What is the impact we claim?

As capacity builders and movement makers, our contribution is the capacity we build and the roles we play in enabling a movement for systems change. We do not claim the impact created by the initiatives we support.

We support you to drive systems change and create large-scale impact through:

  • Increasing your understanding and skills to take a systems change approach
  • Building your understanding of the stage your change initiative is up to and what’s required for further progress (our phased approach through the Collaborative Change Cycle)
  • Building on and strengthening the core practice and skills required to create systems change (our capacity building approach)

Our impact through the capacity we build in others:

When we support systems change initiatives, our focus is on people and groups becoming stronger in:

  • Systems thinking and system innovation
  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Collaborative Practice
  • Community empowerment
  • Measurement, learning and evaluation


Here’s what leaders and funders had to say about the capacity we have built for people and collaborations:


Systems thinking and system innovation

“The significant capacity building which occurred when working with CFI on the first system mapping activity and community workshop enabled the backbone team to work independently in the next phase. This is a significant instance of capacity building impact.” Executive Officer

“Our relationship with CFI has continued to gently push us to be innovative and not accept the status quo. To keep thinking about where ideas come from, and whose ideas we listen to – how do we foster this new way of working and what does that look like?” Executive Officer

Adaptive Leadership

“With CFI’s support, we began working together to answer questions like: ‘How do we bring everyone on board? What is this new way of working? How are we actually going to develop strategies and initiatives to address these key issues of concern?'” Philanthropic Supporter

Collaborative Practice

“This has been an area of significant change for us. CFI’s independent yet authoritative voice challenged the power balance within the community which in turn created an opportunity for conversations, shared learning and commitments to challenge the status quo. CFI was also able to recognise and same behaviours that were blocking collaborative practice and potential reasons for this which again created an opportunity to move through this together as a community and initiative” Previous Backbone leader

“One of the things CFI have done really well is bringing the right people to the table and facilitating a process that actually gets a plan of action developed and then build that commitment and agreement to move forward.” Philanthropic Supporter

Community empowerment

“Hands Up Mallee’s approach to engaging community as active and meaningful partners has largely been shaped by the influence of CFI. In the early phase, the community was given an opportunity to have a say in the common agenda and drove its final direction. Later in the initiative, CFI’s involvement has allowed us to re-frame the need for community involvement when things have reverted to ‘old’ ways of working, where service providers dictate practice” Executive Officer

“CFI has tried not to take roles back once a Backbone team member has stepped up and taken over roles from them, for example with Chairs now facilitating the meetings themselves.” Backbone member

Measurement, learning and evaluation

CFI has been really strong in supporting the team to bring the data piece into the working groups, especially in the early days of designing and testing the shared measurement system.” Backbone Member

“Despite concerted effort and commitment to measurement, learning and evaluation, we continue to be challenged by this for many reasons. Despite this, there are some good examples where bodies of work have been captured using tools learnt through working with CFI.” Backbone Leader

Our impact through case studies

Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project, NSW

Intended impact/bold goal = reduce youth offending and incarceration, build Indigenous self-determination

CFI has been in a capacity-building partnership with Maranguka since 2014. Maranguka means ‘caring for others’ and is a grassroots vision for improving outcomes for vulnerable families and children through the true empowerment of the local Aboriginal community.

Maranguka focuses on reducing youth offending and incarceration through a strategy called Growing them up safe, smart and strong.

CFI’s role has been to:

  • provide strategic advice to help shape the direction and design of the process of change
  • coach and develop the backbone team
  • train local people in hosting data-informed community conversations




  • steer the strategy-setting process
  • facilitate meetings of the Bourke Tribal Council, the Cross-sector leadership and the Working Groups
  • build the data competency of the initiative
  • broker technical support at relevant times including data visualisation and development of the shared measurement system
  • steer the economic analysis of the initiative

The headline impact Maranguka has achieved to date is:

  • 72% reduction in driving offences
  • 39% reduction in domestic violence offences
  • 18% reduction in major offences

> Watch the detailed video case study of Maranguka on Platform C

Visit the Maranguka website

What this has looked like overtime for Maranguka is:

Hands Up Mallee, Victoria

Intended impact = to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families

Hands Up Mallee was established to bring local leaders and community together to address social issues and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for children, young people and their families.

