Understanding the Value of Backbone Organizations in Collective Impact
Jul 17, 2012
Greater Cincinnati Foundation;
Stanford Social Innovation Review;
Effective backbone support is a critical condition for collective impact. In fact, it is the number one reason that collective impact initiatives fail. In this publication, we provide communities and organizations engaged in collective impact with guidance on the role of the backbone and how to understand and support its effectiveness.In the Greater Cincinnati region, collective impact has become the "new normal," and The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has made a commitment to support the infrastructure of collective impact - the backbone organization itself - in an effort to sustain and scale long-term systemic change and impact in the community. However, the role of the backbone organization in collective impact is complex and can be difficult to explain.In early 2012, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and FSG began a partnership to define the value of backbone organizations and better understand back-bone effectiveness by working with six local backbone organizations and collective impact initiatives.