Most legislative campaigns today feature coordinated legislative efforts, and almost all lobbyists now work through legislative coalitions. The reason for this is that lobbyists recognize that there is incredible strength in numbers and that in most cases the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
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By coordinating strategies and pooling resources you will be able to achieve far more than if you tried to go it alone. A coalition makes it possible for lobbyists with similar interests to combine their expertise, resources, contacts and intelligence and then coordinate their message. When a coalition is well-coordinated it makes it possible to reach legislators in a far more effective and fast manner than any single group working on its own. A unified front can be quite impressive to the media, the public and policymakers.
As with any lobbying work, it is important to be aware of applicable laws and ethics requirements that apply to coalitions. All coalition members and leaders must make sure they properly register and that all contributions are disclosed. This will help you avoid potential problems that could limit the effectiveness of your combined efforts.
One of the most important benefits provided by a coalition is that it allows you to expand your efforts. By using your networks and connections you will be able to expand your reach through existing organizations, associations, coalitions and associations. This is also a great opportunity to ask established leaders and experts in the area for advice, which can also further your reach.
When working with a coalition it is important to clearly define expectations among members from the outset. This can help eliminate the conflict that can naturally arise when several individuals or groups work together to accomplish a common goal. When all members of the group are clear about their commitment and scope of their involvement, a large amount of potential conflict can be avoided.
Finally, keep in mind it is important to find creative ways in which to share both the work and the credit among coalition members. When appropriately handled, coalitions present the opportunity to greatly expand your outreach while increasing the chance of achieving your goals.
To learn more about how to effectively use coalitions, consider our custom training program Advocacy Campaigns in Washington: Using Grassroots, Coalitions and the Media to Get your Message Heard
Reference: Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelak, Chapter 9 Multiply your Influence: Coalitions and Partners.
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