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Americans United: Student Affiliates

Supporting church-state separation from campus.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Coalition Building

A coalition is an alliance of groups working toward a common cause; a gathering or collective of groups sharing common goals. Those goals may include adapting, creating or developing public policy or influencing people’s behaviors.

Why You’d Want to Form or Join One

  • To increase communication between groups and breakdown stereotypes.
  • To increase involvement in your efforts and to create social change.
  • To broaden and diversify your base of support.
  • To gain greater public awareness of your efforts.
  • To increase resources for your efforts.

Things to Consider

  • How will being a part of this coalition bring us closer to achieving our goals?
  • Is this an effective (and workable) coalition of groups?
  • Are we comfortable with the other groups in the coalition?
  • What resources would come from this organization?
  • What obstacles might we encounter?

Types of Coalitions

  • Issue (vouchers, abortion, campaign finance reform)
  • Action (helping the homeless, defeating right-wing ballot measures)
  • Event (March on Washington, candlelight vigils, National Day of Silence)
  • Theme (civility, racial harmony, diversity)

Organizational Models for Coalitions

Loose (Informal)
Member groups exchange information and meet to coordinate activities on which there is general agreement by all groups involved; often there is no name and no resources except those provided by each group for its share of the activities.
Organized-Informal
Member groups come together, establish a name for the coalition, a mission statement and a mechanism for making coalition decisions; groups often opt in and out of particular activities and contribute resources at different levels.
Organized-Formal
Member groups empower an autonomous decision-making group to act on behalf of member organizations; representatives from the various groups usually form a body that has oversight of coalition activities, groups comprising the coalition often provide funds and resources, but the coalition keeps these and acquires others as an independent group.