The backbone team wears multiple hats—from guiding the initiative’s vision to facilitating relationships, from mobilizing resources to spotlighting community leadership. With so many hats to wear (and roles to play), this role can be a lot to balance and fulfill.

Join us for this Virtual Office Hour where we will answer your questions and offer recommendations about playing the backbone role in collective impact.

Download a copy of the slides referenced during this session at the link on the left of this page.

Questions in this Session Include:

What are the roles that the Backbone should be playing? 4:30

  • How does the backbone relate to other partners/structures like steering committees and working groups? 5:13
  • What are the roles that the Backbone should be playing? 8:00

How can the backbone mobilize stakeholders and partners and keep them engaged: 12:52

How do I balance the role of the backbone as guiding the work of the collaborative without doing the work of the partners?  19:00

What does an effective backbone look like, and how do you look at evaluating the impact of the backbone? 23:31

Are there effective ways to fund the backbone role? 27:58

How do partners and funders best support the backbone? 38:00

Are there examples of successful backbones that have provided funding for partners? 40:20

How to talk about impact without taking credit away from partners? 43:33

How much guidance does the backbone offer to the working groups? 45:03

What are things to think about when measuring impact? 46:57

How do you deal with the tension of partners approaching initiative funders during steering committee meetings? 49:00

Do you define your structure before gathering the steering committee or after? 51:10

Any tech platform recommendations to help with state-wide initiative planning and communication: 53:24

Any recommendations on how to illustrate the full breadth of the backbone role? 55:30


Office Hour Guests:

- Melissa Oomer, Director, FSG
- Jennifer Splansky Juster,  Executive Director, Collective Impact Forum

This session was held on November 7, 2019.

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