The Power of Working Together
As a community, we have a responsibility to make sure all children in Alamance County are given the opportunity to thrive, and that means making a collective investment in all of our children’s development . “Collective impact” is an idea formally articulated by Stanford University researchers in 2011, but its core idea is as old as history. Collective impact is the commitment of a group of individuals or organizations to work together on common goals. By formally collaborating toward specific goals, we can achieve more than the sum of our individual efforts.
The collective impact approach has been adopted in communities across North America to tackle complex problems that no one organization can solve on its own: poverty reduction, education, health care, homelessness and more.
Collective impact initiatives are characterized by five key attributes:
– A common agenda. All of the participating organizations have a shared vision of the community change/improvement they’re trying to achieve.
– Developing shared measurement. The organizations have agreed how they will measure their progress and have a short list of indicators they all use.
– Mutually reinforcing activities. The collective impact initiative involves a diverse set of organizations, usually across different sectors (education, health, government, etc.) that work on different, but coordinated activities as part of an overall action plan.
– Continuous communication. The various stakeholders involved communicate often over a long period of time, allowing them to build trust with each other, share knowledge and learning, and coordinate their activities.
– Backbone organization. Finally, to facilitate all of the above, successful collective impact efforts have a backbone organization that convenes, coordinates and supports all of the organizations involved.
Impact Alamance serves as a convener to bring the community together in a countywide effort to strengthen education and build a healthier community.