Deconstructing a Buzzword: A Look at “Collective Impact”

As the collective impact model grows in popularity across the United States, an increasing number of organizations and individuals are making sure that they have the definition straight.

“The term refers to working across government agencies, nonprofit social-service organizations, community organizations and private companies,” said Jeffery Henig, professor of political science and education at Teachers College of Columbia University. Henig is one of five authors who contributed to the report “Collective Impact and the New Generation of Cross-Sector Collaborations for Education.”

The recent idea of collective impact grew out of an era of reduced federal funding, Henig said. Cross-sector collaborations are sometimes bigger than cities themselves, when projects are county-wide, for example. They are more likely to be in older cities that previously had federally funded urban programs, according to Henig.

The main difference between collective impact efforts today and those that took place 50 years ago is the use of data, Henig said.

Read the entire article here.