28. Managing Coalitions
Description and Purpose:
Advice on managing coalitions
Read the following advice, and apply it whenever applicable to your work with coalitions
Tips on Managing Coalitions
- Establish a steering group to monitor implementation of the work, and make adjustments regularly.
- Create a secretariat.
- Establish a clear decision-making process that enables each coalition member to be involved. No members should be left out of key decisions.
- Establish a clear operating structure. Vertical, hierarchical structures are rarely appropriate for developing coalitions – consider a more fluid horizontal structure, based on team work and rotating responsibilities.
- It is important to define: management responsibility; how finances are raised, and resources distributed and divided; how members are expected to participate; and the consequences for members who fail to uphold their commitments to the coalition.
- For the smooth management of the coalition, there must be an apparent division of roles and responsibilities.
- The coalition should formulate a clear plan for how to achieve the advocacy campaign objectives.
- For specific tasks and activities, it might be beneficial to form subgroups. Subgroups should report back and be accountable to the larger coalition.
- When conflicts or disagreements arise, it is important to deal directly and openly with these. It is helpful to establish dispute procedures in advance (possibly including the use of a facilitator or mediator).
- Establish a clear communication system. Member organizations should be kept aware of developments and changes in the coalition on a regular basis.
- Prepare to fill expertise gaps by recruiting new members or capacity-building.
- Network to broaden the coalition’s base of support (co-operating with other coalitions, networks, or alliances or broadening the coalition or its base of support).
- Plan events incorporating credible spokespersons from different partner organizations.
- Create a member database (name, organization, type and focus of organization, contact details, etc.).
- Plan well ahead - coalition action can be cumbersome!
- When the coalition has successes, celebrate and spread the glory! (Motivation keeps coalitions going).