The Five Pillars of "Collective Impact"

United Way together with our partners involved in Impact Monterey County are working together to create community-wide social change. In order to effect this change, we plan to use a framework known as Collective Impact (CI).
Collective Impact (CI) is the idea that together organizations can create larger, longer-lasting social change if they work in a focused and structured way. Because it can be difficult for different organizations to work cooperatively, five pillars for CI success have been created. These pillars are from research on successful CI organizations by John Kania and Mark Kramer of the San Francisco Bay Area based consulting firm of FSG. The five pillars are:
1. Common Agenda
2. Shared Measurement Systems
3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities
4. Continuous Communication
5. Backbone Support Organizations
A common agenda is needed to provide a common vision and goals for the organizations to cooperate. A shared measurement system is to provide feedback for all involved. It helps them stay united. It also helps provide a common language for everyone. Mutually reinforcing activities allow each organization to work towards their strengths. It also keeps them working in a unified way towards the common goals. Continuous communication is important as it maintains the unified vision. It also allows trust to be built between the organizations. Finally, a backbone support is needed for coordination between all of the separate parts.1
Kania and Kramer found these five pillars when looking at Strive of Cincinnati. Strive is a partnership between non-profits, public, and private organizations. Started in 2006, the Strive Partnership was the result of a report that “noted that Ohio and Kentucky were lagging behind other states in college attainment rates.”2  The Partnership developed a “Cradle to Career” Initiative focused on providing help for students from pre-Kindergarten through College. The success of the initial Strive Partnership has grown into the Strive Network. The Strive Network now has programs throughout the nation.
Following this model, Impact Monterey County (IMC) is in the process of creating a common agenda. Before a common agenda for Collective Impact can be set, however, we need to discover what our community needs. To do this IMC is engaging in a county-wide Community Discussion with people of all ages. The Community Discussion is in two parts. The first is a survey. The second way is by joining a Community Conversation. You can find out more about the Community conversation by following this link.
Impact Monterey County hopes that by incorporating the Five Pillars of Collective Impact into its work it will be able to achieve long-lasting change that will make Monterey County the nest possible place for us all to live.
For more information about Collective Impact, please go to Impact Monterey County's Suggested Reading page.

  1John Kania and Mark Kramer, “Collective Impact,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2011, http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/collective_impact.