Backbone Bootcamp – how to get started

This course is for backbone leaders and teams who are in the first 12 months of leading collaborative or collective impact work to enable large-scale change in their community.

Being a backbone leader and team is a challenging and unique role that has the potential to create significant change for people in your community. This course will equip you to take up that role with purpose, clarity and greater support. You’ll leave the course knowing what is required of you, what to focus on now and next, and connected to a group of other backbone leaders at the same stage of the work as you.

Changemakers across Australia are faced with increasingly complex social issues. We also know that traditional responses to these issues do not address the underlying social, economic, administrative and political conditions which created the challenges in the first place. CFI is committed to building a movement of people who are equipped to address these complex problems.

By participating in this offering you will learn from CFI’s wealth of experience working with communities from all over Australia and internationally and from the participants you will journey with. You will get to apply this learning to your own context and receive feedback and guidance on how to support and develop your early-stage collaborative change initiatives that aim to address these complex issues.

You will come away knowing what is realistic to expect and to achieve in the first 12 months and what support is available to you.

Download the Backbone Bootcamp course brochure.

This course is for:

This course is for Backbone leaders and teams who are in stages 1 or 2 of the Collaborative Change Cycle.

Before you enrol please do this very brief self-assessment on Platform C to check where you are at on the cycle, you will be asked to share what stage you are at as part of registration.

Participants will leave the course understanding better:

  • How to lead an early-stage collaborative change initiative 
  • How to know and strengthen the foundations required for collective  impact
  • How to make and demonstrate progress and impact in the early phases of collaborative change work
  • The mental models and ways of working that will enable progress and impact

Participants will leave the course having more confidence in:

  • Strengthening the level of readiness in their community for collaborative action and impact
  • The role they need to play to drive and enable progress
  • What practical set of actions to focus on – engagement, data, governance and early wins 
  • What success looks like

By the close of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Know what needs to be developed and built to create shared agenda for change 
  • Confidently lead, plan and pace the work required to build the collaboration for success and impact  
  • Frame and measure progress

Participants will walk away with a 6-month action plan.


This online short course will comprise of 2 days with 2 sessions on each day. Note: delivery may be extended to 3 days.

19th and 26th October, 9 am to 5 pm AEST

Participants will be required to set aside approximately 2-hours of pre-reading time before each day.

Accessibility and technology

Participants will be required to download Zoom and Chrome in order to be able to participate. Internet access is required to participate.

We recommend participants use a desktop whilst participating (rather than a mobile phone). We also encourage all participants to use their video throughout the course.

Participants will also be given access to CFIs Learning Management Systems where workshop materials and resources will be made available.


Price per person (+ GST):

Standard $ 700
Not-for-profit $ 590
Group discount (bookings of 3+) $ 490

A 10% discount is available when you purchase 3 or more events (as one purchase) in CFI’s Systems Change Learning Program 2021-22. Get in touch for package offers, large group discounts and tailored sessions for your organisation.


For queries, contact

An introduction to the course with Alison and Kerry

Watch the video COURSE EXPLAINER by Convenors Alison Harwood and Kerry Graham to see if this course is for you, and your team

Kerry Graham

Kerry Graham - Co-Founder & Director, Collaboration for Impact

Kerry has worked in social impact for over 20 years. Through CFI, Kerry builds the capacity of communities, corporations, governments, philanthropy and non-profit organisations to drive large-scale social change in intractable social challenges.

Prior to this Kerry held executive roles within national non-profit organisations (Inspire Foundation CEO; Good Beginnings Australia, COO); and advised governments on social policy (Australian Social Inclusion Board, NSW Treasurer’s Advisory Body). She holds qualifications in public policy, law, social work and community management.

Alison Harwood - Collaborative Change Lead

Alison has worked in the social and community change field over an extensive period. Starting out in social impact and policy work and transitioning into community development, Alison’s practice centres the importance of listening deeply to communities and reflecting critically on the forces that get in the way of thriving.

Alison focusses on whole of community approaches and building collaborative responses. She has worked on initiatives that embrace economic participation, resource sovereignty, lifelong learning, community safety, youth and citizen activation, health, and community revitalisation, to name a few. Alison brings a deep insight to and understanding of the evidence around working with children and families, strengthened during her time as manager of a child and family service, as well as six years leading the Communities for Children Facilitating Partner initiative in the Hunter Region of NSW.

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Download our Systems Change Learning Program calendar

Our calendar for the 2023 Learning Program is evolving so keep checking for more details.