Enhancing Advocacy and Strengthening Coalition

Client: International Housing Coalition
Faculty: David Winder, Charles Bailey
Team: Rachel Beckerman, Joshua Dulle, Amanda Minkoff
Year: 2012
The Capstone team worked with the International Housing Coalition (IHC) to develop sustainable and strategic capacity building for the growing organization. With the shift of the U.S. economic landscape, cuts into the federal budget for foreign aid inhibited the IHC’s ability to fulfill its advocacy mission and secure funding for international urban development projects. To assess the IHC’s ability to function effectively as an advocacy coalition, the Capstone team took a multi-pronged approach towards capacity building, focusing on both the coalition model and lobbying process. The first step included an audit of the IHC’s 31 coalition members: conducting interviews and an on-line survey to determine members’ needs, legislative interests, and levels of engagement. To understand membership organization dynamics, the team researched best practices of effective coalitions. The second step involved collaborating with professional lobbyists to understand how organizations confront financial and ideological shifts. Ultimately, the IHC received a Microsoft Access database cataloging the key elements of their coalition membership; a detailed report containing recommendations for strengthening the IHC coalition model, better engagement with coalition members and their respective legislative priorities, improved lobbying techniques and potential legislative targets, and, finally, a strategic framework for implementing this new information.