There is power in numbers. A group of people trying to make change can be more effective than an individual, and similarly a group of organizations working together for change can be more effective than one organization acting on its own. Activists and organizers have been building coalitions as a way to reach their goals for a long time.
There are many reasons why a GSA would want to form or be a part of a coalition in their school. Here are just a few examples of what that could look like:
Forming and maintaining coalitions isn’t easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Here are some tips to make your coalitions run a little more smoothly:
- Work together to create a common goal that is achievable and benefits all the members of the coalition. If one group comes up with a goal and then invites other groups to “help”, they will feel less ownership over the goal than if they had been at the planning table from the beginning. This means there will have to be some compromise.
- Recognize that different groups will come with different skills, strengths, and resources. A group with 20 members may be able to put in a little more work than a group with only 5, and a group that is well-funded should be willing to put more money forward.
- Spend time building relationships with one another as coalition members. Show up and volunteer at one another’s events. Taking the time to build mutual trust and respect will make it easier to work together and hold one another accountable down the road.
- Give credit where it is due. If one club puts their name on everything and doesn’t acknowledge the work of the rest of the coalition, people will feel hurt.
If your GSA was part of a successful coalition at your school, we would love to hear about it! Hearing successful stories of coalition building will encourage others to build their own.
Download a PDF version of this resource here.
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