Coalition Building: A Winning Recipe for Your Campaign
Coalition Building Can Make All The Difference in Your Campaign
Your organization has spotted a need for change, and you are ready to do something about it. Often, the hardest part of what comes next is figuring out how to get started. Do you have enough resources, money and otherwise, to make this happen? Are there people out there who also care about your advocacy ballot issue or candidate, and is there anyone who might be inclined to work against you? How will you reach all the right people within a given timeline? These things can be difficult to tackle alone, and that’s why coalition building can be extremely helpful.
Involving Likely (And Unlikely) Organizations in Your Political or Advocacy Campaign
Chances are, your organization isn’t the only one working within an issue area that is why coalition building with the right partners is so important. You probably already know many of the people doing similar work elsewhere. Joining forces with these peers is a natural way to build a coalition. They will have deep subject matter expertise and a network of supporters who have already bought into the task at hand. Putting aside the small differences or potential competitive feelings between similar organizations can lead to big change.
An interesting, and sometimes more impactful, way to build coalitions is to involve organizations with a less obvious stake in the issue at hand. Building creative coalitions broaden the scope of expertise available to you and show broad support for your advocacy campaign. The key is to recruit unexpected supporters in a way that still makes sense and reinforces the message of your campaign. For example, perhaps you belong to an environmental organization that is pursuing a change to local zoning laws for health and safety reasons. You will naturally reach out to any other environmental groups working in the area, but who else might have an interest in promoting the community’s health and safety? Are there parent groups who could join you? Medical professional associations? A consistent message coming from a diverse range of organizations strengthens your campaign.
Working with organizations puts more money and highly trained organizing power at your disposal, but coalition building can also mean an informal grouping of motivated community members. Grassroots activists offer indispensable passion and local insights to your advocacy campaign. Having buy-in at the individual and community level is essential to long-lasting success.
No matter who your coalition involves, don’t forget to establish and clearly communicate common goals! Having a team-based approach is all well and good, but it won’t work if everyone is reading from a different playbook. Here at The Campaign Workshop, we specialize in creating smart, collaborative, actionable goals for political and advocacy campaigns that keep everyone looped in and tracking towards success in their respective roles.
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