Isolated or Collective Impact?

Imagine a city that worked together! Sounds simple, but actually working together requires more than good sentiment. No one argues against collaboration. We love to talk the talk of empowerment. But few people actually can do it. The solution for creating change cannot be doing more and better of the current things we are doing. The idea here is that if poverty in our city has increased double digits over the last 10 years then perhaps we need a different approach. There are many silos and reactive approaches to tackling issues. We imagine a time when organizations worked with the community to co-create the solutions.

Isolated Approach:

- Nonprofits work separately and compete to produce independent impact.

- Large-scale change is assumed to depend on scaling a single organization. If we grow our programs we will create change.

Collective Approach:

- Progress depends on working together toward the same goal and measuring the same things.

- Large-scale impact depends on increasing cross-sector alignment and learning among many organizations.

Imagine if organizations and leaders thought about how their programs, budgets, and initiatives could work in tandem with other organizations initiatives. Imagine moving beyond partnering through simple programs to partnering on solving the bigger issues of poverty. Imagine moving from informing the community of our plans and solutions to partnering with stakeholders in each aspect of the development and implementation process.

Isolated impact helps us solve many challenges but collective impact can help us solve the big challenges by aligning multiple efforts around a shared vision for change.