Collective Impact

Collective Impact at Inspiring Communities

The Collective Impact framework guides our work in three communities across Nova Scotia: Dartmouth North (Halifax Regional Municipality), the Northside (North Sydney, Sydney Mines and surrounding area), Digby (English-speaking Digby county). Our backbone teams in each community are working to engage deeply with community to identify shared priorities of focus, and to convene residents, community organizations, government and business around these priorities. Five conditions provide the foundation for Collective Impact:

  • Common Agenda
  • Shared Measurement
  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities
  • Continuous Communication
  • Backbone Support


Understanding Our Impact

The Collective Impact model is fluid – nothing is etched in stone. We are deeply committed to a culture of learning and adapting. Our Theory of Change for Collective Impact guides this work, and we embed evaluation in every project we engage in to help us learn and adapt along the way. Ongoing discussion and feedback is critical to informing and evaluating our community work. This is one of the reasons why we work through those on the ground – so feedback, concerns, ideas, and inspiration can be heard from those directly affected. Commitment to constant reflection is critical in the context of our work.

Unlike traditional projects that have clear goals and outputs, we are working on changing the fundamental relationships and structures for how people work together on problems that can’t be easily understood or solved by any one person, organization or sector. It’s often difficult to point exactly to where we are having an impact so we use a variety of learning tools to increase our understanding about what we’re learning in our processes and activities – in terms of what works well, where we can improve, and what we need to move away from.

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