TIPS

Assess the Landscape of Existing and Potential Coalition Partners

Stakeholder analysis is a key step for exploring shared interests and identifying the potential risks and benefits of developing coalitions. Use existing tools, like the Ready by 21 Stakeholder Wheel, to begin your coalition building with a comprehensive scan of the landscape of stakeholders with a vested interest in out-of-school time. In communities with established out-of-school time coalitions, use this same tool to identify gaps in representation.

 

Develop and Solidify Your Coalition

Now that you have a more holistic picture of the stakeholders occupying the community landscape on out-of-school time, focus actions on engaging new partners to potentially join the coalition. This is a good time to develop partner agreements (if you do not already have them) that clarify expectations and outline partner commitments to the coalition. It is also an ideal time to revisit any existing action or strategic plans with these new coalition members on board.

 

Connect to Other Local and Statewide Afterschool Networks

http://outofschooltime2.unitedway.org/_img/22.jpgStatewide afterschool networks currently exist in about 37 states.  These networks, supported with significant investments from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, work individually and collectively on three key goals: (1) creating and sustaining statewide, regional and local partnerships focused on policy development; (2) securing additional resources for afterschool programs to support and sustain out-of-school time initiatives; and (3) supporting statewide systems focused on out-of-school time quality.  Where applicable, your local coalition should connect with your statewide afterschool network to align and leverage efforts for maximum impact.  To find out if your state has a statewide afterschool network, click here. Similarly, many local networks and intermediaries are working collaboratively to share systems-building best practices across the country — one group to watch is the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems, a group of local out-of-school time intermediaries focused on working together to strengthen city-based approaches so that these initiatives are an essential component of wrap-around supports for children and youth. 

 

Take Action

Go to "What Actions Can Coalitions Take to Strengthen Out-of-School Time Systems" to get ideas.

 

Measure the Value Add of Your Out-of-School Time Coalition

Coalitions serve as change agents— a collective voice on key issues of community concern that individual stakeholders may not have. Your out-of-school time coalition exists to focus on systems improvement and capacity building (not direct services). You can leverage and generate resources, build the individual capacities of your members, and create economies of scale by investing in infrastructure to support services and programs. But this work often goes unseen and unaccounted for, in contrast to the greater efforts put into documenting program outcomes. Your coalition must learn to document and describe your efforts and capture the impact of your coalition - in relation to desired outcomes for children and youth.