IFAS | Freedom Writer | September 1995 | guide.html

Coalition building

A coalition, or alliance, consists of individuals or organizations working together in a common effort for a common purpose to make more effective and efficient use of resources. (From "Building Coalitions," the Ohio Center for Action on Coalition Development, Ohio State University)

How to determine if a coalition is needed

A coalition should be structured to:

What a coalition can do

Activity depends upon need, local assets and talent. The purpose should be to inform and mobilize voters. Education and activism are the two key words. Some groups emphasize education over activism, or the other way around. It depends upon how the group is set up. Many groups don't incorporate, although incorporation should definitely be considered. Try to get a lawyer pro bono.

How to start a coalition

Form a core group of three to seven people. Remember, as few as two or three dedicated people can keep a coalition going. Fundraising: approach concerned individuals and business owners for contributions to get started. You can raise quick cash this way. More serious fund-raising can follow later. Form a fundraising committee. Approach leaders and directors of other groups who indicate an interest in the coalition. Discuss possible dates for first meeting. Set a date. Send out letters announcing meeting date, time and place. Letter should briefly inform about the purpose of the meeting. Groups MUST RSVP, indicating whom they will send to represent their group. A registration list is prepared from the RSVPs. No one should be admitted who is not on the list. First meeting is informational. An hour and a half at the most. Show "America at a Crossroads," available from IFAS. Give a brief report of local Radical Religious Right activity. Propose a name for the coalition. Have a representative from each group sign up as a group liaison volunteer. This will be your contact person with an given group. Second meeting determines officers, job assignments, projects and time line for completing projects. Meeting schedules and frequencies will depend upon proposed projects and local Religious Right activity. Note: Coalitions can be formed for short-term projects or for the long term, depending on your local situation.

Sample names of existing coalitions:

How to manage a coalition

The core group will keep everything going. The core group meets as often as necessary once a week, three times a week whatever is required. Group liaisons are the links to all the groups in the coalition. The coalition itself usually meets monthly, but it really depends on the types activity in which the coalition engages. For instance, if the core group assembles information on the radical right, and the coalition simply operates a phone tree or fax alert, monthly meetings may be unnecessary. Communication is the key word.. Use every means available. both within your coalition and to the general public.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.