Skip to main content

Collective Impact

What is Collective Impact?

Collective impact occurs when organizations from different sectors agree to solve a specific social problem using a common agenda, aligning their efforts, and using common measures of success. Learn more > 

The Evolution of Collective Impact

FSG’s interest in collective impact started with our 2009 report Breakthroughs in Shared Measurement, which identified how multiple organizations could create uniform ways of measuring their progress toward a common goal.

The overwhelming interest in this report pointed to the potential for a more structured form of collaboration to accelerate the pace of social change, and we began to look for evidence of this in our work with clients.

A few years later, our work with a new foundation in Cincinnati led us to spend time with Strive, an organization that had improved cradle-to-career student success by creating a highly structured process that effectively united the efforts of more than 300 nonprofit, business, government, and foundation leaders.

Through researching Strive and other collaborations making progress at scale, including the Elizabeth River Project and Shape Up Somerville, we identified five key elements that enabled them to succeed where so many other collaborations had failed. Those elements became the core of our 2011 article “Collective Impact,” which also drew from FSG’s work on consulting engagements with collaborative efforts such as: Mars Cocoa, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Marine Fisheries program, and The Road Map Project.

The article struck a deep chord for many, giving a common language and framework to people all over the world who wanted to do, or were already doing, collaborative cross-sector work for social change. In 2013, in partnership with The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and with many other partners and funders, we created the Collective Impact Forum to provide the resources and relationships for those advancing the practice of collective impact.

Getting Started with Collective Impact

How FSG can help