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Vibrant Communities Canada Champions for Change - Agenda

As our program continues to evolve, get a peek at how the agenda is taking shape below.

On this page you'll find:

What You'll Learn

This gathering has been designed as an advanced learning opportunity specifically for individuals who are - or desire to - play a leadership role in the Leadership Roundtable, Coordinating Committee or Backbone Organization for a Collective Impact initiative. Our agenda will provide you with inspiration, information and tools to offer the essential leadership and support required for your community's collective impact initiative to maximize its impact.

  • Strengthen your ability to guide your collective impact initiative toward results
  • Learn from, and build connections with, other experienced leaders of backbone organizations across a range of social issues
  • Participate in creating new resources and tools for the field of community collaborative and collective impact practitioners, which will be disseminated after the workshop

Learn more about the role and function of a Backbone Organization within a Collective Impact Initiative with topics which include:

  • Deeply understanding the roles and impact strategies of the backbone organization
  • Developing and learning from shared measurement
  • Community engagement to build the will of your community
  • Making collaborative governance effective
  • Sustaining funding for collective impact over the long term
  • Working in complexity and the importance of adaptive leadership
  • Getting to true impact and systems change
This event has been designed to offer you an amazing learning experience and also intentionally incorporates opportunities for you to experience, network with and learn from other practitioners who are actively engaged in collective impact work within their communities.  As a Learning Community we will be working together to co-generate new knowledge and insights to advance the work of this field.

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A Snapshot of our Learning Agenda

Day 1 - Build: A Learning Community - Understanding Collective Impact

  • Convening the Learning Community
  • What is Collective Impact?
  • Collective Impact's Promise for Addressing Complexity
  • The Six Roles of the Backbone Organization in Collective Impact Initiatives
  • Conversation Café - Our many stories

Day 2 - Deepen: Leading a Backbone Organization for Collective Impact

  • Developing and learning from shared measurement
  • Community Engagement to build the will of your community
  • Making Collaborative governance effective
  • Sustaining funding for collective impact over the long term
  • Working in complexity and the importance of adaptive leadership
  • Getting to true impact and systems change

Day 3 - Mobilize: Collaborative Action - Community Impact

  • Weaving together the pieces of collective impact
  • Observing patterns of successful collaboration over time
  • Navigating the creative tension of planning and emergence

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Learning Agenda Overview

Below you will find the Agenda for Champions for Change.

  Day 1
Tuesday, April 16
Day 2
Wednesday, April 17
Day 3
Thursday, April 18
8:30 -12:00

Travel & Check-in

Registration Desk opens at 11:00 am

Workshop Signup

Reconvening the Learning Community

The Effective Backbone Organization

Concurrent Workshops:
• A Growing Body of Practice - The Collective Impact Journey
• Developing Shared Measures
• Collaborative Governance
• Community Engagement for Collective Impact


Reconvening the Learning Community

Getting to Collective Impact - Role of the Backbone Organization

High Impact Issues
Faculty Discussion

Planning Time


12:00 Lunch Lunch on Your Own

1:00 - 2:00
Lunch & Networking

1:00 - 4:00

Collaborative Planning Time

Paul Born and Liz Weaver will be available to provide coaching & facilitation

1:00 - 6:00

Opening the Learning Community

The Roles of the Backbone Organization

Leading in Complexity

2:00 pm
Concurrent Workshops

  • Developing Shared Measures
  • Influencing the Policy Agenda
  • Raising Resources to Sustain Impact
  • Shared Value - Unlocking Value by Linking Business and Social Results

Plenary and Pod Conversations

5:30 - 6:30  

6:30 - 8:00

Dinner and  Pod Conversations

Special Announcement 

Dinner on Your Own


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Workshop Descriptions

A Growing Body of Practice - The Collective Impact Journey

Since the Stanford Social Innovation Review first published the article Collective Impact by John Kania and Mark Kramer of FSG Social Impact Consultants in their Winter 2011 issue, the field of practice has been growing in leaps and bounds.  Collective Impact provided an accessible framework and language for collaborative community change efforts that were occurring in communities across Canada and the United States.  John Kania will share the journey that FSG Social Impact Consultants have been on, profile some of the lessons that have emerged and highlight future research goals for collective impact. 
Faculty:  John Kania, FSG Social Impact Consultants

Developing Shared Measures 

It is a great enough challenge to get leaders from different sectors together in a room, let alone agree on shared measures to hold each other accountable for improving. This challenging work requires both a broad array of cross-sector partners with clear goals and an understanding of the current data landscape to create systemic change in a community. This interactive session will include tips and tricks for developing shared measures and profile case studies for how collective impact efforts have used and learned from shared measures.  We will also hear from representatives of Canadian Collective Impact initiatives who will offer their lessons learned related to developing shared measures within and across sectors.
Faculty:  Fay Hanleybrown, FSG Social Impact Consultants

