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AustraliaFor most Australians life is good. By a measure of average wealth, we’re among the wealthiest in the world. Our cities regularly top global lists for livability, and our nation has recently been named as one of the happiest places to live on the planet. But while most Australians enjoy a high standard of living by international standards, many are facing serious social and economic problems that are proving tough to resolve, and in many cases becoming worse.

Once the domain of government or not-for-profits, it has become clear that the complex nature of many of these issues means that no single program or organisation, however innovative, influential, well managed or well funded, can successfully address them singlehandedly. In fact, if we are to make the large-scale societal change required to tackle these big challenges, then we need to adopt collaborative, community-driven, data-based approaches and ensure better cross-sector coordination, rather than rely on the usual isolated intervention of individual organisations.

Making large-scale change through Collective Impact

The Collective Impact framework, introduced by John Kania and Mark Kramer in 2011, provides such an approach – one that is innovative, and structured to make collaboration work effectively across government, business, philanthropy, not-for-profits and community. Implementation of the Collective Impact framework has been shown to mobilise both the financial and human assets and resources within a community, and align them to achieve significant and lasting change. Over the last three years Collective Impact has grown from an emerging practice in the United States into a global movement. With the implementation of the Collective Impact framework, communities around the world are experiencing significant and measurable improvements with some of their biggest challenges, where previously – despite decades of funding and a great deal of program level activity – they were seeing very little change.

Collective Impact is not just a fancy name for collaboration, but represents a fundamentally different, more disciplined, and higher performing approach to achieving large-scale social impact. – John Kania & Mark Kramer

the search logo

Announcing The Search

Collaboration for Impact, a joint venture of the Centre for Social Impact and Social Leadership Australia has launched a new initiative to support communities across Australia trying to solve society’s biggest challenges.

The Search is a first of its kind national program to help communities come together and successfully address complex social issues like poverty, alcohol related violence, homelessness, youth unemployment and childhood obesity through the adoption of the socially innovative Collective Impact framework.


With The Search, Collaboration for Impact are looking to find one community from across the country to receive up to $1 million of resources and support in implementing the Collective Impact framework. The selected community will be chosen from ten finalists after a staged nine month capacity building application process.

This community will act as a ‘lighthouse’ example for future Collective Impact initiatives, and we believe will help catalyse a transformation in the way that Australian communities work together to effectively solve our toughest social, environmental and economic challenges.

Applicants will be offered support through:

  1. membership to online learning platform www.collaborationforimpact.com providing access to the full resources and network of the Collaboration for Impact community;
  2. a monthly webinar;
  3. a weekly Question and Answer service; and
  4. a discounted rate to the Collective Impact 2014 Conference in Melbourne, 22-23 July 2014.

Additionally, short-listed communities will receive up to $5000 worth of support to significantly advance their Collective Impact initiative for their application. An eminent group of cross-sector judges from around the world will support The Search process and select the community to receive the support.

All applicants need to submit an Expression of Interest online.

Submissions are open until Wednesday 17 September 2014 at 5pm AEST.

The Judging Panel will review all received Expressions of Interest and select a shortlist of up to 10 communities that demonstrate high levels of readiness. The shortlisted communities will be announced on 16 October 2014.

Shortlisted communities will prepare their final applications by 11 February 2015. The Judging Panel will review these applications and select the community to receive the pool of resources and support. The selected community will be announced on 11 March 2015.

To find our more or to submit an Expressions of Interest go to www.collaborationforimpact.com/the-search

The Search offers a rare opportunity for organisations working to address complex social, environmental and economic issues to scale their impact, leverage their funding and drive further alignment of effort. – Kerry Graham, Collaboration for Impact

Collective Impact is a framework to tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. It is an innovative and structured approach to making collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organisations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change.

Service-MappingThe Collective Impact approach is premised on the belief that no single policy, government department, organisation or program can tackle or solve the increasingly complex social problems we face as a society. The approach calls for multiple organisations or entities from different sectors to abandon their own agenda in favour of a common agenda, shared measurement and alignment of effort. Unlike collaboration or partnership, Collective Impact initiatives have centralised infrastructure – known as a backbone organisation – with dedicated staff whose role is to help participating organisations shift from acting alone to acting in concert.

John Kania & Mark Kramer first wrote about collective impact in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011 and identified five key elements:

  1. All participants have a common agenda for change including a shared understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.cib2
  2. Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all the participants ensures shared measurement for alignment and accountability.
  3. A plan of action that outlines and coordinates mutually reinforcing activities for each participant.
  4. Open and continuous communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.
  5. A backbone organisation(s) with staff and specific set of skills to serve the entire initiative and coordinate participating organisations and agencies.

Read more about the Collective Impact framework at http://www.collaborationforimpact.com/

“… we believe that there is no other way society will achieve large-scale progress against the urgent and complex problems of our time, unless a collective impact approach becomes the accepted way of doing business.” – John Kania & Mark Kramer

The Search had been brought together by Collaboration for Impact, a Catalysing Group comprising pioneering institutions Centre for Social Impact, Westpac Foundation, Result Leadership Group USA, Social Solutions Group,  Blackbaud PacificSocial Ventures Australia, Australian Communities Foundation and Results Leadership Group Australia will provide a pool of funding and support valued at $416,000. The Search Governance Group and others will help build the pool of resources and support throughout The Search process.

The Search also has the support of United Way Australia, Ten20 Foundation, Community Council of Australia, Twyfords, FSG (USA), Jeff Whalan Learning Group, The Tamarack Institute (Canada), Australia Post, Ashurst and Doing Something Good.

Collaboration for Impact invites communities experiencing complex social problems to develop a Collective Impact approach for their issue and submit an Expression of Interest. Cross-sector groups ready to work together to address social issues in their region are encouraged to apply.

Learn more about Collective Impact

Collective Impact 2014 Conference Melbourne – 22-23 July 2014

Interested communities who are in the early stages of learning about Collective Impact are encouraged to send a representative to the Collective Impact 2014 Conference in Melbourne on 22-23 July. Communities applying for The Search will receive a discounted rate to register for the conference. Find out more and register here.

Collaboratory Melbourne Meetup – 25 August 2014 (evening)

Join Collaboration for Impact’s Dawn O’Neil AM, Twyford’s Max Hardy and Go Goldfield’s Sharon Fraser for the August Collaboratory Melbourne Meetup – Collective Impact: Could this change everything? Find out more and register here.

Systemic change ultimately depends on a sustained campaign to increase the capacity and coordination of an entire field. – John Kania & Mark Kramer