Introduction to Collective Impact and the Backbone Role

, Online

Workshop Date: Tuesday, March 28. 1pm – 4:30pm ET (US & Canada)

Coaching Hour and Small Group Peer Discussions: Wednesday, March 29. 1pm – 2:30pm ET (US & Canada)

If you are just getting started doing collective impact work and are looking for an overview of the approach and role of the backbone, we invite you can join us for our online workshop, “Introduction to Collective Impact and the Backbone Role.”

This virtual workshop includes a half-day training on March 28 providing an overview of the basic elements of the collective impact approach, and a 90-minute session on March 29 that is a mix of small group peer discussion and more Q&A with workshop faculty.

Focus areas for this session include:

  • An overview of the 5 Conditions of collective impact and why they are important
  • Strategies to support centering equity practices within collective impact work
  • Designing a results-focused common agenda
  • Discussion of governance structures and the backbone role
  • Building a culture for collective impact

Who is this workshop designed for? This workshop is designed for participants who are new to the collective impact concept and early in their initiative’s development.

Lead Faculty: Jennifer Splansky Juster, Executive Director, Collective Impact Forum; Paul Schmitz, Senior Advisor, Collective Impact Forum

Register for this workshop

Registration Details

Workshop Rates: Individual registration is $175.

How to Register: Visit our Eventbrite site

Group Rates: If you have 10 or more people interested in registering for the workshop, there is a 10% discount available. Please contact Christopher Pulido at to access this discount.

Scholarships: A limited number of reduced-price registration scholarships are available for this workshop. This scholarship reduces registration from $175 to $50. To apply for a reduced-price scholarship, please fill out this form by Friday, March 10. Awardees will be notified if they are selected for a scholarship by March 17.

Cancellations and Refunds: Refunds are available, minus a 10% processing fee, as long as registrants contact us in writing ahead of the cancellation deadline. Please see our FAQ below for cancellation deadlines.

Workshop Faculty

Jennifer Splansky Juster: Executive Director of the fielding-building initiative the Collective Impact Forum. She is one of FSG’s leaders in collective impact field building, has worked on multiple collective impact engagements, designed training opportunities for thousands collective impact practitioners, and frequently speaks on the topic. Jennifer has co-authored multiple publications on collective impact, including the report Guide to Evaluating Collective Impact and the articles “Centering Equity in Collective Impact,” “Committing to Collective Impact: From Vision to Implementation,” and “Essential Mindset Shifts for Collective Impact.” Over the course of her career, Jennifer has also worked with a range of foundations, nonprofits, government agencies, and corporations across sectors on issues of strategy, evaluation, and program design. Former clients include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, Girard College, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Silicon Valley ALLIES. A California native, Jennifer is a graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two daughters.

Paul Schmitz: Builds the collective leadership of organizations and communities to achieve greater social impact through his roles as Senior Advisor at The Collective Impact Forum and CEO of Leading Inside Out. He is also the author of Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up, and the former CEO of Public Allies, where he helped more than 5,000 diverse young adults begin careers working for community and social change. Paul is a faculty member of The Asset-Based Community Development Institute, was a social innovation advisor to the Obama White House, and has been named three separate years to The Nonprofit Times list of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in America. Paul is a faculty member of The Asset-Based Community Development Institute, and a board member of The Corps Network, the NYU Leadership Initiative, Playworks, and The United Way of Greater Milwaukee. Paul previously served on the board of Independent Sector, the association of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, and was the co-chair of Voices for National Service, which led advocacy for AmeriCorps and other national service programs. Paul co-chaired the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign’s Civic Engagement Policy Group, was a member of The Obama-Biden Transition Team, and was appointed by President Obama to The White House Council for Community Solutions.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you register for this workshop: Visit our registration page on Eventbrite to join the workshop.

Is this workshop in-person or online? This is an online workshop. We will be using Zoom Meeting for this session.

What timezone is the workshop held in? The workshop is held in Eastern Time (US & Canada.)

What will the March 28 workshop entail? This 3.5 hour workshop on March 28 will include a mix of presentation, Q&A, personal reflection/journaling, and an interview with a backbone leader. There will be a short break planned during the workshop.

What does the March 29 Peer Discussion and Coaching session entail? This 90 minute session on March 29 will be a mix of small group (breakout) discussions related to the workshop content the day before as well as more time to ask questions from workshop faculty.

Will workshops be recorded? The workshop presentation on March 28 and the full group Q&A time on March 29 will be recorded and shared after the workshop with those who registered. Small group breakout discussions that are part of the March 29 session will not be recorded. Recordings will be shared within one week of the workshop. Recordings are available for three months after the workshop.

Should I attend if I joined a previous session of Introduction to Collective Impact and the Backbone Role workshop? This workshop will be similar to past ones we held on this topic. If you have attended this session in the past, or attended our Champions for Change backbone workshop, we would recommend this session if you are looking for a refresher of that content, or as a new learning opportunity for your teammates or partners. If you are not looking for a refresher, but for a completely new learning experience, we recommend our annual Action Summit instead. The 2023 Action Summit will be held April 25-April 27, 2023.

What accessibility practices will this workshop be using? We will have Zoom auto-captions on for this workshop and office hour. In the days ahead of the workshop, we will send out copies of any workshop presentations or handouts. After the workshop, we will share recordings of the workshop presentation, participant Q&A, and faculty office hour.

Can my whole team sign-up with one registration? No. Each person will require their own registration as this is an active workshop where attendees will be broken up into small groups throughout the workshop time to discuss learning questions during the session.

How do I cancel my registration and request a refund? All cancellation requests must be submitted in writing. Registered participants who decide to cancel their participation will receive a refund of their registration fee minus a 10% processing fee. The 10% fee covers non-recoupable administrative and credit card processing expenses associated with registration and event preparation. All refund requests should be emailed to We are unable to process refunds after the refund deadlines detailed below.

Refund Cancellation Deadline

Workshop Refund Deadline: If you registered for the workshop “Introduction to Collective Impact and the Backbone Role,” the deadline for cancellations and refunds is Wednesday March 22, 2023.

Have More Questions?

If your question is not addressed in our FAQ, please reach out to Tracy Timmons-Gray at:


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