In March 2022, the Collective Impact Forum conducted a survey called “Resources to Advance Equity Practice.” The purpose of this survey was to learn more about how we can best support people to keep equity* at the center of their collective impact work, in service of greater equity and justice in communities. We will use the survey data as we build out our content over the coming months by identifying relevant partners, tools, and resources so that our work aligns with the areas of greatest interest in our network.
Who responded to the survey?
- This survey was shared with all individuals that receive Collective Impact Forum emails, and we received 228 responses
- Folks on backbone teams were the largest group of respondents, as with other CI Forum programming. Other respondents included steering committee members, consultants / TA providers, and other practitioners
- Respondents represented 46 U.S. states and 8 countries.
- Respondents largely reflected the racial and gender demographic of CI Forum program participants overall: White/European (47%); Hispanic or Latinx (14%); Black or African American (14%); Asian (10%) Native American or Indigenous Peoples (6%); Middle Eastern or North African (4%), Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (2%), and other (1%) – individuals could select all that apply.
- We analyzed the data based on race/ethnicity but did not find significant differences in patterns by race that differed from the overall data.
- People self-reported being further along in their personal equity work than the progress of their collaborative in centering equity
For what topics were respondents most interested in gaining greater support to advance equity in their work?
Of the 16 equity-related topics we shared, people could pick up to 5 topics of interest. The topics identified as highest priority by respondents were:
- Using data to support equity work (e.g., disaggregating data, using data to identify disparities, pairing quantitative and qualitative data)
- Shifting mental models, narrative, and culture to advance equity
- Shifting and sharing power amongst participants in your collaborative
- Deepening trust and strengthening relationships amongst people from different identities and positions of power
- Holistically incorporating a focus on equity into the design and implementation of a new collective impact initiative
- Developing targeted strategies to improve outcomes for marginalized populations
People’s responses varied by the maturity of their collective impact effort
Respondents were asked to identify the stage of their collective impact effort, along a spectrum of Not Yet Initiated (11%); Early Stages (40%); Mid-Stages (37%); and Late Stages (12%).
- “Deepening trust and strengthening relationships amongst people from different identities (e.g., races, genders) and positions of power” was the most popular topic for efforts not yet initiated, AND for those that were in the late stages of their work. This was a particularly interesting finding – the newest and most mature efforts both recognize a need to focus on trust and relationships.
- “Using data to support equity work” was the most common response amongst folks early and mid-way into implementation.
- “Shifting and sharing power amongst participants in the collaborative” was also in the top three areas of interest amongst folks early and mid-way into implementation.
People’s responses also varied by the initiative’s stage of advancing equity practice.
Respondents were asked to identify the stage of their collective impact effort, along a spectrum of Not yet discussing equity (2%); Just beginning to discuss equity (19%); Developing a plan for equity (23%); In the early stages of equity plan implementation (32%); Deep into equity plan implementation, making adjustments (17%); and Beginning to see results from equity plan implementation (4%).
- “Using data to support equity work” was in the top three topics of greatest interest for all efforts, except those furthest along implementing equity in their collective’s work.
- Efforts that were deep into equity plan implementation, and those beginning to see results from equity plan implementation (the two further along in implementing equity practice) selected “Developing targeted strategies to improve outcomes for marginalized populations” in their top three.
- “Shifting mental models, narrative, and culture to advance equity” was the most commonly selected choice amongst those that were just beginning to discuss equity and those in the early stages of equity plan implementation.
What type of support do people want?
(Number in parenthesis indicators the % somewhat or very interested).
- When asked about the type of support people desired, most respondents are very interested in accessing the free offerings listed: downloading practical tools (92%), engaging in webinars (80%), and listening to podcasts (64%).
- The offerings that could be provided for a fee – engaging in a facilitator-led community of practice (65%), attending conferences or workshops (57%), and receiving customized consulting / technical assistance (25%) – were more mixed in their popularity.
- In addition, people shared that they would really value case studies and examples of this work being done well in other initiatives.
We thank you for your input and look forward to supporting these needs in the coming months.
* In introducing the survey, we explained that the survey asks about equity broadly. As in the Collective Impact Forum’s other work, we use a definition of equity from Urban Strategies Council: “Equity is fairness and justice achieved through systematically assessing disparities in opportunities, outcomes, and representation and redressing [those] disparities through targeted action.”
We encourage practitioners to examine local data and listen to the experiences of people in their community to understand which populations are most systematically left behind, and then to work with marginalized populations to adapt the strategies shared here to improve their lives. In the United States, this analysis often leads to a focus on racial equity, but the tools, analysis, principles, and approaches can be applied to other areas of marginalization—including disability, sexual orientation, gender, class, caste, ethnicity, religion, and more.