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Creating and Maintaining Coalitions and Partnerships

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1 Creating and Maintaining Coalitions and Partnerships
Community Tool Box Curriculum Module 1 Part 2

2 Creating a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Partnership-def.- “A mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship between two or more organizations to achieve common goals.” --Amherst Wilder Foundation Once an issue surfaces and people are ready to call a community to action, individuals, agencies and organizations begin to think about collaborations. A partnership is… The relationship includes a commitment to: a definition of mutual relationships and goals; a jointly developed structure and shared responsibility; mutual authority and accountability for success; and sharing of resources and rewards.

3 Creating a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Coalitions-def.- Multiple individuals and organizations working together in common purpose. In the simplest terms, a coalition is a group of individuals and/or organizations with a common interest who agree to work together toward a common goal. Coalitions may be loose associations or structured organizations, formal or informal, voluntary or mandatory; they may serve a neighborhood, locality, larger community or an entire group.

4 Creating a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Collaboration-def.-Sharing risks, resources, responsibilities and rewards… -Arthur Himmelman Both partnerships and coalitions are examples of collaborations, or more likely multisector collaborations, relationships between organization from different sectors or parts of the community (for example, schools, government, local businesses, faith organizations). A mulitsector collaboration is defined as “voluntary, strategic alliance(s) of public, private, and nonprofit organizations to enhance each other’s capacity to achieve a common purpose by sharing risks, responsibilities, resources and rewards”.

5 Creating a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
“It is better to be part of a great whole then to be the whole of a small part.” --Frederick Douglass (Read the quote) When you think about the goals of coalitions and collaborative partnerships, they often include any one or more of three objectives: Bringing about new programs, policies or practices to address a specific issue (for example Sistas Orgnanizing to Survive (SOS) which began to address safe practices and testing for Black women) Changing the individual behaviors of large numbers of people (for example, initiatives that promote regular HIV Testing in high-risk populations, always using a condom and abstaining from high-risk sexual activities) Building a healthy and more just community (for example, initiatives/campaigns aimed at reducing stigma in communities, reducing disparities between different communities adversely affected by HIV).

6 Determining the conditions for starting a coalition or partnership
Why start a coalition? To address an urgent situation To empower the community To obtain or provide services To increase efficiency and effectiveness To combine resources To increase communication To plan community-wide efforts To develop political influence To create long-term, permanent social change Before learning and actually practicing the specific steps that must be taken to develop a coalition or collaborative partnership, we must first understand the different reasons that such groups are formed, and when they are most likely to have an impact. These are the ten reasons why a community might choose to start a collation or collaborative partnership.

7 Determining the conditions for starting a coalition or partnership
When should you develop one? When dramatic events occur When new information becomes available When circumstances change When new funding becomes available When there is an outside threat When a group seeks broad, significant community change Experts also suggest these seven situation as appropriate when developing a coalition. When you have not only a good reason for starting a coalition, but also the possibility that one can be started successfully in the community: The problem or goal is clear There is some level of trust among individuals and organizations A coalition is the best response to the issue. To give you a real-life situation where the “why” and “when” come into play, consider this: In 2005, the Florida Department of Health put out a report entitled “Silence is death”. The report detailed incidence numbers for specific groups of people, as broken down within counties or areas in Florida. As a result of the rates in this report, St. Lucie health officials decided it was time to do something about its rates. The report stated alarming rates within this community. At the time, this particular area didn’t have any HIV coalitions, community based organization or AIDS service organizations servicing the people of this community. The thought being that with no service, the HIV rates had climbed and ranked them high in terms or infection rates within the state. To address the issue, coalitions and collaborations were created to spread the word of HIV prevention and testing. This is just one example of “why and when” coalitions and partnerships or collaborations are necessary.

