Linking up – networks and coalitions

Before launching into your tax advocacy activities, and even before you develop your advocacy strategy, you’ll have thought about your allies and how you’re going to work in coalitions.

It’s worth considering the advantages and challenges of working in alliances, coalitions and networks. At their best they provide major added value to your advocacy work by bringing together the strengths and resources of diverse groups to create a more powerful force for change. They are an importanttool in ensuring that the case for tax is heard, loud and clear, by your target audiences. But they are not without their challenges. They can take time and energy to develop because they involve building relationships of trust between people and keeping people constantly informed and involved.

You should consider whether entering into an alliance will help to achieve success, or whether
some of your potential allies might be more effective as independent actors.

Make sure that you check out who else is already working on tax in your patch. Are there useful national, regional or global alliances you can forge or join forces with? When considering who you may wish to link up with in a tax advocacy alliance, coalition or network, it’s worth thinking about the different skills each organisation can bring to the table.

Ideally, you want a mixture of natural allies and some more ‘unusual’ allies that are able to demonstrate the breadth of support for the issue. For example, with tax it can be extremely helpful to have on board some professional associations or individuals such as lawyers and accountants. Equally, demonstrating support from business can strengthen your case.

You may distinguish between ‘strategic allies’ (those with whom you have a more natural allegiance and shared values, have worked with in the past and are likely to do so again) and ‘tactical allies’ (those whom you may ally with on a particular aspect of the issue or work with on this campaign alone).

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