The most longstanding social issues tend to be complex issues. They demand quality collaboration and cannot be addressed in a fragmented way.
Collaboration can enhance efficiency, effectiveness and expand the scope of our impact to the broader system. To reap these benefits, we need to adopt a systems change mindset, where we seek to understand and shift the conditions that hold a problem in place. We need to think beyond our individual agencies and programmes to optimize our collective influence in the entire landscape and avoid working in silos.
By working together for systems change, we can build a collaborative and impactful social service ecosystem with better outcomes for service users.
To facilitate effective collaboration, NCSS has been driving the Collective Impact approach. The approach provides a structure for multiple organisations to forge a common agenda for solving a complex social issue. NCSS supports interested SSAs by connecting relevant partners, and providing learning, and funding resources.
Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem in a structured way.
The Collaboration Spectrum is a tool that helps to assess and clarify the current and desired levels of collaboration among stakeholders, ranging from competition to integration. Trust becomes more important as the level of collaboration increases.
One form of deep collaboration is Collective Impact.
Under Collective Impact, a group of actors from different sectors develop a common agenda for solving a specific social problem using a structured form of collaboration. These are the five conditions that characterize Collective Impact .
Kick-start your collaboration journey with these 3 simple starter questions. They help to identify whether a Collective Impact approach should be used and clarify whether the pre-conditions of Collective Impact are present. Addressing these early on is key to avoiding problems later on.
Collaboration can be summarized in 5 main steps, adapted from NCSS VRO's "Guide on Service-Based Volunteering Partnership Models and Case Studies V1.0".
Here are some foundational tools and resources to begin.
From 2020 to 2023, NCSS partnered with Tamarack Institute to organise a series of learning sessions on the Collective Impact approach among local practitioners. Tamarack Institute builds the capacity of changemakers and develops collaborative strategies that engage citizens and institutions to solve major community issues across Canada and beyond.
Watch these videos to learn more about Collective Impact.
Introduction to Collective Impact (6 min)
Introduction to Backbone Governance (4 min)
More videos on Collective Impact on YouTube.
The NCSS 4ST Partnership Fund aims to mobilise the sector to develop solutions that promote innovation, collaboration and empowerment, with the end outcome of improving the quality of life of service users - including Families, Children and Youth, Persons with Mental Health Conditions and Caregivers, amongst others.
If you have a project in mind, apply for the 4ST Partnership Fund, open between 1-31 October 2023.
To find out more about collaboration, contact email@example.com