8 Creating a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Establishing a Coalition Assemble the coalition’s membership Briefly outline a vision and mission for the group State the objectives, needed resources/ relationships, and key agents of change When you are in a situation that might benefit from a coalition or collaborative partnership, some clear and important steps will help you make this happen. Keeping your broad goals in mind, assemble the coalition’s membership: Compile a list of potential candidates, individuals, or organizations to be involved and review it to check for completeness. Recruit emerging “leaders in the community” as a rich source of perspectives, knowledge, and influence. It might be beneficial to your collaboration to go beyond often-tapped formal leaders to “informal” ones, leaders among volunteers, leaders from both the organized and developing sectors of the community, as well as, leaders among youth, elders and even the poor—because these people bring often overlooked capabilities to the common work. Then think about who else might be included and how you will go about approaching potential partners regarding membership. Then with the assistance of your newly assembled partners and community members, you are ready to move forward with outlining a vision and mission for the group. Vision statement—summarizes your coalition’s dreams for the future. A vision statement should be Easy to communicate to potential new members Uplifting and inspiring, clearly communicating your hopes for the community A reflection of the perspective of the community it represents EXAMPLE: Mission statement—outlines your collaborative partnerships mission. It should include: A statement of what it is going to do and why Widely inclusive language to avoid limiting potential new members and strategies with which to bring about the vision. Once you have a preliminary vision and mission, (these can be formalized and finalized later) it is time to consider your objectives, needed resources and key agents of change. When writing your objectives, keep these guidelines in mind: Summarize the anticipated results of the groups activities. What would be different in you community when you have reached you goals? Who will have what done by when? Identify available resources and relationships that will be needed to bring about change. Determine the target populations you most want to affect and those in your community whose actions can influence them, either directly or indirectly.

9 Creating a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Describe potential barriers or opposition Describe the probable structure your collaborative partnership will take as an organization At this point, it is time to consider some issues in more depth. You should have a preliminary agenda and membership, as well as a proposed vision, mission and objectives that provide a general roadmap for future steps. Now you need to describe potential barriers or opposition to your partnerships success and strategies to address them. Consider: Competition or turf issues Bad history between local agencies or with the community Dominance by professionals with the coalition and in community relationships Poor links to the community Minimal organizational capacity Funding (too much or too little) Failure to provide and create leadership within the group And the perceived costs of working together outweighing the benefits The last thing you want to do is describe the probable structure. You want to make sure that you describe how the coalition will function as an organization and how responsibilities will be shared among partner organizations. You need to prepare your organizations to successfully work together, by: Clearly defining the purpose and scope of the project Clarifying how working together will benefit each partner/organization And describe the roles and responsibilities of each participant, making sure mechanisms for communications and joint accountability are in place, fostering respect and trust and promoting a healthy working relationship among partners. Secondly, when describing the structure, consider: The existing structure for decision-making The existing rules for operation And the existing planned distribution of work. Remember, when choosing an organizational structure that it doesn’t mean that it will remain that way forever. As the coalition grows and changes with time, the partners may want to revisit the organizations structure and modify it to increase its current effectiveness.

10 Creating a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Some guidelines: Communicate! Be inclusive and participatory Network Set concrete, reachable goals Be creative about meetings Be realistic about what you can do Acknowledge diversity among your members, their ideas and their beliefs Praise and reward outstanding contributions, Celebrate your success!

11 “All this will not be accomplished in the first 100 days
“All this will not be accomplished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1000 days…not even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” --John F. Kennedy Just keep in mind that while your mission may seek to eradicate HIV entirely, it doesn’t happen overnight, or in the first 100 days, or as this quote considers, realize that it may not happen in our lifetime, but we work hard and aim to move towards that goal anyway.

12 Maintaining a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Why maintain your coalition? Relationships are complex and evolving The environment is ever-changing Renewal is basic to organizations This reflects on the sustainability of the program within the framework that Tamara discussed earlier. What needs to be maintained: Vision, mission and objectives Basic governance Coalition leadership and membership Division of labor Strategic and action plans Funding Public support And overall spirit of the coalition

13 Maintaining a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
6 R’s for maintaining community efforts: Recognition Respect Roles Relationships Rewards Results As you try to maintain momentum and foster renewal, incorporate these crucial qualities into the meetings and planning structure in order to keep people involved and contributing to your organization. Recognition of people for their contributions Have Respect for people’s ideas and values Establishing Roles—create meaningful ways to contribute Consider Relationships and recognize people’s need to connect with others Reward benefits should outweigh the costs Share Results, share evidence that the group is making a difference.

