66 Community Engagement and Collaboration | Considerations | Staffing

Moving further into the concept capacity, another important consideration within community engagement work in KMb is having the appropriate type and amount of support in the form of staffing, or as it is commonly referred to: backbone support. The Collective Impact Forum and FSG, which is an organization that provides tools and training for individuals and organizations working around collective impact, have created the Backbone Starter Guide: A Summary of Major Resources about the Backbone (n.d.). This resource summarizes what the authors call the “five core elements” key to collective impact — having a common agenda, shared elements, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and backbone support (p. 5). Focusing on the element of backbone support, the authors refer to this piece as the key supporting infrastructure in the form of “an independent, dedicated staff [who] provides support and key functions for the sustained operation of the collective impact initiative” (p. 5). The authors outline the “six essential functions for backbone support” as guiding vision and strategy, supporting aligned activities, establishing shared measurement practices, cultivating community engagement and ownership, advising policy and mobilizing resources (p. 8-9). This resource also outlines different types of backbone support for different projects and the related considerations, such as budget and the pros/cons around different types of support roles. Take some time to review this resource and consider the type of backbone support that your project may require.

Collective Impact Forum & FSG. (n.d.). Backbone Starter Guide: A Summary of Major Resources about the Backbone from FSG and the Collective Impact Forum. Retrieved from https://www.collectiveimpactforum.org/sites/default/files/Backbone%20Starter%20Guide.pdf


Magnifying glass iconAfter reviewing the above resources on accessibility, please revisit the module worksheet and complete section 15.




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