On a weekly basis I drive to work enjoying Joseph Haydn’s Symphony 94. This symphony is known as the “Surprise Symphony.” During the second movement of the work, an astonishing loud sound disrupts the gentle stream of the orchestra. I remember the first time I listened to the piece and I jumped as the sound of a loud bass drum came out of what seemed a peaceful melody. When you listen to the tune and hear the shocking surprise, it is as if Haydn wanted to make sure everyone was paying attention. I love Haydn and this symphony for not only the musical aspects of his work but for the connection this symphony has to the work here at United Way of Salt Lake.
When I first read and studied the idea of collective impact, my brain reacted much in the same way that my body reacted when I heard the Surprise Symphony for the first time. I jumped at the idea and concluded that this structure will make the rest of the nonprofit world function. Collective impact is a startling surprise that breaks up the monotony of how most nonprofits function. Collective impact makes a loud and unforgettable noise that makes the rest of the movement work, much like Haydn’s symphony 94. Collective impact is the Surprise Symphony.
The structure of Haydn’s Surprise Symphony became the norm of how symphonies are to be conducted. Mozart and Beethoven even used Haydn’s model for their own works. I believe that collective impact will similarly be used in ways that will be the ultimate model for how nonprofit work gets done. United Way of Salt Lake uses this model and when the community comes together with UWSL as the conductor, a beautiful masterpiece comes together. Indeed, collective impact is music for the soul.