Call for Abstracts – Using Collective Impact on Community Development Issues

October 24, 2014

Special Issue of Community Development

(Journal of the Community Development Society)

Guest Editors:

  • Norman Walzer, Northern Illinois University
  • Liz Weaver, Tamarack Institute
  • Catherine McGuire, Bush Foundation

Submission Date for Abstracts: November 10,  2014

The increasing importance of gaining solid commitments by a large group of local actors involved in community decisions has made Collective Impact an important tool in local planning and decision-making processes. This approach is still relatively new (2011) and many practitioners are still studying and/or experimenting with its potential and use.  However, a growing body of knowledge is becoming available that will help practitioners implement this approach for effective long-term decisions in their communities.

Collective Impact is more than a “new technique”.  It involves a new paradigm and long-term commitments by local leaders that involves several key components: a Common Agenda, Shared Measurement, Mutually Reinforcing Activities, Continuous Communication, and a Backbone Organization.  While long-term commitments can be difficult to obtain, implementing effective local decisions require them. The Collective Impact approach also differs from an Isolated Impact approach by helping decision-makers and residents understand the interrelatedness of actions and effects resulting from community planning or decisions.

Seeking to build on advances in community development strategies and more sophisticated measurement approaches we are soliciting abstracts for papers to be published in a special issue of Community Development in late 2015. The intent of this issue is to provide a collection of high quality articles on various aspects of using the Collective Impact approach in local decisions. It takes many years to determine the overall impact or effectiveness of CI on a community but readers can learn about innovative procedures and approaches in conducting a CI process. Given that CI is still in its developmental phases, both scholars and practitioners can make significant contributions to the literature by sharing research and practices from organization, conceptual, and implementation phases.

Submission of topics and abstracts is open and topics of special interest include, but are not limited to:  

  • Intersection between community development and collective impact;
  • Community engagement strategies in collective impact—bringing the lived experience voice to the table;
  • Using Collective Impact to solve complex community problems;
  • Learning as you go—Developmental Evaluation and Collect Impact;
  • Effective ways of gaining local support for CI activities and results;
  • Innovative ways of organizing and engaging non-traditional partners (business, government, funders, academia, faith communities, etc.;
  • Successful use of the key components of CI listed above:
  • We are all in this together—how the Collective can move to Impact with successful outcomes from early experiences;
  • Innovative uses of shared measurement systems;
  • Ways to build a strong backbone organization and how it has functioned;
  • Types of training used to build capacity to carryout CI programs;
  • Examples of where CI components have been used in conjunction with other approaches;
  • Applications of CI in the international context—Australia, Denmark, UK, New Zealand, and other countries;
  • Other interesting CI applications

The abstracts should be written for both practitioners and academics and provide generalizable results that can contribute to the body of knowledge on Continuous Impact rather than only reporting a case study. However local experiences can document the findings or test the results. The final papers accepted will be written in a professional style including literature review, documented outcomes, references, and so on.  The emphasis should be on how CI was applied, essential ingredients in success, what has been learned from the process, and early outcomes achieved. Selected articles for the special issue are invited from scholars and practitioners with projects underway as well as from the abstracts received from this Call.

Those interested in contributing to this special issue, please send an abstract, not longer than 500 words outlining the topics addressed, organization and/or methodologies used, and how the paper will contribute to the CI topic to:  Norman Walzer () by November 10,  2014

When submitting, include COLLECTIVE  IMPACT ABSTRACT in the memo subject line. Authors will be notified by December 10, 2014 about invitations to prepare a full paper.

Final submissions of the papers will be expected by May 15, 2015 using the Community Development standard format requirements and then will be submitted through the usual refereeing process.