Collective Impact

Collective impact is an advanced form of collaboration which brings together different sectors for a common agenda to solve large complex problems. Complex systems change requires leadership from various partners: government leaders, funding agencies, schools, hospitals, the private sector, the not-for-profit sector, community organizers and more. This is where collective impact comes into play – as a method to engage partners from different sectors to solve the complex social problems of the day. 

Collective impact is built upon five interconnected components to produce strong alignment and lead to large scale results:

  • Common agenda – All participants share a vision for change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed-upon actions;

  • Shared measurement – All participating organizations agree on the ways success will be measured and reported, with a short list of common indicators identified and used for learning and improvement;

  • Mutually reinforcing activities – A diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinate a set of differentiated activities through a mutually reinforcing plan of action;

  • Continuous communication – All players engage in frequent, structured and open communication to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation; and

  • Backbone support – An independent, funded staff dedicated to the initiative provides ongoing support by guiding the initiative’s vision and strategy, supporting aligned activities, establishing shared measurement practices, building public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing resources.

To Learn more about Collective Impact read our Collective Impact At a Glance resource in English or French

Featured Resources

Getting Started

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Empathy Map

By Tamarack Institute

This tool helps you consider the perspectives of those who your project serves or affects. It will help your team consider the many forces around your users that affect their experiences.

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Stakeholder Engagement Wheel

By Tamarack Institute

This tool will help guide a conversation with others as to what their desired level of involvement is in the opportunities and work of your group going forward.

Taking It Further

Collective Impact Year One Action Plan

Collective Impact Year One Action Plan Framework

By Tamarack Institute

This framework provides you with an in depth look at what it is that you are trying to work on.  The tool is comprised of questions that will help you to form your collective Impact initiative.  You will use this framework to build your leadership team and to create an action plan.  

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Planning Your Backbone Support

By Tamarack Institute

This tool helps provide members with an overview of the key framework, decisions, and progress that has been made on Collective Impact initiatives.

Communities of Practice

Collective Impact Practitioner

Collective Impact Community of Practice

The aim of this Collective Impact Community of Practice (CoP) is to bring together committed individuals who have a desire to work collaboratively to learn, share and build the capacity of its members.

Image on the left by Elayne Greeley

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Learn about Tamarack's upcoming learning calendar

Interested in expanding your knowledge and capacity to tackle the community issues you're facing? Tamarack hosts a number of in-person workshops as well as free online webinars and communities of practice to help you meet this challenge.

Explore upcoming opportunities