The Atlanta Women’s Foundation’s goal is to support organizations that improve the lives of economically vulnerable women and girls in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. One of the ways we accomplish this is through grantmaking. In order to achieve the greatest impact with the funds AWF invests in the community, we have incorporated a Collective Impact Model into our grantmaking.
A Collective Impact Model occurs when a group of actors from different sectors commit to a common agenda for solving a complex social or environmental problem. More than simply a new way of collaborating, collective impact is a structured approach to problem solving that includes five core conditions:
All participants have a shared vision for change, including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.
Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation. Host learning convenings to focus on key topics as a means for developing deeper insights and understandings of challenging content areas, across the community. These might include clients, systems leaders, subject matter experts, organization development professionals and/or government officials.
SHARED MEASUREMENT SYSTEM
Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures that efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable. The cohort develops a performance measurement system that tracks a set of early performance indicators and incorporates data from the initiative’s shared measurement system.
SHARED REINFORCING ACTIVITIES
Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures that efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable. Data collected through a shared measurement system can contribute to a variety of evaluation efforts. For example, quantitative data from the shared measurement system can complement qualitative data collected from interviews, focus groups, and surveys.
Creating and managing collective impact requires dedicated staff with specific skills to coordinate participating organizations and agencies. The backbone function provides periodic and systematic assessments of progress attained by the various working groups and then synthesizes the results.
This collective impact model involves a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement system, and continuous communication among the cohort of grantees that provide the services. The goal of the collective impact approach is to create large scale community change. AWF’s approach as a central connection for nonprofits has proven to be best practice and reliable in achieving exponential community impact.
To learn about the success of implementing the Collective Impact Model for our Promoting Women’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Project, click here.