciplined approach to solving large-scale social problems. Two years later, we’ve had subsequent collective impact articles downloaded thousands of times, hosted multiple conferences with participants from around the world, and conducted trainings on the topic with organizations around the globe. We have also been lucky to partner with and support the launch of more than 25 collective impact initiatives worldwide, and to connect with organizations that are also supporting the growth of the collective impact movement.
This momentum demonstrates that collective impact has become a call to action for many practitioners and funders looking to achieve long-term, systemic change at scale across a range of issue areas. However, given that collective impact is a very specific approach to pursuing multi-actor systemic change, it requires a unique form of structured collaboration. Our research and experience to date has shown that many practitioners do not have the practical tools, resources, and connections to peers that they need to do this work, and have a hard time finding the resources that do exist. More significantly, there is no “one-stop shop” for sharing and accessing collective impact resources from organizations across the field, or means for practitioners across the globe to collaborate, share lessons learned, and build communities of practice.
To support practitioners and funders in the effective use of the collective impact approach, and to understand how working in collective impact is different from other forms of collaboration, FSG has partnered with the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions to develop the Collective Impact Forum. The Collective Impact Forum will have a digital forum website, which will serve as a curated site for resources and dialogue about collective impact research, and will also support communities of practice that will enable practitioners and funders of collective impact to increase their effectiveness in doing this work.
We are delighted to be joined in this effort by an initial group of other thought leaders and organizations actively supporting the growth of the collective impact movement, including Community Solutions, the Forum for Youth Investment, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Grantmakers for Education, the Tamarack Institute, and United Way Worldwide. We eagerly anticipate the discussions to come and look forward to supporting and learning with the field through this work!
Are you excited about the Collective Impact Forum? Sign up to be notified when the Collective Impact Forum online community and resource center launch in early 2014.