Scanning the enviornment is an important activity for all businesses, in part because it informs us about trends and changing ways of approaching situations for better outcomes. The Federal government, while not always viewed as innovative, has been paying more attention to the return on investment of dollars spent on economic issues, and has developed a methodology for evaluating impact (USAID model). Additionally, in Vermont the United Way has been leading efforts to promote the evaluation of real impact of interventions and programs, and has recently hosted training on an approach to social issues known as “collective impact”.
Collective impact is an approach to solutions for complex social issues, which cut across field or service boundaries and so typically have a number of organizations and institutions involved in programming (such as poverty, which has governmental and non-profit service providers). A collective impact approach brings these stakeholders together to pool money and other resources to gain efficiencies. Through strategic partnerships and tactical collaboration, impact can be seen as a collective goal.