Chapter 3: Common Agenda

There are a number of factors to consider when diving deeper to build a common agenda for your community issue. These include:

  • Understanding the prior history of collaboration in your community
  • Determining whether the issue is pressing
  • Understanding what data is required and who has the data relevant to the issue
  • Understanding your community context (community system)
  • Building a core group of interested individuals
  • Recruiting an influential organization to convene community conversations
  • Developing a broader community engagement strategy

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, but 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.

Key elements that are incorporated into a common agenda statement include:

  • A Description of the Problem (Informed by research)
  • Clear (ideally measurable) Goal for Change
  • A Portfolio of Strategies that focus on driving large scale change
  • A Set of Principles that guide the group’s behaviours
  • An Approach to Evaluation that frames strategy for receiving and integrating feedback

Collective Impact Tools

Each chapter's primary tools are fundamental resources designed to help grow a more complete understanding of each stage of Collective Impact. Start your journey in this chapter by reviewing each of the primary tools. Once this is complete, you can move on to the secondary and diving deeper resources to help gain a better grasp of specific elements that have been introduced.


  • TOOL | Community Vision for Change: What changes are needed to realize our community vision

    View the Tool

  • TOOL | Scoping Our Work: Think about clarifying, and reaching agreement on the scope and reach of your Collective Impact initiative

    View the Tool

  • TOOL | Common Agenda Planning Canvas: Get greater clarity about the shared issue you want to address

    View the Tool

  • WEBINAR | Scoping a Common Agenda: How to scope and build a common agenda to lay the foundation for an effective Collective Impact initiative

    View the Recording


  • ARTICLE | Developing Collective Impact Strategies: Tools and approaches designed to help with the development of Collective Impact strategies

    View the Article

  • PAPER | The Context Experts: Increase the authenticity of community engagement and eradicate tokenistic community engagement

    View the Article

  • TOOL | Co-Defining Your Dilemma: Consider the perspectives of various stakeholders to develop a meaningful question that encourages creativity and the generation of win-win solutions

    View the Tool

  • TOOL | Mapping our Ecosystem: Creating a map of your issue’s ecosystem can be a useful way to identify larger systemic issues and problems at play

    View the Tool

Diving Deeper