Laying the Groundwork for Collective Impact: A Working Paper

Early-Stage Advice for Multisector Collaborations

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

September 22, 2014


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. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Multisector collaboratives are difficult to foster, yet very much necessary

Multisector collective-impact collaboratives are urgently needed in communities across the country to improve systems and services that better meet the needs of children and families. Pulling together public and nonprofit systems and services to work collectively is a complicated task that requires smart up-front planning and decision making, and an ability to adjust course throughout the initiative.

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