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On our blog, Collective Impact Forum staff, partners, and guest contributors share the latest learning, innovations, and stories from the field.

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  • New Toolkit for Community Engagement

    Paul Schmitz

    March 26, 2017

    Almost every collective impact effort I have visited has struggled with community engagement at some level. During the past few years, I have learned a great deal from projects I’ve visited, while also drawing on my experience doing community building for more than two decades through Public Allies and The Asset-Based Community Development Institute.
  • No Switzerland: Why “Neutrality” May Not Be the Right Way to Describe Backbone Leaders

    Chris Carlson

    July 22, 2016

    The notion of “neutrality” is sometimes used to describe one of the defining features of backbone leaders in collective impact, with phrases such as “perceived neutrality” or “neutral conveners” often coming up when describing the role. However, as the collective impact approach continues to reach a broader audience, some have astutely pointed out shortcomings of the word “neutrality” in describing the ideal role of backbone leaders.
  • Getting Back to the Purpose of Collective Impact

    Tynesia Boyea-Robinson

    May 23, 2016

    My Aunt Janice’s biscuits are legendary. They are fluffy, buttery and light. Whenever we visit her in Alabama, we stop by to gorge ourselves on these delectable treats. I recently had a hankering for the biscuits so I asked for the recipe. While I’m not a huge fan of cooking, I don’t mind baking occasionally. The recipe only has four ingredients- flour, buttermilk, shortening, and butter. Simple, right?
  • Advancing the Practice of Collective Impact

    John Kania

    May 4, 2016

    We appreciate Tom Wolff’s critique of collective impact and the insights he shares in his recent essay. Wolff’s years of experience in the field, and the perspectives he offers, are a valuable contribution to the arena of collective, collaborative change. We’re grateful that he’s agreed to re-post his essay alongside our response in order to create what we hope will be a productive conversation. Since writing the original article on collective impact in 2011, we and others have written about many of the dimensions that Wolff articulates in his published editorial in the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, a peer-reviewed professional journal. In particular, we agree with Wolff’s aspirations for how collective impact can lead to better results, particularly for those whom collaborative efforts seek to serve. We share his eloquently expressed hope for "improved applications of Collective Impact” to emerge:"
  • Collective Impact Principles of Practice: Putting Collective Impact into Action

    Sheri Brady

    April 18, 2016

    We have been inspired watching the field of collective impact progress over the past five years, as thousands of practitioners, funders, and policymakers around the world employ the approach to help solve complex social problems at a large scale. The field’s understanding of what it takes to put the collective impact approach into practice continues to evolve through the contributions of many who are undertaking the deep work of collaborative social change, and their successes build on decades of work around effective cross-sector collaboration.
  • 2015's Most Popular Forum Blogs and Resources

    Collective Impact Forum

    December 22, 2015

    The New Year is a great time for reflection and often, a much needed opportunity for rejuvenation. (You can find some excellent self-care recommendations over at Nonprofit with Balls. We’re big fans of the “no email during the holidays” rule.) For our last blog of the year, we’re excited to share the Collective Impact Forum’s most popular reads and resources for 2015.
  • Vu Le is Right* About Equity and Collective Impact

    Paul Schmitz

    December 14, 2015

    Vu Le is an important voice in the nonprofit sector. He speaks truth to power and calls out the elephants in our collective room. Many critics approach their fields with righteousness; Vu approaches with refreshing humility as one struggling with these questions and willing to be wrong. On November 30th, he posted “Why Communities of Color Are Getting Frustrated with Collective Impact.” He may find it surprising that The Collective Impact Forum not only welcomes his critique, but is broadcasting it as an important contribution to our field. I am writing to share some thoughts about why his essay is so important. I hope others will also join this discussion.
  • Why Communities of Color are Getting Frustrated with Collective Impact

    Vu Le

    December 1, 2015

    A while ago I wrote “Collective Impact: Resistance is Futile,” detailing the frustrations of CI and comparing it to The Borg on Star Trek. “Controlled by a hive mind that neutralizes any sort of individualism, and comprising billions of annexed individuals, [The Borg is] strong and terrifying, like an army of zombie robots, each with one eye that has a laser beam.” That was my first impression of collective impact, at least the way it’s being playing out in Seattle.

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