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Welcome to The Tamarack Collective Impact Toolkit!

Within this toolkit, you can find a detailed list of Collective Impact tools, articles, webinars, videos, and resources curated by Tamarack Institute for member communities and key partners. The Toolkit is organized into eight chapters, following the key components of the Collective Impact framework. We have broken down the resources provided into Primary, Secondary and Diving Deeper sections, allowing you to review the resources as you see fit.


Review the chapter outlines below, and click on a chapter or the top menu bar to start reading. 


Chapter 1: What is Collective Impact?

Collective Impact is a disciplined, cross-sector approach to solving complex issues on a large scale. First defined by John Kania and Mark Kramer of FSG: Social Impact Consultants in an article published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in the Winter of 2011, it includes five conditions and three pre-conditions, which when applied in a comprehensive way, have demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in addressing a broad range of issues. 


Chapter 2: Assessing Readiness

There are three pre-conditions of Collective Impact: Influential Champions; Urgency of Issue; and Adequate Resources. Together, these 3 pre-conditions identify three community elements that determine the success of a Collective Impact effort. A good assessment of these conditions enables groups to undertake the groundwork needed to build awareness, and ultimately momentum, around its issue. 


Chapter 3: Common Agenda

Beyond a shared vision, a common agenda includes not only a definition of a shared issue that partners across multiple sectors intend to address together, it also includes the partners’ shared understanding of that issue; and their agreed-upon approach for how best to address it.  Many inspiring common agendas have an aspirational quality in how they are ultimately articulated. 


Chapter 4: Shared Measurement

A rigorous commitment to identify and track your progress against an agreed upon set of shared measures is one of the defining features that distinguishes Collective Impact from other forms of collaboration.  Beyond agreement on some small number of population-level indicators that your Collective Impact effort intends to impact, the condition of shared measurement also implies that the Collective Impact initiative has established systems for gathering and analyzing data regularly. 


Chapter 5: Mutually Reinforcing Activities

Mutually reinforcing activities are the program and services that are delivered which contribute to achieving the intended impact of your Collective Impact effort.  This Collective Impact condition includes: agreement on key outcomes; identifying opportunities for orchestration and specialization in the programs and services offered; and, considering how complementary programs and activities might sometimes “join up” - strategies to achieve outcomes. 


Chapter 6: Continuous Communication

Continuous communication includes the need to establish both formal and informal mechanisms for keeping people informed about the progress and key milestones of a Collective Impact effort. Beyond defining the appropriate communication pathways and vehicles, this condition also encompasses the need to ensure that the work of the Collective Impact initiative is communicated openly to diverse audiences, and therefore, utilizes a range of communication styles. 


Chapter 7: Backbone

An in-depth study by FSG of successful backbones, revealed that: their value is unmistakable; they share strengths in guiding vision and strategy and supporting aligned activities; they shift focus over time; they need ongoing assistance with data; they build public will, and Backbones help to advance policy.


Chapter 8: Bringing It All Together

It is time to put it all together into an action plan. This section provides a framework for Collective Impact implementation. The work generated in the tool will be used to synthesize a clear Collective Impact implementation action plan.