Helpful tips to keep in mind when building and managing a coalition

Simplify support. Make it easy to demonstrate support for the coalition by sharing materials they can adapt.

Allow enough lead time. Give partners plenty of advanced notice before hearings, meetings, votes, and other time-bound events.

Be inclusive. If yours is not an organization led by and representing Black, Latinx, Native American, or Asian communities, make sure to do your due diligence to build meaningful and mutual collaborations with organizations that are. Seek out diverse youth advocates, health care providers, and legislative allies to reflect impacted populations.

Plan around their availability – not yours. Some organizations cannot meet during a 9-5 workday. Others may have difficulty making it to your meeting location and paying for travel expenses. Many students are not available until after school hours and may need to prioritize paid jobs over volunteer activism, so try to have some money for compensating youth advocates for their time and talent.

Shine together. If you are developing media outreach or materials for lawmakers, ask your partners to provide quotes and a spokesperson – and help train spokespeople if possible! Providing equitable opportunities for all partners to shine is part of your job as a campaign leader – regardless of their size or the amount of time they can devote to the campaign.

Share the credit. Consider it a success when your coalition partners broadcast their leadership of your campaign. If others want to take even a little credit for the good work you are doing together, that is a huge victory. Embrace it!

Own the negative. If something bad happens along the way, own it at the coalition leadership level.

Show gratitude. Every time something good happens, make sure to thank your coalition members for making it possible.

Treat every coalition partner like a long-term asset, not a short-term convenience. If you are an effective advocate, this will not be your last campaign. How you treat and include other organizations in this campaign will impact your future campaigns as well.

Click here for our Organizer’s Checklist for Effective Coalition Meetings.