Many effective programs of change utilize collective action and coalitions. However, while there are numerous NGO and association capacity assessment tools available, there are no existing tools to assess coalitions.
Coalitions are distinctive entities. They comprise a cooperative alliance or agreement between two or more organizations around a shared goal that can be informal or formal, short- or long-term. The key distinction is that they share in profit and loss, risks and rewards. The parties in the coalition maintain their unique identities. They are not a loose “network,” an acquisition, a merger or a business relationship. The distinctive nature to coalitions makes their assessment complex.
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) “Capacity to” Collaboration Tool described here is a pilot tool that we are continuing to test. We have piloted it in Albania and Armenia where CIPE works with local coalitions. The tool is based on 14 functional areas of collaboration and 8 stages of collaboration maturity and the “5 C’s” of individual association capacity. The final draft tool, drawn from construct and content validity, includes ten dimensions areas built around three basic collective action steps: establishing a coalition, building support, and making the change. The results are calculated interactively based on the self-ratings of coalition members and their confidence in the scores they give themselves using an external facilitator. As such, this tool is based upon participatory evaluation methods and is designed to enhance local ownership and build capacity at the same time that it provides for before and after assessments. CIPE invites feedback and is willing to share the tool for others to help us further validate it for different types of coalitions in different settings.