The Winter 2011 issue of the Sanford Social Innovation Review featured an article titled:  Collective Impact, which described a clear framework for how organizations across all sectors can work together to achieve a common goal.  This article defined Collective Impact as follows:

Collective Impact initiatives involve a centralized infrastructure, a dedicated staff, and a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants.

Five Conditions
There are Five Conditions of Collective Success which define a Collective Impact project:

  1. Common Agenda – a shared vision for change among the participants
  2. Shared Measurement Systems – agreement on ways to measure and report progress
  3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities – alignment so different participants are doing different activities that in sum support   the common goals
  4. Continuous Communication – regular meetings and conversations are necessary to build trust and understanding
  5. Backbone Support Organization – a separate organization and staff to support the collective effort and serve as the backbone for the initiative

YC-LIFE aims to serve as that backbone support for local initiatives.

Collective Impact (Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2011)

Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work (Stanford Social Innovation Review, Jan. 26, 2012)