Identify a Backbone Organisation

To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.

—Reba McEntire

A Community Led Impact Partnership will benefit by having a Backbone Organisation. Backbone Support is one of the five conditions of Collective Impact – an effective community change model where collaborators coordinate their efforts and work together around a clearly defined goal.

Backbone organisations essentially pursue six common activities to support and facilitate community led initiatives.:

  1. Guide vision and strategy
  2. Support aligned activities
  3. Establish shared measurement practices
  4. Build public will
  5. Advance policy
  6. Mobilise funding

A Backbone Organisation once selected can do the following and be:

  • A visible leader of the project in the eyes of the media and community.
  • A central point for meetings, communications and support functions such as photocopying.
  • A key ally in terms of the tasks set out above: guiding vision, supporting aligned activities, measurement, community involvement, governance, funding.

Note: The Backbone Organisation does not have to fund the project but may be a leader in seeking funds and the stakeholder of funds from other sources.


  1. Think about the possible members of an Action Team for this project and ask yourselves if one of these might be an appropriate Backbone Organisation. If there is none, then think about finding a Backbone Organisation to be part of the project and to support you.
  2. Write in the name of your Backbone Organisation into your CLIP One Page Plan

Note: If your project is a small one you may not need a Backbone Organisation