Collaborative Governance

One of the challenges of collective impact is agreement on governance and decision-making. This workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the unique governance challenges that multi-sector collaborative change efforts face including: strategies to build trust; navigating the process-product tension; and, dealing with multiple levels of accountability.  Different models and planning approaches for effective collaborative governance will be shared.   Bring your governance questions and your success strategies. 
Faculty:  Liz Weaver, Tamarack - An Institute for Community Engagement and Vibrant Communities Canada

Community Engagement for Collective Impact

Community change efforts gain momentum and success when the whole community becomes engaged with moving forward on the common agenda.  Participants will review the principles of community engagement and leading community engagement models. Through discussion that is grounded in participant experiences, different views on systems change; current trends undermining community engagement; and, the cost of disengagement will be explored. By working together and learning from each other, ideas and approaches for increasing the chances of implementing a successful, multi-phase community engagement process will be shared.
Faculty:  Paul Born, President and Coach, Tamarack - An Institute for Community Engagement

Influencing the Policy Agenda

Collective impact initiatives are designed to bring together a cross-sector mix of influential leaders to deal with a complex community issue.  These leadership roundtables have considerable impact and influence.  This workshop will identify strategies for collective impact initiatives to influence the policy agenda.  Liz will share the practical approaches and lessons learned through more than ten years of Vibrant Communities collaborative efforts where significant efforts were made to move the needle on poverty at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. 
Faculty:  Liz Weaver, Tamarack - An Institute for Community Engagement and Vibrant Communities Canada

Raising Resources to Sustain Impact
Collective impact initiatives across the country are doing the very challenging work of building networks to both identify what practices really get results and create action plans to spread these practices across programs and systems in order to achieve greater impact.  An inevitable crossroads they face is whether funders will actually shift their investments to focus on these shared outcomes.  In addition, collective impact initiatives require support for the backbone infrastructure.  And although the return on investment has proved worthwhile across many examples, resources to support capacity-building, convening, data sharing, etc. can be hard to come by.  This session will provide insights for fostering engagement with funders and also share proven techniques for raising money. In addition we will explore examples from the field in which funders and other partners have aligned time, talent and treasure to achieve and sustain impact.
Faculty: Paul Born President and Coach, Tamarack - An Institute for Community Engagement

Shared Value:  Unlocking Value by Linking Business and Social Results

FSG has been examining the opportunities for business to support progress on social issues that bring about benefits to the business.  Companies begin by identifying key intersections between society and their business and move to developing specific shared value strategies that create positive business results through creating positive social and environmental results.   John will share FSG Social Impact Consultants research on shared value and the potential impact this has on community change efforts. 
Faculty:  John Kania, FSG Social Impact Consultants

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Key Themes

  • Role Clarity
  • Shared Measurement
  • Community Engagement/Building Public Will
  • Sustainability/Mobilizing Funding
  • Leading in Complexity

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Related Learning Materials

Tamarack's www.tamarackcci.ca website is home to an online Learning Community which includes resources and audio seminars on Collective Impact and Collaborative Community Change. Visit the site to access the following relevant resources:

  • Understanding the Value of the Backbone Organizations in Collective Impact - FSG and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation share what they have learned about the role of backbone organizations in collective impact initiatives. Working with a group of six backbone organizations, this article explores what it takes to be a backbone and the value that this necessary, though often behind-the-scenes role services in Collective Impact Initiatives. Access this article here.
  • Embracing Emergence - Complex social problems cannot be solved by a single organization or by a simple recipe. This just-released article explores how adopting the five conditions of collective impact invite unexpected solutions and ultimately facilitate a greater ability to solve tough social problems. Access this article here.
  • Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work - This article takes an in-depth look at how organizations of all types, acting in diverse settings, are implementing a collective impact approach to solve large-scale social problems.  It outlines the essential steps to implementing collective impact, exploring the conditions and phases of collective impact as well as several examples of collective impact at work. Some of these examples are Canadian, such as the Calgary Homelessness Foundation and Vibrant Communities Canada. Access this article here.
  • Collective Impact - Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains primarily focused on isolated interventions by individual organizations. Substantially greater progress could be made in alleviating many of our most serious and complex social problems if nonprofits, governments, businesses, and the public were brought together around a common agenda to create collective impact. Access this article here.
  • Making Collective Impact Work: A Dialogue with John Kania - In this exclusive Tamarack audio seminar, Paul Born speaks with John Kania about collective impact, and the key elements required for its successful implementation.  Access this audio seminar here.
  • Evaluating Impact: Vibrant Communities (2002-2010) - Community members and national sponsors of the Vibrant Communities network have been committed to a rigorous approach to learning about and evaluating this pan-Canadian initiative to achieve collective impact on poverty since it began in 2002.  Evaluating Vibrant Communities: 2002-2010, summarizes the results from the first phase of the evaluation. Access the web resources and on-line audio seminar here.

Stay tuned for upcoming pre-event learning opportunities!

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Event Partners Tamarack

FSG Logo

Event Sponsors

The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Social Innovation Generation

Contact Us
For more information on the workshop, please email rachel @ tamarackcommunity.ca or call her at 519-885-5155.

Featured Audio Seminar
John Kania
Making Collective Impact Work with John Kania


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