Collaboration Management

The Council is one of the premiere collaborative management organizations in the nation; we’ve been fostering collaborative leadership for nearly three decades. We have always done our work through partnerships: convening community-based organizations, public agencies, and other partners to work toward shared outcomes to benefit the community.

We provide comprehensive expertise to ensure that partnerships work and achieve maximum impact. We currently serve as the initiators, conveners, staff and consultants to approximately 20 alliances and collaboratives.

We bring our expertise in facilitation, strategy and collaboration management to all of our cross-sector projects, whether we act as backbone organization or as consultants. Our work commonly involves helping many stakeholders tackle complex problems, ensuring that each member’s expertise is leveraged and diverse voices are heard.

We provide the following services as part of our collaboration management offering:

  • Staffing support including planning, facilitation, internal communication, and records management
  • Data-driven planning from data analysis, mapping or evaluation to technology development
  • Governance and decision-making helping establish governance structures and decision making processes, planning for transparency, and facilitating complex or politically-charged processes.

Whether your initiative is at a formative, simple network stage or if you’re looking to move from a functioning collaborative to the collective impact, we can partner with you to help you achieve your goals.

“There is no other local organization with the same capability to guide system leaders and cross-sector partners through a research-driven and collaborative process toward equity in our practice, services, and investments.”

Lori Cox, Alameda County Social Services Agency

Our Approach

Three principles guide our collaboration and collective impact work:

  1. The voices of people most affected by a given issue must be included in efforts to address the issue.
  2. Decisions about how to invest public and private resources must be driven by evidence of effectiveness.
  3. Attention to equity must inform every step of the process, from problem definition through evaluation.

As important and successful as our collaborations are, the conditions of poverty require not only collaboration, but collaboration that brings effective strategies and programs to a scale commensurate with the magnitude of the problems we seek to address. While we continue to work in partnerships and form collaborations, we recognize that the necessary scale only can be achieved if we move our work and the community’s efforts from collaboration to collective impact. We see the collective impact approach as a promising strategy for increasing the impact of collaborative efforts.

Successful collective impact initiatives include several important characteristics:

  1. A long-term commitment by a group of important actors from different sectors;
  2. A common agenda for solving a specific social problem;
  3. A set of actions that are supported by a shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, and ongoing communication; and
  4. An effort staffed by an independent backbone organization.[1]

The next stage of our work will focus on making existing collaborations more effective, determining which of our collaborations might form the basis for a collective impact effort, and which current challenges and new opportunities lend themselves to a collective impact approach

[1] Kania & Kramer, “Collective Impact.” Stanford Social Innovation Review. (Winter 2011)

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Interested in working with us? Send us a consulting inquiry here.

Current Collaborations

Building on nearly three decades of fostering collaborative leadership, the Council serves as the backbone organization to collective impact initiatives and partnerships.