The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is a national membership organization seeking to improve breastfeeding outcomes across the US. Their 4th national conference, held August 2012, is focusing on 'Answering the Call: Coalitions Moving into Action'.
This national organization is considering how to move toward a collective impact approach to transform itself and its membership. What is a collective impact approach? John Kania and Mark Kramer of FSG Social Impact Consultants have popularized the collective impact approach which calls for five conditions:
The theory behind collective impact is that change can happen if we work collaboratively around a common agenda, and measure our outcomes. If we are investing the time in collaborative processes, we need to know the impact on communities and the issues we are trying to change.
Is this possible for the USBC. There are many positive starting points: they have a pre-existing network, they are growing regional network capacity, they have a core funder who is encouraging to consider a collective impact approach, and they are building buy in from their partners.
The path forward is challenging to be sure, but USBC has taken the first bold steps on this path. It will be worth watching them.