Collective Impact: The Philanthropist

Since its introduction in an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011, the Collective Impact framework has been receiving considerable attention in the US, Canada, and around the world. I am pleased to announce that we will be exploring the theory in an upcoming issue of The Philanthropist.

I am pleased to invite you to participate in an upcoming issue of The Philanthropist [ ] focussing on Collective Impact (CI). The Philanthropist is a quarterly review for practitioners, scholars, supporters, and others engaged in the non-profit sector in Canada and has become a pre-eminent voice to explore current trends and issues.

I expect that Community Service-Learning programmes are beginning to encounter CI initiatives in your work and would be delighted to hear more about the experience of post-secondary institutions with this model for solving complex social problems through highly structured collaboration.

The attached (The Philanthropist Issue on Collective Impact)  is a two page overview describing Collective Impact and suggested areas of inquiry to explore this new theory and model for collaboration where “organizations from different sectors agree to solve a specific social problem using a common agenda, aligning their efforts, and using common measures of success” .

There are three ways in which you can get involved:

1. Propose a 3,000 – 4,000 word feature article based on your experience or views about Collective Impact. Draft articles should be submitted by 31 January, 2014 for review and discussion in February.

2. Develop a Case Study describing an initiative in Canada which uses a Collective Impact approach or shares similar characteristics. We are particularly interested in exploring similarities and differences and in determining the effectiveness and challenges of collaborations which address complex social problems.

3. Share your interest, experience and views directly with me to inform our work and suggest other contacts which may be interested in participating.

I look forward to hearing from anyone with an interest in this subject.

Larry Gemmel

Associate Guest Editor

The Philanthropist – Collective Impact

Val-des-Monts QC

For further information:


Community Evaluation Practice: Bridging Gaps

Jacques Chevalier and Daniel Buckles have recently completed  a support to a community of evaluation practice called “Bridging Gaps”, sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It involved the usual suspects among Canadian INGOs (Cuso International, Canada World Youth, CECI, CESO-SACO, Crossroads International, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Québec, SUCO, USC-Canada and WUSC).

One of the “gaps” the community wanted to address is how to work on the so-called “attribution problem” without using the randomized control trial typical of Duflo’s experimental approach to impact evaluation (due to the ethical and practical problems of control trials). Chevalier and Buckles developed an alternative approach to counterfactual thinking that draws on the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition instead. While still a work in progress, they think it is promising. The report also shows how participatory approaches to evaluation can be integrated into Results Based Measurement, and reflects on various “hybrid” models that bridge gaps in conventional methods.

A research report with stories of innovation in evaluation methods by the various organizations is now available on the Participatory Action Research, Planning and Evaluation Website.

Evaluation from a Community Engagement Perspective

At the last Program Committee members requested a resource area for evaluation.

Current Resources:

Vibrant Communities maintains an online library with annotated evaluation resources.  Tamarack hosts an evaluation  online learning community.  Contact to join.

The Rainbow Technique Todd demonstrated is available along with other tools and techniques on the Participatory Action Research, Planning and Evaluation.

CFICE Resources section contains an evaluation bibliography section generated from resources used for the initial proposal.

Sharing our experiences

We can also learn from each other, please share your experiences with evaluation methods, tools, and techniques you found useful.