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).