A coalition is an alliance of individuals and/or organizations working together to achieve a common purpose. When this type of alliance forms to address the needs and concerns of a particular community, it is often referred to as a community coalition. Members of coalitions can benefit from working with others as a larger unified entity. Some of the expected advantages of building and working in a coalition include:
Heightened effectiveness and community voice: A well organized coalition generally finds that is has more power and can exert more influence than an organization or individual operating alone. Also, community members working within the structure of a coalition generally have access to more stable support networks to help them achieve their desired outcomes.
Increased access to resources: Working within a coalition provides opportunities for individuals and organizations to combine and share many types of valuable resources. Pooling resources allows coalition members to maximize their effectiveness by complementing one another. Examples of the types of resources that are often shared among coalition members are listed to the right.
Enhanced legitimacy: Both within and outside of a community, the powerful presence of several different community members banded together for a common purpose can attract more attention and command more respect than individual efforts. The coalition as a whole and its individual members benefit greatly from this heightened visibility and prestige. A well-organized coalition will not only look more reliable and attractive to potential allies, but will also strike a more imposing figure in the eyes of potential opponents.
Improved overall community organization and working relationships: Coalition-building often creates opportunities for groups and individuals who had never worked together before to join forces and collaborate. Members of even short-lived coalition efforts usually find that there are enduring benefits of these newly-created networks. Working in a coalition establishes alliances that can develop into long-lasting bonds between organizations, strengthen individual loyalties to community, and generally enhance working synergies among members. Also, coalitions can often help to forge collaborative bonds across racial, socio-economic, gender, age, neighborhood and other traditionally troublesome divides.
In addition, Coalitions can:
- conserve resources.
- achieve more widespread reach within a community than any single organization could attain.
- accomplish objectives beyond the scope of any single organization.
- have greater credibility than individual organizations.
- provide a forum for sharing information.
- provide a range of advice and perspectives.
- foster personal satisfaction and help members to understand their jobs in a broader perspective.
- foster cooperation between grassroots organizations, community members, and/or diverse sectors of a large organization.
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