Week 2: Amplifying the Voice of Community in Collective Impact

Week 2: Amplifying the Voice of Community in Collective Impact

In the second week of our e-course on community engagement in collective impact, we explore the ways in which you can amplify the voices of community members to contribute to your collective impact initiative.

Time: ~30 minutes of reading; ~2 hours of group time

This is the second of five modules to help collective impact initiatives better understand why and how to work with community members. Each module includes resources, discussion questions and interactive exercises. While the course can be taken as an individual, it is recommended that participants discuss the modules in a group, with other members of their collective impact initiative. We recommend setting aside a few hours each work week to discuss the resources and complete the exercises. We also offer questions for each resource to help guide discussion.

This e-course is not intended to be seen as the final word on community engagement in collective impact, but rather a starting place for the conversation. We offer these curated resources as an introductory scan of the literature and a way for your collective impact initiative to begin developing strategies for partnering with community members more deeply.

This module has four components to complete: Reading materials and video, an exercise, online discussion and a post-module surveyAccess these components online by scrolling down, or by downloading the “asset package,” in the right hand column of this page. The “download this document” option listed first allows you to download ONLY this overview if you prefer to reference it offline. There are “additional resources” listed in case you want to go deeper in certain areas.

Module 2 Purpose:

This module will help you think through how to support community members in contributing to a collective impact initiative. Through two readings and a video, we present several approaches and help you consider what is right for your community. The exercise allows you to assess your “deeper” engagement strategies. Each resource will help you consider what should be revised in the “Assessing Your Engagement Strategies” exercise from Module 1.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the need to support community members in contributing to a collective impact initiative.
  • Become familiar with several approaches to investing in and supporting community members.
  • Analyze “deep” engagement strategies for working with community members.
  • Revise “Assessing Your Engagement Strategies” exercise from Module 1 based on what you learned from this module.

Readings Materials and Video:

1. Amplifying the Voices of Community Members in Collective Impact

This blog post from Living Cities discusses the main learning objectives for Module 2. It also introduces you to several approaches to support communities in contributing to collective impact initiatives.

Guiding discussion questions:

  • Do the issues discussed in this blog post make you reconsider any assumptions you listed in the “Assessing Your Engagement Strategies” exercise from Module 1?
  • What assets exist in your community that can be a starting point for your work with your targeted community groups?

2. Four Approaches for Working with Communities

This video offers an overview of four approaches to supporting community members to contribute to collective impact initiatives. The approaches introduced here are:


Guiding discussion questions:

  • Do any of these approaches to working with community members fit with your collective impact initiative?
  • Can these approaches be incorporated into the strategies you outlined in “Assessing Your Engagement Strategies” exercise from Module 1?

3. Case study: Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI)

This case study illustrates how strategies that invest in community relationships can lead to policy wins. It is recommend you read the whole piece, but pages 7-12 provide an analysis of specific strategies.

Guiding discussion questions:

  • What can you adopt from NACDI’s work into your own?
  • Why do you think NACDI was so successful in its campaign to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day?


Distinguish Your Work: Outreach or Community Engagement? An Assessment Tool

As we’ve discussed in Module 1, the level of community engagement depends on the goals you want to achieve through the engagement itself. This particular tool from Nexus Community Partners offers a way to assess efforts that require deep engagement with community members as warranted. Nexus has a specific definition of community engagement as “a process that includes multiple processes or strategies to promote the participation of residents in community life, especially those who are excluded and isolated, by engaging them in collective action to create a healthy community.” This tool should only be used to assess an initiative or parts of an initiative that require “deep” engagement with community members. Again, we feel that at least some component of a collective impact initiative should strive for the highest levels of co-creation with community members, but not every intervention or process point needs deep engagement.

Guiding discussion questions:

  • Which parts of your initiative require a deeper level of engagement with community members?
  • After completing this assessment, what needs to be re-analyzed in “Assessing Your Engagement Strategies” exercise from Module 1?

Online Discussion

There are many ways you can discuss the course topics in this and other modules with participants:

You can join the on-going conversation on the Collective Impact Forum community discussion page, which requires free registration.

To join the conversation with other course participants, join our Twitter “study halls” on Friday, March 27th at 1pm ET (10am PT; 6pm GMT) to ask your questions and share your insights. We will be joined by Theresa Gardella, Director of Strategic Development for Nexus Community Partners, as a special guest to help spark and moderate discussion. Use the hashtag #CEinCI to join in.

Post-Module Survey

Once you and our team have completed this module, please complete the Module 2 Survey, which will take about five minutes. This survey lets us know you have completed this module and gives us valuable feedback on how to improve the e-course.

Join the conversation on community engagement in collective impact online with #CEinCI.

Additional resources:

To subscribe to the e-course and gain additional access to supplemental resources, interactive digital discussions, a live webinar and alerts to help you and/or your team stay on track along the way, register now.


More Resources

Internal Scan: Racial Equity and Inclusion Competency Survey Results 2021

On June 15, 2021 Living Cities administered our fifth annual Racial Equity and Inclusion (REI) competency survey to all staff to reflect on their individual competency related to understanding and advancing racial equity. The survey was originally designed by Hafizah Omar, with feedback and input from Nadia Owusu and Ratna Gill. The questions from this survey were adapted from GARE’s …

Systemic Racism 101: A Visual History of the Impact of Racism in America

Systemic Racism 101: A Visual History of the Impact of Racism in America Book by: Living Cities and Aminah Pilgrim Purchase today: https://t.co/oHZlJIIJJ4  In collaboration with historian Aminah Pilgram, PhD, we break down concepts of systemic racism, starting with Columbus’ arrival in 1492 to the Black Lives Matter movement. This book offers historical overviews, infographics, and more to help you …

Living Cities Blended Catalyst Fund 2021 Annual Report

This report summarizes Living Cities Blended Catalyst Fund’s (BCF) activities during its sixth year of operations, from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021 (FY21). During this fiscal year, the BCF Team fully committed the Fund as of March 31, 2021 reaching 26 investments totaling $33.5MM. The latter half of the BCF investments have been aligned with the iterated investment …

Answering the Call: Implementing the Promise of Equity in Procurement

The second City Accelerator cohort on Inclusive Procurement invited ten cities–Boston, Cleveland, El Paso, Houston, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and South Bend–to leverage their spending power and procurement systems to create greater and more equitable economic opportunity for Black and Brown-owned businesses. Throughout a year that included a global pandemic and racial justice uprisings in response to the …

Get Updates

We want to stay in touch with you! Sign up for our email list to receive updates on the progress we’re making with our network of partners, as well as helpful resources and blog posts.