This Nonprofit Quarterly article takes a critical look at collective impact: “FSG was able to popularize the concept of collective impact — which is, arguably, a good thing: we do, of course, want people working together. But we believe that the systems-change approach, while more complicated and long term in nature, will produce more reliable improvements in outcomes, and do so in a sustainable way. FSG was able to capture a few of the headlines of the work in Cincinnati, but a more complete review of the approach would have required more time on the ground and the kind of practical experience that would have put the Cincinnati work into an understandable context. Actually doing the work exposes one to the nuances and complexities of systems-change effort. In the absence of that, a truly deep dive into an initiative is required — and even then, things will get missed.
Our intention is not to criticize FSG or the article. We recognize the challenges of fully capturing such complex work, and without going into great detail here, StrivePartnership was working on — and continues to work on — changing systems. Collective impact is, perhaps, part of the more complicated work of systems change — but only a part.”