Last week I covered ‘collective impact’ and ‘common agenda’, an excellent way to achieve your association’s goals by joining forces with other organizations and activists. A collective impact project needs a backbone organization. The backbone organization takes accountability for coordinating and leading the effort. Accepting the role of backbone organization is a fantastic way for an association to leverage its leadership to benefit its members, constituents, and society at large.

What exactly does a backbone organization do? The backbone of a collective impact project:

  • takes responsibility for leadership and strategy
  • coordinates activity, ensuring that every organization involved is working together
  • focuses on metrics and communication, ensuring that all participants understand what is going on, the state of the result, and how their activity is making a measurable difference
  • focuses on funding, making sure the project has the resources needed to carry out its activities.

Although the backbone organization has a lot of responsibility, it doesn’t necessarily provide all the boots on the ground. The backbone organization will leverage the participation of other organizations to create a massive social movement.

The disruption experienced today creates many challenges that every association is facing. Now is the perfect time to pull together and partner with other organizations to bring more significant results in the world.


Before I go, I want to share a special offer with you. From now until the middle of September, I will donate all revenue generated from my strategic zoom calls to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). I’ll cut the cost for my 1-2-hour strategic zoom sessions in half to $1k, and you’ll write the check directly to the CCAI, making it a tax-deductible payment.

These one-hour sessions can cover a range of topics, including:

  • operational business planning during uncertainty
  • evolving your strategic plan
  • understanding virtual leadership
  • what it means to face racial injustice in the workplace
  • working for DEI task forces
  • designing virtual events
  • leading virtual board meetings
  • and more

Did you know that CCAI is the largest bicameral, bipartisan caucus in the U.S. Congress? With over 170 members from both sides of the political aisle, representing both the House and the Senate, the CCAI has worked for the last 30 years to pass legislation that makes it easier for children to find the families and families to see the children that will make them complete.

As many of you know, I have an adopted daughter. My family took Ruchi when she was eight years old, from New Delhi India. Adoption is one of the best things I’ve ever done in life.

I believe that together we can support The CCAI and do good works for your organization and members simultaneously. Please email me at seth@visionaryleadership.com.