The famed anthropologist, Margaret Mead, believed very strongly that individuals were the key to cultural and societal reform. Mead’s extensive research led her to believe that people’s capacity for change was limitless and could be supported through positive communities. Coalitions are one example of "a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens" setting out to change the world.
"A small group of thoughtful, committed citizens..."
Coalitions are simply a group of individuals and/or organizations that work together to make their communities a better place to live. Often coalitions are organized around a single issue or event. An example of this might be a response to a local tragedy such as an adolescent suicide. Other times a coalition might form to address more general concerns, like increasing neighborhood safety or reducing underage drinking. Coalitions are effective because they promote collaboration among a variety of sectors to effectively use limited resources. Jared Raynor, TCC Group, provides an excellent visual that illustrates the importance of how coalitions create relationships in the paper What Makes an Effective Coalition? Evidence-Based Indicators of Success.
In the first figure, a coalition is represented by individuals and organizations coming together. The second figure illustrates how relationships are formed within the coalition to work toward common goals. The final figure showcases a mature coalition with many partners increasing the web of relationships and building the capacity of the coalition to make positive change.
Why do coalition relationships matter?
There are a variety of resources that can be shared among coalition members. These include access to networks, strategy expertise, funding opportunities, and relevant experiences. Coalitions create opportunities for groups that have never worked together before to collaborate, establish alliances, and together make progress on issues that are important to their community.
Finally, no matter how many issues a coalition takes on, the success of the coalition depends on the organization and dedication of its members. Members must work together to identify shared interests and common goals in order to reap the benefits of a greater affiliation.
For more information on coalition in your community, visit our Coalition Contact Registry!