The AM staff began the session by describing what a coalition is (individuals or organizations coming together to address a common issue, who have common interests and values) and why they form (for solving a problem, naturally!)
Discussion centered around purposeful coalition building–creating a roadmap for success, with clear planning for identifying the issue, growing the group intelligently, creating the vision for the solution, establishing clear targets for success, planning the specific strategies, and implementing. One thing that wasn’t discussed was having a post-issue analysis to certify that the goals were actually met.
Credibility and authority of the group and leaders was noted as being critical to the foundation for success of any coalition. In order to be effective, the coalition leadership have to be visible and accessible, and be able to accurately assess the depth of the network, broaden and deepen the network (including direct methods and social networking options), and mobilize and motivate your volunteers and core membership.
Examples of effective tools for reaching the community you are wanting to impact was discussed, from the traditional word of mouth to getting earned media, from petitioning to fundraising events to educate and connect more people to your cause, from networking to building and deepening relationships. All of these tools and options are going to be explained in more detail during the activist training break out sessions (of which I will bring you information after the event).
A thought struck me during this presentation, especially during the part on networking: No time was allowed for participants at this event to introduce themselves and to let others know who is in attendance. Maybe this will happen before the lunchtime “networking”. We’ll see.