Like it or not, policy advocacy is a large group project.  Different advocacy organizations supporting the same policy bring different insights, resources, skills, and abilities to do the work. The form of these advocacy group projects is often advocacy coalitions.  More than 10 years ago, we first started examining advocacy coalitions. We identified ways to look at their capacity and how to evaluate them, an, among other things. TCC Group recently had the chance to revisit that work through the lens of new questions and a changed political environment. We wondered what new insights there might be for effective coalitions. Through an opportunity afforded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we researched and published our findings in a recent report: Coalitions as a Tool for Advocacy: Evidence and Lessons Learned.

At first blush, the 50-page report may seem overwhelming or excessive. However, rather than reading it as a report, it is best consumed as a resource guide helping readers navigate nuanced questions related to coalitions. Inside the guide is a set of 22 distinct learning questions, organized into four domains of coalition effectiveness: capacity and structure, context, strategy, and support. There are research questions we addressed related to different coalition models, incorporating diverse stakeholders that might be in opposition on other issues, and navigating power dynamics as a funder when supporting coalitions.

A handful of findings include:

  • Building trust takes time and resources. 
  • Coalitions need transition support across the policy lifecycle.
  • Coalitions need the capacity to do micro-targeting in order to generate influence. 
  • Funder-instigated coalitions face obstacles.

Read the full article about advocacy coalitions by Jared Raynor at TCC Group.