Five Fundamentals of Collective Impact
Collective impact is the core of how the partners of LAUNCH Flagstaff interrelate. It is this framework that makes our efforts unique and will enable us to succeed where other types of initiatives have failed.
1. Shared Community Vision
All the cross-sector partners of LAUNCH Flagstaff must hold a shared vision for change, as well as a common understanding of the problems we face and the collaborative actions we will perform to solve them. This is a shift in how we individually behave, moving from an institutional or organizational-centric approach to a frame that ensures our children are at the center of decisions, policies and practices. Every partner must consider how their individual actions, processes, practices and behaviors support the goals of the partnership.
2. Evidence Based Decision Making
Our partnership makes strategic decisions based on local dis-aggregated data that validates successful practices and reveals areas of need. This information drives the analysis which determines the collaborative strategic actions the Partnership will champion and support to increase our impact.
This data also serves both as a measure of our progress and a means for continuous improvement. Using local disaggregated data requires the sharing and communication of organizational-level data across community sectors. Publicly disaggregating our data provides the opportunity to have a community conversation aimed at eliminating the opportunity gaps and disparities that exist in Flagstaff. This requires a great deal of trust that is built through open and honest communication over time.
3. Aligning Existing Resources
Based on our shared community vision and our local data, existing stakeholder organizations can confidently invest their resources into the practices and strategies that truly work for kids. While this is important, it may not be enough to fully impact our educational outcomes at the levels we seek. Therefore, partner organizations must also make this investment in the context of what the other partners bring to the effort. This requires partners to acknowledge duplications and gaps in services, across the entire cradle through career spectrum that inhibit our progress and then take collaborative strategic action to rectify them.
4. Continuous Improvement
LAUNCH Flagstaff is embracing a new way of supporting our kids’ education. Sure, there have been initiatives and programs in the past that have come and gone with no demonstrated results; yes, there have been improvements in individual classrooms or schools, but long-term systemic change that produces a world-class education has remained unattainable.
This is where LAUNCH Flagstaff is different. Because we are focused on the life of a child from cradle through career, we always maintain a macro-lens at the same time we are working at the micro level to improve outcomes. Because we collectively agree to implement best practices validated by local data, no one partner is to blame for failure, just as no one partner is solely responsible for success.
The partners of LAUNCH Flagstaff agree to share collective accountability with differentiated responsibilities for achieving our shared educational goals. We agree to do this because supporting our kids’ education is not just the responsibility of our schools: it takes our entire community leveraging all our assets toward making a collective impact.
5. Backbone Support
Backbone support for LAUNCH Flagstaff comes from one or several organizations that will ensure the capacity to support the daily management and long-term sustainability of the partnership. Currently, the United Way of Northern Arizona provides administrative staff, office infrastructure and financial support in addition to major funding from the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff and The Wharton Foundation. Through this support, LAUNCH Flagstaff has the capability to make data available and use it to convene conversations across the community that build the collaborative strategic action plans that will improve our shared educational outcomes.