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Global Interdependence Initiative
CONTINUOUS PROGRESS Better Advocacy Through Evaluation
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“Coalitions are force multipliers; they allow you to expand beyond the number of people you could reach on your own.”

— Carolyn Bartholomew, Basic Education Coalition


The Coordination Team of the UK's Make Poverty History campaign commissioned an impact evaluation of the 2005 campaign's efforts. The evaluation sought to answer: What progress did the Coalition make against its objectives during 2005? What were the strengths and weaknesses of the coalition's approach and set up? What lessons can be learned for the future? Read more »

Assessing Coalition Health

If you decided to fund a coalition of organizations to work toward an advocacy goal, it will be important to periodically assess the coalition's health. Along with monitoring and evaluating advocacy activities, one important capacity-building benchmark you should be watching for is the emergence of a capable advocacy coalition that can take on more challenges in the next campaign.

Grantmakers should encourage grantees to perform a mid-term coalition assessment and ensure that they assess the results and use them to improve the coalition.

Some coalitions may find the evaluation politically sensitive, either in terms of relations with you or other grantmakers, or between coalition partners. Encourage grantees to establish a mechanism for coalition partners to provide anonymous feedback so that a system of check and balances is standardized and continual progress is possible.

Below are some key questions to ask the coalition during the assessment. (These are also available in the toolkit.)

  • Has it been clear who is doing what? Are there instances when roles are unclear? What suggestions do partners have to clarify roles?
  • Is the group following the coalition process flow? Is the process breaking down? If so, should it be altered or should coalition partners stick more closely to the process?
  • How is the coordinator or management committee performing? Does everyone feel adequately represented in the coalition?
  • Have unplanned events happened since the last coalition check-in? How did the coalition respond? What can be improved for handling the next unplanned event?
  • Is the funding allocation plan working according to what was originally established? Do all coalition partners feel they have adequate funding to perform their advocacy tasks?
  • Is communication between coalition partners and the coalition clear? Is there enough space and room for feedback from all partners?
  • Is the coalition making incremental improvements in its organizational coherence, for instance in communication or mobilization targets (a capacity-building benchmark!)? What are some indicators of positive or negative functionality?
  • Is there trust and mutual respect within the coalition? Are most members still engaged?

Some findings of the coalition assessment may lead to changes that the coalition may need to make internally. The assessment may also pose challenges that are beyond the coalition's immediate power to address. As a grantmaker, be aware of this potential: you may be called into conversations where difficult decisions about the coalition need to be made.


  • Assessing a coalition can be a sensitive and political undertaking for grantees. Being aware of this dynamic ahead of time can help you assess the degree of involvement you should have in the process.
  • A coalition evaluation is only useful if the coalition intends to act upon the outcomes. As a grantmaker, your level of monitoring of the coalition assessments can help to ensure that the information is utilized to improve the capacity of the coalition to advocate effectively.