Collective Impact Coaching Support and Other Resources

Posted 10 months ago at 4:30 am

Drawing from our field-wide consulting, knowledge, and experience, the Collective Impact Forum – along with partners at the Aspen Institute and FSG – offers tailored coaching services to help you navigate specific challenges such as scoping a common agenda, centering anti-racism, sustaining momentum, and authentically engaging the community.

We provide customized workshops, recurring coaching calls, and review collective impact planning and implementation materials through our coaching and technical assistance to initiatives at all stages of a collective impact initiative lifecycle.

If sounds useful for your own work, you can read more about our coaching services here or in the PDF attached to this post, and contact me at to learn more.




Kelly McCaffrey

backbone organization

I'm hoping to learn more about how collective impact partnerships go about grant writing, in a structural and organizational sense, over the long term.  To be specific, if a partnership (with Interlocal Agreement) has typically applied for grants with individual partners as fiscal sponsors of a partnership grant (to then be hosted by that sponsor or managed and dispersed to partners), then in grant applications, does the fiscal sponsor reflect its own organization's budget (income/expense) or do CI Partnerships move towards a budget that reflects the CI Partnership itself (despite such dispersed management, dispersed allocation of funds, and collaboration time largely absorbed in individual budgets)?  And if CI Partnerships move towards a collective budget, examples of that process and perhaps templates?

Submitted by Kelly McCaffrey on Thu, 2020-09-10 11:57

Robert Albright

backbone organization, blogger, funder community of practice, funder of initiatives, technical assistance provider / consultant

Kelly, thank you for your question about collective impact partnerships and grant writing. I'm not aware of many partnerships that move toward a budget that reflects the CI partnership itself with multiple partners' budgets added up within one combined budget. Rather, I'm more familiar with examples where the budget for "infrastructure" for collective impact is a standalone budget (e.g., backbone staff, shared measurement system, contract facilitators/consultants, and collaborative meeting/convening costs). Usually this standalone budget for backbone support is either housed within a single nonprofit/government entity or shared across multiple organizations that might be providing that backbone infrastructure support. To read more about backbone budgeting scenarios and templates, see this resource.

If multiple partners around a partnership table decide to pursue funding to implement a joint project where they are going to share staff time and costs, I've seen different approaches. For example, one 501c3 nonprofit organization who is part of the partnership might actually apply for the grant as the fiscal entity that receives all funding, and then serves as a pass-through where some of those funds are then allocatted to other partners who are also bearing some of the collaborative project's costs. I have also seen some funders who are willing to receive a proposal that lists multiple recipients of funding for the same collaborative project, with a budget description in the proposal that identifies which requested resources are going to which partners. It depends on a funder's flexibility and willingness to direct grant dollars to multiple partners separately or to one partner who then re-distributes across other partners. Unfortuntaely, I don't have any templates or process examples that describe this in detail, but I think you're hitting on an important topic around clarifying roles & responsibilities and resource-allocation across partners.

Lastly, another resource that be helpful is this blog that summarizes findings from our survey of backbone leaders around how they resource the backbone role. Some of the insights here relate to the questions you are posing about when and how to approach grant funding for collaborative work. Thanks again for your question!

Submitted by Robert Albright on Wed, 2020-11-04 14:32

Christine Rodriguez

backbone organization

Hi Robert -- I see services are tailored, but is there a general fee structure available / are scholarships ever available? I'd love to keep this coaching in mind for any pro dev funds that come available. Thank you! 

Submitted by Christine Rodriguez on Thu, 2020-10-29 17:01

Robert Albright

backbone organization, blogger, funder community of practice, funder of initiatives, technical assistance provider / consultant

Christine, thank you for your question about the fee structure and scholarship for coaching. To your question about fee structure for coaching: rather than have a fixed price point for coaching, we customize all of our coaching projects to best meet clients' needs -- and then develop a scope of work and budget that lines up with our plan to meet those needs. Our coaching support includes 1:1 weekly or bi-weekly calls, review of materials, and facilitation of virtual or in-person working sessions with local partners. Please email me directly at if you would like to learn more, and we can schedule a follow-up call to discuss further.

To your question about scholarships, we do not have schlolarships available for customized coaching. However, we do provide reduced price registration scholarships for our two larger events each year: the Collective Impact Convening (hosted every Spring; next planned for April 27-29, 2021 in a virtual format), and Champions for Change (a backbone workshop hosted every Fall, last held in mid-September 2020 in a virtual format and to be held again in TBD date in Fall 2021). Each of those events have a scholarship application process. Scholarship priorities are to help subsidize registration for those whose organizational budgets are less than $500,000, or who are from an underrepresented group within nonprofit leadership. People of color, people with disabilities, and people who identify on the LGBTQIA spectrum (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) are encouraged to apply. We will launch registration for the 2021 Collective Impact Virtual Convening in late 2020, so please stay tuned for more guidance then on how to apply for a reduced-price scholarship for that event.

Submitted by Robert Albright on Mon, 2020-11-02 14:35

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