As faculty have begun to brainstorm about projects to submit to the National Science Foundation’s INCLUDES solicitation, questions have arisen about what is meant by the term “Collective Impact.”
EDIT: NSF has posted a webinar recording. Collective Impact is explained in the second presentation.
Collective Impact comes out of the world of philanthropy, where foundations and wealthy donors have become increasingly concerned about using their money strategically. Strategic Philanthropy is focused on measurable and scalable outcomes. Many philanthropists are requiring collaboration in order to assure that their dollars achieve maximum impact. The idea is that complex social problems cannot be solved by a single organization or even a single sector (nonprofit, industry, government, higher education) alone. Funders see themselves as catalysts for achieving ambitious and sustainable change. This appears to be the first time that the National Science Foundation has explicitly used the term in a solicitation, though it has become popular in other government agencies.
The term “Collective Impact” was popularized by the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011 and has become widely accepted in philanthropic circles. While NSF does not require preliminary proposals to employ a Collective Impact approach, applicants will who become familiar with the vocabulary and accepted frameworks of CI will likely be more successful. [Read more…]