14 Maintaining a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Bring together current members to describe current reality Determine what changes need to be made for you to move ahead Re-examine your coalition or collaborative partnership’s agenda There are 9 steps in maintenance and renewal: Current reality, reassess resources and barriers For example, changes to the mission, membership, relationships, actions Look at the current vision, mission, objectives, needed resources and relationships, key agents of change.

15 Maintaining a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Increase or expand membership Increase the level of commitment and motivate partners and members Characterize level of involvement of partner organizations Over time, the amount of work your coalition has taken on may have grown enormously while membership levels have not. Alternatively, you may find that you have plenty of manpower, but no members with the connections to those sectors of the community within which you need to work to get your goals accomplished. In that aspect, you may realize that you need to Increase or expand membership to further the vision and mission, fill unfulfilled needs, and bring additional resources. A big issue when trying to maintain a coalition, is the level of commitment and motivation among partners and member. Your organization may have all the members and connections it needs to accomplish its goals or overcome an identified problem, yet you are still having trouble getting there. Your members may have lost their initial level of energy and motivation. It happens. We deal with prevention fatigue within our HIV prevention efforts all the time. In order to overcome this, you should: Re-examine who is not currently participating (either current members or potential ones) and brainstorm why they are not involved. This may include barriers to participation, such as inconvenient meeting times and places or lack of incentives to be more involved. You should also, outline new and different ways for involvement, including finding new opportunities for current and potential members to showcase their strengths, gain recognition and build personal and professional relationships—remember most people are involved for the cause, but generally like the professional benefits and incentives. Lastly, you should identify obstacles to participation and work to remove them. In other words, consider what affects participation. Some possibilities include: Inadequate communication with the community Limited experience with collective action Preconceptions and attitudes about eh efficacy of participating A history of being neglected or ignored A belief that leaders are resistant to change or already have their minds made up A sense of powerlessness and that the problem is beyond members scope of change Lack of time, transportation and child care Committees that are too large for efficient decision-making Poorly organized action groups A history of unproductive meeting leading to cynicism about the groups effectiveness. The next step in maintaining is to characterize the level of collaboration that partners’ organizations share and explore if changing it will bring about greater success for the whole coalition. In other words, describe he nature of the collaborative relationships—how the different organizations have been working together and how they may be expected to work together in the future. If possible, reaffirm to create a new Memorandum of Collaboration that outlines your agreement.

16 Maintaining a Coalition or Collaborative Partnership
Identify barriers to success and related strategies Determine who is opposing your initiative and identify their tactics Consider alternatives to maintenance Identify current barriers to your collaboration’s success and related strategies for addressing anticipated conflict or problems, as these may have changed considerably from the outset of your effort. Remember those potential barrier to success, such as: Competition for turf Bad history Poor links to the community Funding (too much or too little) The costs outweigh the benefits Another step would be to determine who is opposing your collaborative partnership’s efforts currently, identify what their tactics are, and plan how your partnership can best respond. Ask the question, “who will lose if your intervention succeeds or your objectives are met. Consider who will lose money, power, influence, or time and resources? Then consider what tactics they are using to oppose your efforts and choose how you will deal with the opposition. When maintaining or enhancing your partnership at its current level is no longer appropriate or feasible, consider alternatives, such as: Growing in a planned and controlled fashion, which may enable you to do more or work at additional levels. Keep in mind that expansion will require additional resources (both financial and personal). Planning for growth will relieve many of these pressures. Spin off another group—that means that new initiatives may be encouraged to “take a life of their own” and to function independently. Change focus—If the original objectives are met, yet there are still unresolved issues or problems in the community which partners or members are motivated to address, the coalition may decide to tackle a new challenge. Other alternatives include, merging with another, like-minded organization, cutting back current levels of involvement or simply dissolving the group if your mission was accomplished.

17 Questions/Comments?? Contact: Tamara McElroy @ 850-245-4444 x2621
Kiyanna x2447

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