Getting Started: A Step-By-Step Guide

Steps to Building a Successful Advocacy Coalition

1. Define Objectives and Environment

  • Define the issue and the coalition’s objectives. What is the issue from your organization’s point of view? What is the coalition trying to accomplish by coming together?
  • Define the environment in which the issue resides. What is the political climate? Where is public opinion?

2. Identify Stakeholders and Possible Allies

  • What other organizations or stakeholders will benefit from this legislation?
  • Look beyond “the usual suspects” − think outside of the box in looking for allies.
  • Find the right mix − coalitions of organizations that are frequent political opponents can be powerful.

3. Recruit Coalition Partners

  • Strategize how to maintain, balance and control diverse/disparate groups.
  • Be clear and straightforward in recruiting coalition partners. Tell them what’s in it for your organization and show them how their organization can benefit.

4. Create a Coalition Structure

  • Identify roles needed for the coalition to function then assign those responsibilities across the membership.
  • Assign a coordinating function to one organization – someone needs to hold the group together and manage communications.

5. Create a Communication Network

  • Identify a person who can be depended upon to perform all internal coalition communication.
  • Identify a single spokesperson for all public communication.
  • Communicate often, openly and with all coalition partners.

6. Develop a Message

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep it local and make use of your coalition members’ locations by crafting the coalition’s massage to fit local audiences.
  • Keep it relevant. The message should reflect the concerns of the audience.
  • Repeat your message over and over (and over again).

Coalition Building Homepage 

Coalitions Behaving Badly