Phase 2 – Initiate action

Building and communicating the case for change is the focus of Phase 2.

Phase 2Key questions

The types of questions the core collaborators should ask themselves and others are:

  • What core group of people simply has to be at the table to make needle-moving change occur on this issue
  • What do we know about this issue? What data is out there to help us better understand the issue?
  • Is this issue capable of attracting resources both for direct service providers and dedicated collaborative capacity?
  • Is there a trusted, neutral, influential leader – usually an organisation – that is coordinating and facilitating the collaborative? Note: This may be your organisation.
  • How can we foster genuine community partnerships to help us understand the issue and create the necessary support for the interventions needed?

Strategy and activities

Create the 3 pre-conditions for Collective Impact

The Collective Impact articles speak about the importance of actively creating and nurturing the pre-conditions that will help the Collective Impact emerge.

1. Identify champions

Who are the people in your community who are widely respect?  Who have pulling power and gravitas?  The people who, if they are at the table, will make others will come?  Your champion might be an individual or a small group. Whichever, they must command the respect necessary to bring CEO-level cross-sector leaders together and keep them actively engaged over time.

3 pre-conditions2. Financial resources

The work of an early stage Collective Impact initiative is focused on people, engagement and infrastructure.  The types of activities are facilitation, convening, brokering and communicating with individuals, organisations, groups and the broader community.  This work needs to be funded in order to create the necessary momentum for people and organisations to remain involved.   As such, financial resources need to be mobilised to fund this work.  Ideally, for two to three years and involving at least one anchor funder

3. Urgency for change

New opportunities or crisises mobilise people.  Creating a sense of urgency around an opportunity or crisis convinces people that action must be taken now and/or that a new approach is needed.

There are some good practice learnings on how create the sense of urgency required to establish a Collective Impact initiative:

  • CLUE_Small_Area_MapThe case for change must be based on data.  This data should be as localised as possible and may require conducting local data collection.  For example, the 90 Homes for 90 Lives initiative focused on ‘rough sleepers’ in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, conducted an annual street count with local volunteers.
  • Make this data as highly visual as  possible.  Use lots of graphics and, if you can, geo-spacial data.  For example, an initiative focused on safer communities could show on maps where crime is committed against where services are located.
  • Consider creating a high-quality research report, one that can: clarify the problem in local terms, gather baseline data for your community, and create a focal point for the public launch.

Convene a cross sector leadership group

In this Phase the leadership of the initiative needs to be expanded beyond the individual initiator or core collaborators. A leadership group should be convened to drive the planning and engagement that is fundamental to the success of the initiative.

The leadership group should:

  • ledaership groupComprise of decision makers and funders relevant to the issue in the community
  • Be cross-sectoral, meaning it should have people drawn from different parts of the community such as government, business, philanthropy, nonprofits, citizens, and academia.
  • Have members that are either chief executives or trusted deputies who can take responsibility for the issue and can influence chief executives
  • Not be too unwieldy.

It is important to remember that the leadership group will evolve and change over time to reflect the traction and phases of the collaborative effort.  At this Phase, start working with the people who are willing and then bring other along.

The good, the bad and the ugly

imgres-5What works well in Phase 2 is:

  • Using data to inform work
  • A focus on building engagement
  • Funder works with you
  • Invest in incubation


What is challenging in Phase 2 is:

watch outWhat to watch out for in Phase 2 is:

When does Phase 2 end?

The end of this Phase is a subjective assessment as it will relate to the level of urgency, engagement and momentum created.  These tools will  help you assess your progress in this Phase and prepare you for the next Phase:

Remember, collaboration is cyclical not linear.

Next phase: Organise for impact