Planning for the Future of Your Coalition: Part 2

Planning for the Future of Your Coalition Part 2
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At International Survey Associates, our mission is to work with our community partners and coalitions to provide research, resources, and data surrounding and focusing on the current issues that affect today’s youth and adolescents. This month, we’re focusing on part two of how to form a coalition successfully. Planning for the future of your coalition involves a multifaceted approach, with fundraising being a cornerstone for success. Coalitions must understand the importance of financial stability to drive their mission forward. We’ll dive into key aspects of fundraising, focusing on how to ask for money, identifying potential donors, optimizing financial resources, and leveraging the power of volunteers. 

How to Ask for Money

Asking for money, no matter the cause is always challenging. First, a coalition must clearly articulate its goals, its impact on the community, and the outcomes it aims to achieve. Emphasize the importance of substance use prevention, cultural competence, and/or community-level outcomes. To make your coalition more compelling, incorporate data from your evaluation plan, demonstrating the positive impact of your prevention efforts.

Create communication strategies that effectively convey your coalition’s story. Employing a logic model can help visualize the connections between your activities, inputs, outputs, and outcomes, making it easier for potential donors to understand the path from their contributions to the desired impact. Highlight evidence-based prevention programming that aligns with your goals and will speak to these initiatives’ impact and effectiveness.

Remember, transparency is critical. Clearly outline how the funds will be utilized, specifying the areas of prevention programming, cultural competence enhancement, and community-level outcomes you aim to address. It goes without saying, but this level of transparency builds trust and accountability with your donors.

Who to Ask for Money

Identifying the right donors is also crucial for successful fundraising. It can feel like, “Well, nearly everyone should be interested in this issue,” but leaders should start by evaluating their community’s demographics and targeting those who share a vested interest in whatever their coalition aims to do, whether that’s substance use prevention or violence prevention. They should engage with local businesses, philanthropic foundations, and government agencies that align with their coalition’s mission.

Consider partnerships with healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and businesses committed to community well-being, like grocery stores, mall owners, or other local companies. Approach these potential donors with a clear understanding of their priorities and demonstrate how supporting your coalition can contribute to their corporate social responsibility goals. Many potential companies already support local little leagues and other programs, and you can search corporate websites to learn about their philanthropic giving. 

Moreover, leverage the strength of your community coalition by involving members in the fundraising process. Develop a cultural capacity within your coalition to communicate effectively with diverse donors. Emphasize the collective power of community involvement in achieving the shared goal of a Drug-Free Community.

How to Use Your Money More Effectively

Design a detailed budget that aligns with your coalition’s goals, incorporating expenses related to prevention programming, cultural competence training, and outcome evaluation. Implement a long-term financial management system to track and account for every dollar spent.

Invest in evidence-based prevention programming with a demonstrated track record of effectiveness. This will enhance your coalition’s credibility and ensure that your efforts yield tangible outcomes. Consider allocating resources to professional development for coalition members to enhance their fundraising skills and cultural competence, fostering a more effective and inclusive approach to prevention.

Regularly evaluate (quarterly) your coalition’s financial health to plan for the future of your coalition, assessing whether resources are being allocated efficiently and whether adjustments are needed. This constant evaluation is part of a broader commitment to accountability, ensuring that your coalition remains transparent and responsible in managing its finances.

Time is Money! Get Volunteers

Volunteers are valuable players who can significantly enhance a coalition’s capacity without straining the budget. Provide opportunities for community members who are passionate about substance use prevention to contribute their time and skills.

Develop a comprehensive volunteer recruitment strategy that aligns with your coalition’s goals and values. Create roles that cater to various skill sets and interests, ensuring that volunteers are motivated and engaged. Have volunteer days where people can get together and work together toward a goal to build community and connectivity with your volunteers. These strategic approaches to volunteer management are crucial for preventing burnout and maintaining a sustainable level of commitment.

Evaluation, Accountability, and Sustainability

To ensure longevity as you plan for the future of your coalition, integrate evaluation, accountability, and sustainability into every aspect of your fundraising strategy. Develop an evaluation plan that measures the impact of your prevention efforts, focusing on community-level outcomes.

Accountability is a cornerstone of successful fundraising. Regularly communicate with donors, providing updates on the progress of your initiatives and the outcomes achieved. Establish precise accountability mechanisms within your coalition, ensuring funds are used responsibly and aligned with your stated goals.

Sustainability goes hand in hand with effective fundraising. By diversifying funding sources, cultivating strong donor relationships, and optimizing resource allocation, your coalition can establish a solid financial foundation for the future. Not all donations have to be big. In fact, many smaller donors are preferable to a few large ones since smaller donors are easier to recruit if you lose one, and losing a large donor may impact your budget significantly. Implementing the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) can further guide your coalition in strategic planning, leading to sustainable, evidence-based prevention efforts. 

Fundraising is an integral component of planning for the future of your coalition. By strategically approaching how to ask for money, identifying the right donors, using funds effectively, and harnessing the power of volunteers, your coalition can establish a strong financial foundation. Integrating concepts such as evaluation, accountability, sustainability, and the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) ensures that your efforts are impactful and designed for long-term success. 

If you would like more information on our survey options or planning for the future of your coalition, International Survey Associates offers many options to fit various needs. 


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