Making a Collective Impact in Sport for Development

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA is aiming to achieve collective impact in the sport for development sector through its Model City Initiative, which launched last year in New Orleans.

As Chairman of Laureus USA, I'm proud to see that our initiative meets the five conditions outlined in the recently released Project Play Report (1) which are necessary to achieve collective impact (2) .

Our strategy for collective impact in sport for development was developed after researching the successes and failures collective impact have had in other sectors. Therefore, as we launched our initial Model City in New Orleans, we set forth clear goals and objectives to help ensure each of these conditions could be met and best position us for success.

Laureus USA intentionally designed a two-pronged approach, acting as a backbone organization and key member of a collective impact coalition, and bringing in the resources necessary to provide capacity-building grants and business services to several organizations in the city.

In order to set a common agenda, we restricted our focus to plus sport (3) organizations rather than elite sports, as recommended in the report. We then gathered the stakeholders from local sport for development and youth development organizations, government officials, leaders from philanthropic community, and other key stakeholders in this space, and hosted a series of workshops to allow them to create a shared vision for the coalition. In New Orleans, the coalition determined its goal is to create a community in which all young people have universal access to high quality sports and physical activities that promote physical well-being, social-emotional development, and healthy communities.

For several years, Laureus has been supporting the development of a shared measurement system that can aggregate and compare data across the sport for development sector. This software, inFocus, can hopefully become a standard for the sector. It was created by Aqumen, a holistic provider of impact measurement support for nonprofits. Individual organizations can track their vision-led metrics while backbone organizations like Laureus USA can track data against wider standards. Local organizations supported by Laureus USA in New Orleans will be implementing the software so that there can be aggregated data across the sport for development sector in the community.

We are creating mutually reinforced activities and allowing partnerships to form organically with our coalition members. Each of the programs has its own mission, sport of choice, and sector interest such as health or education; however organizations are starting to see where they can share best practices and resources to help each other reach their goals more easily.

In order to ensure continuous communication, Laureus USA hosts coalition meetings and specific working groups in New Orleans so that the members can set plans and execute their vision. We are steadfast in our goal of being a great backbone support organization. We're keeping the coalition's agenda at the forefront of members' minds, helping to establish standards that can be used by the group to advocate, and bringing together relevant stakeholders to support the group's mission. Laureus USA is providing ongoing coordination and acting as the center of communication for the coalition to ensure this collective initiative is maximizing its efforts. We will continue to invest in training and resources for these organizations and advocate for/with them.

Laureus USA is overseeing that the five conditions outlined in the Project Play Report exist in New Orleans to help ensure success with our collective impact coalition. In addition, we're keen to see the sector take a broader approach to doing this on a national and international level. By demonstrating that collective impact works in this sector through our work in New Orleans and future Laureus Model Cities, we hope to inspire wider change so that even more children's lives can be changed through sport. We believe collective impact will be more effective than individual organizations working in silos and are committed to ensuring the five conditions outlined in the Project Play Report are in place to allow us to achieve success.

(1) These five conditions are setting a common agenda, having a shared measurement system, having mutually reinforced activities, continuous communication, and backbone support organizations.
(2)Collective impact can be achieved when small organizations align, pool resources, and share best practice, to increase overall effectiveness of various programs, become more sustainable, and have a greater community impact than if each organization worked in a silo.
(3) Plus sport organizations are organizations that aim to achieve a certain outcome and use sport as the tool to achieve it.