Blog- How to Explain Collective Impact to Your Mom

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Blog- How to Explain Collective Impact to Your Mom

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Blog- How to Explain #CollectiveImpact to Your Mom @FSGtweets @KErrecartFSG
Monday, August 19, 2013 - 9:55am

CAMPAIGN: Collective Impact


Questions like “How do we explain what we do?” and “What’s the elevator speech?” came up over and over again at the Champions for Change Backbone Workshop earlier this month. Faced with these questions, Jeff Edmondson of The Strive Partnership joked that he has always had a hard time explaining to his mom what he does for a living. Perhaps this is no surprise since much of the work of Collective Impact (and of the backbone, in particular) involves less-than-sexy tasks like convening stakeholders, mobilizing resources, and analyzing data.

Nevertheless, Jeff had a great nugget of advice when it comes to creating a powerful and concise message about Collective Impact: focus on the ultimate goal you seek to achieve. He says that in the early days of The Strive Partnership, they explained their work by talking about the adults – i.e. the multi-sector actors who had to work together in order to improve educational outcomes in Cincinnati. But as the effort evolved, Strive made an intentional shift – they starting talking about the kids. In its simplest messaging, Strive now talks about getting better results in education for “every child, every step of the way, cradle to career.” Jeff says that this shift has been effective in helping all types of stakeholders to understand and get excited about what the partnership aims to achieve.

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For more on collective impact and Champions for Change Workshop, read Champions for Change: Leading a Backbone Organization for Collective Impact and learn about FSG’s collective impact approach.