A coalition is an agreement between two or more parties to work together to achieve a similar goal. This process is similar to putting together a puzzle. It is important to get as many people and groups together as possible to work for a common goal. One of the ways to create an effective coalition is through grassroots coalition building. Grassroots campaigns are based on developing coalitions within your community in order to influence your legislators. Through the development of coalitions within your community, you are uniting many different constituencies under a common cause. The other effective way to create a coalition is to connect with local and national groups with similar legislative goals.
Once you have built a coalition of key players from your communities, you need to call them to action. This can be a time-intensive task but worthwhile if you do it the right way. There is no better way to influence the legislature than through an organized grassroots campaign. You can activate your grassroots network through letters of support for your issue, attending town hall meetings, making phone calls, and attending face-to-face meetings with the legislator you are trying to target. These are the most effective methods to benefit your cause.
So who should you reach out to? That depends on your issue. You have to ask yourself: Are these people affected in any way by this issue? Will they see a benefit to what I am trying to do? They need to see a positive outcome for themselves, or their group, as a motivator to offer their time and support. You need to try to sell them on your issue and its benefits to the greater community.
You can potentially reach out to the following groups:
Communities and constituents
- The deaf or hard-of-hearing community
- City council
- Chamber of Commerce
- Workforce Development Office
Support groups that have state offices
National support groups
Any person or group who lives in a legislator’s district will be able to influence the legislator by contacting them. Individual constituents are, after all, the people who choose to re-elect a legislator. Creating an effective coalition of both constituents and support groups will give your cause the best chance of gaining support from legislators.