Many churches and nonprofits make a significant impact in their communities working independently or in limited partnerships. However, collaborating in a broader network of interconnected relationships can dramatically increase our collective impact. Five key conditions have been identified for achieving collective impact.*
CONDITIONS FOR COLLECTIVE IMPACT*
Mutually Reinforcing Activities
Backbone Support Organization
Houston Responds serves as the backbone organization and cultivates the other essential conditions for collective impact through local church coalitions.
It is possible to achieve collective impact without established relationships, but church leaders collaborating within trusted, interconnected relationships can catalyze collective impact into community transformation.
Houston Responds brings together these two dynamics: strong relationships and collective impact.
Houston Responds focuses on three areas of impact:
UNITING CHURCH LEADERS
We see building trusting relationships not only as a means for catalyzing community transformation but as who we are created to be. Most church leaders desire to stand together but lack ways to connect. Houston Responds makes these connections through relational networks of church leaders collaborating, building trust, encouraging one another, and leading their congregations to do the same.
ADDRESSING CRITICAL COMMUNITY NEEDS
Regular convening of local church leaders, with an eye toward community transformation, naturally leads to conversations about what needs to be transformed. Houston Responds does not prescribe what coalitions should address but equips them to facilitate a local dialogue about needs, resources, and collaboration opportunities.
Not every church will address every issue. In some cases, coalitions may collectively address an issue like distributing "Masks for All" during the pandemic. More often, groups of churches within a coalition will lead grassroots efforts as "workgroups" to address a particular issue, such as providing furniture for refugee families. Houston Responds supports these "workgroups" to multiply their collective impact.
What community needs are coalitions addressing? Several coalitions continue restoring storm-damaged homes. Many have collaborated to address COVID-related issues like food insecurities, financial distress, and inadequate technology for children to learn remotely. As the conversations broaden, they often turn to persistent issues like failing schools, violent crime, poverty, food deserts, post-incarceration care, and racial division.
Many churches and other organizations are already addressing these critical needs. Houston Responds encourages local coalitions not to duplicate that work but to amplify it by facilitating partnerships that bring needs and resources together in a network of interconnected relationships across Greater Houston.
RESPONDING TO DISASTER
Following multiple disasters, many families are far from recovering, much less thriving. Several coalitions continue long-term recovery work, especially in under-resourced areas. We encourage all coalitions to develop disaster readiness plans to better prepare for disasters and respond to other critical community needs. One supports the other. Coalitions that effectively collaborate to address community needs in "blue sky" times are better prepared for a disaster and vice versa. Whether for "blue sky" or disaster, Houston Responds helps build the relational infrastructure that makes collaboration possible to multiply collective impact for community transformation.