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Leveraging Coalitions for Effective Advocacy in Washington, DC

In DC, where policymakers and staff are inundated with countless issues every day, coalition building is a pragmatic strategy for gaining traction and making real change. By uniting various stakeholders under a common cause, coalitions can effectively grab policymakers' attention and secure significant policy wins. By bringing together diverse organizations, businesses, and government entities with shared concerns, coalitions demonstrate a broad-based consensus on pressing issues, making it harder for policymakers to ignore them.

The most impactful coalitions have the following traits:

Geographic Diversity: A coalition with representation from across the country underscores the widespread significance of the issues. It shows regional need and allows coalitions to build congressional champions based on stakeholder footprint.

Organizational Diversity: A mix of companies, nonprofits, think tanks, and local governments within a coalition provides a comprehensive perspective and strengthens its credibility by showcasing broad-based support for policy change. It’s helpful to show both an on-the-ground need, as well as the economic impact of the multiple stakeholders represented.

Long-Term Commitment: Successful coalitions demonstrate a commitment to sustained advocacy efforts over time, recognizing that meaningful change often requires ongoing engagement and persistence. Most issues cannot be solved within one Congress, and that education and legislative movement takes a multi-year approach.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Effective coalitions are nimble, adaptable, and able to respond to shifting political dynamics, policy priorities, and external challenges, while also remaining focused on their core objectives. While a unified – and limited – agenda is a priority, being able to pivot and seek wins based off of new political realities is vital.

At Brumidi Group, we have led multiple coalitions and served as strategic partners to many more. We have seen the power of coalitions firsthand. Committee staffers take note when coalitions show up with policy priorities that have been vetted and approved by each of the coalition members. Additionally, coalitions offer an expansive audience for government officials to share information knowing that they will reach broad networks through diverse coalitions.

Finding the coalition that best fits your organization – or starting a new coalition – can shape the policymaking agenda if done right. By building an effective and active coalition, organizations can create a unified voice and elevate the policy in a way that might not be possible with a singular voice.


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