For nonprofits considering whether to launch or participate in a collective impact initiative, conducting a readiness assessment can help you think through all of the associated risks, requirements, and rewards. The allure of collective impact is that, through collaboration centered around a single community-level challenge, you can leverage shared resources and expertise to dramatically enhance desired outcomes. In this blog, we’ll examine the four indicators that your organization is prepared to take on this unique approach for doing good.
Here is SureImpact’s Collective Readiness Checklist:
1. Your organization wants to create significant, community-wide change.
Because community challenges are so multidimensional and in constant flux, it is often not feasible for a single organization to address them wholesale. The social sector has always relied on collaborative relationships with various types of community partners, organizations, and stakeholders. The collective impact approach formalizes these relationships, providing a framework for co-hacking specific challenges through big-scale collaboration, so that the community can realize massive gains in a shorter period of time than if the organizations were to each work independently on the same challenge.
2. You believe that this change can only be accomplished by pooling together a wide range of expertise that spans many sectors and industries, and by engaging organizations willing to dedicate resources to the initiative for several years.
To affect lasting change throughout your community, there are many layers and levels that need to be simultaneously addressed. From addressing public policy and legislation to meeting the critical needs of a specific population, and driving awareness and advocacy, many key players are needed to activate a complete network effect. And to achieve this requires broad and deep expertise in multiple areas, and the resolve to maintain meaningful engagement throughout the duration of developing solutions that work.
3. You have garnered the support of influential community leaders to take on this initiative, and you are in favor of having community members serve in leadership roles.
Frontline social sector teams, individuals holding political offices, community members, and others, are all equally essential in the collective impact paradigm. Community leaders are needed to acknowledge the desire of the community as a whole (e.g., taxpayers) to solve whatever particular challenge the collective impact initiative seeks to address. And community members need to be empowered to drive the creation of the solutions that meet all of their needs, to ensure cultural relevancy, and to drive awareness and early adoption of the solutions.
4. Your organization and the other organizations participating in the collective impact initiative are dedicated to taking a data-driven approach for managing change, and your organization is committed to transparency for the purpose of demonstrating your commitment to the initiative.
Making the commitment to take a data-driven approach that also requires your organization to be transparent with a number of other participating organizations is the ultimate accountability tool. It will force you to face any shortcomings head on (and early on) in the initiative. While this may seem daunting, ultimately it will serve to improve your organization’s performance, which in turn will allow you to provide even more value to your organization’s traditional stakeholders, as well as to the Collective Impact initiative.
SureImpact: A Key Component to the Centralized Infrastructure
Collective impact collaboratives typically utilize a centralized infrastructure as the backbone of the initiative. One shared resource that is a key component to this infrastructure is a centralized technology platform for collecting and storing information in a way that connects all of the participating organizations. Each individual organization within a collective impact initiative needs to have a clear picture of how its day-to-day actions are driving the outcomes of the collective impact initiative as a whole. Likewise, the collective impact initiative must report its progress to community stakeholders using agreed-upon community-wide metrics.
Whether you are working as a solo non-profit organization or as a participant in a collective impact collaborative that uses a centralized infrastructure, SureImpact allows you to collect, manage, and share data to demonstrate your social impact. By empowering all organizations in the collection, management, and sharing of information and data, SureImpact can radically accelerate the social change your community desires.
Contact us today to learn more.