This paper offers detailed suggestions for leaders of multisector initiatives working to generate collective impact on local community issues. It focuses on the critical early phases of the work and tackling issues such as poverty, education and workforce preparation. Topics such as cultivating leaders, creating a “backbone” organization, using data, engaging the community and promoting equitable opportunity are discussed. This paper will be of interest to funders, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and civic leaders interested in improving their communities.
Multisector collaboratives are difficult to foster, yet very much necessary
Findings & Stats
Upping the Ante
Achieving ambitious results requires expanding the most effective programs — taking them from “good to great” — while filling gaps with the most proven, evidence-based practices.
Mistakes are inevitable in the process of community collaboration. but acknowledging them and moving forward takes leadership .
Staff coming from other organizations must be full-time and clearly delegated to work on the project under collaborative leadership.
Although public-partner agency relationships take time and connections to form, they are absolutely required for large-scale community change.
To enhance success, make sure the administrative backbone function of the collaborative is independent from any one set of partners.
Statements & Quotations
Multisector, collective impact collaborations for results hold great promise for improving the lives of children and families, as well as communities. They hold the ability to mobilize local leaders, use data, set goals, address disparities, encourage continuous improvement and build more effective public and nonprofit systems.
In many respects, however, these new forms of collaboration for results are deeply countercultural. They run up against our institutional fragmentation, go-it-alone entrepreneurs, the allure of silver bullets and a persistent focus on the short term. Overcoming these obstacles makes the job of collective impact incredibly challenging.
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