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. Collective Impact has garnered rapid uptake, in part due to the clear and elegant way that Kania and Kramer describe its collaborative, multi-sector approach. Collective Impact is also very much an evolving body of practice whose effectiveness is being accelerated as the learning and experience of the growing number of practitioners who are now implementing it are sharing their insights and experiences.

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.


Secondary resources include articles, videos and websites that help you further your knowledge of the chapter's topic. Use these resources for any questions you may have, or for finding resources that will assist you in your collective impact journey.

Diving Deeper

Should you wish to explore this stage of Collective Impact further, you can find a few additional resources within the diving deeper section. This will include external papers and tools that can grow your expertise to new heights. 

  • ARTICLE | Collective Impact
    This article introduces the concept of Collective Impact.
  • PAPER | Collective Impact 3.0
    Mark Cabaj and Liz Weaver put forward fresh thinking around five ways to build the next iteration of the Collective Impact Framework with their publication Collective Impact 3.0 - An Evolving Framework for Community Change.
  • TOOL | Compendium of Collective Impact Resources: The Five Phases
    This Compendium of Collective Impact resources will help you build your capacity to drive a Collective Impact initiative at each phase, and identify key resources and questions throughout the lifecycle of your Collective Impact effort.