Sometimes organizations fall into a backbone role naturally and are working hard with the larger collective on an issue before they have the time or space to think critically about the governance structure. There are two common reasons why a review or improvement of governance system may arise: Often, an external event, such as a new funder or partner, prompts a need to review governance systems. Or, when first entering into the backbone role of an existing initiative, it may trigger an opportunity to improve the governance structure.
Whatever the motivation, given the variety of roles it plays, the backbone organization is centrally located in this process. Instead of being a passive player, a strategic backbone organization guides the partners through the redevelopment of their governance structure, ensuring there is a clear vision, well defined structure, and decision-rules in place.