CFI’s role has been to:

  • provide strategic advice to help shape the direction and design of the process of change
  • coach and develop the backbone team
  • steer the strategy-setting process


  • facilitate meetings of community, Executive Table and the Action Groups
  • co-design the capacity building process for the Community Leaders Table
  • provide training and development in measurement, learning and evaluation

> Watch the detailed video case study of Hands Up Mallee on Platform C

Visit the Hands Up Mallee website

What this has looked like overtime for Hands Up Mallee is:

Our impact through the way we work

At CFI, the way we work is just as important as what we do. Through enacting our principles, we role model what systems leadership is.


Here’s what people say about the way we enact our principles through our work:

We walk alongside you and build capacity

“Having the consistency in CFI over many years has meant so much to the team. It’s not that common in community development to have long-lasting relationships with external people.” Backbone Member

“I have witnessed an absolute genuineness and authenticity around strengthening the skills and capability of individual staff in the Backbone team to lead this work, but more than lead it, to understand where it’s going and for what purpose.” Philanthropic Supporter

We adapt to your unique context

“I don’t feel like CFI has provided us with a set recipe or a set framework. I feel like the advice we have received has ben tailor-made for our community. In each individual community, timing is everything. There’s a time to push forward and a time when you know it’s not going to be high on the community’s agenda so that flexibility and adaptability to just meet the initiative on their own terms has been incredibly important.” Previous Backbone Leader

We give primacy to lived experience and community leadership

“The other thing is I think there is an absolute genuineness, authenticity and respect for people on the ground.” Philanthropic Supporter

“CFI don’t compromise on making sure that community voice is as valued and as respected as your traditional experts are. That ‘holding the line’ in terms of working in a different way is what makes the work that they do really special. That’s the point of difference between CFI and some of those other peak bodies that work in the Collective Impact space.” Previous Backbone Leader

We align effort and resources to shared goals

One of the things that has been most useful around the capability building has been the instructional learning around sitting with discomfort and around having difficult conversations, but in a respectful way, and with clarity around the outcomes that collectively they are working towards.Philanthropic Supporter

We work collaboratively and bridge silos

“One of the things CFI have done really well is bringing the right people to the table and facilitating a process that actually gets a plan of action developed and then build that commitment and agreement to move forward.Philanthropic Supporter

We apply a systems approach

“For us, this collective impact journey has been about challenging our community to work in a very different way. CFI role model that (different way of working) and live and breathe it as part of their values. CFI continue to hold the line, so they truly are adaptable.Previous Backbone Leader

We move at your pace

“We all feel that CFI is meeting us where we are at, that there’s a lot of understanding there from them and we feel very comfortable as well as getting so much really practical knowledge from their time.” Backbone Member

“The CFI facilitator always checks in with what’s needed – I’m sure she can see the gaps, but she always asks the question of us.” Backbone Member

We leverage diverse world views, knowledge and resources

“One of the things I have really liked the most [from CFI] is the steady hand of good solid expertise, being able to draw from other communities and their wealth of knowledge. And being able to bring that to the table without it being a comparison. Sharing the learnings from multiple locations has been really useful, this reduces the duplication for communities starting out.” Philanthropic Supporter

We recognise and navigate power

“CFI has provided resources as well as supported conversations to better understand power structure within our local community as well as within the state and Commonwealth and we have been better able to leverage opportunities. This includes efforts in advocating for sustainable funding and authority to work in different ways” Previous Backbone Leader

Interested to know more?

We work across Australia across all sectors involved in systems change. We work with communities, government and philanthropy both on short term projects and over the long term, where we walk alongside you to build capacity for long term impact.

Contact us to find out more