Health Care Coalitions:  A Lack of Perceived Benefits

Health Care Coalitions: A Lack of Perceived Benefits

Making a change in your community for the greater good is a very large project.  Not only do you have to get your community interested and to "buy-in" to what you're trying to do, you also have to create a team of people to get it done.  Finding members who have passion and a will to complete tasks and be active in a coalition is the key to success. But how do you do that?

In order to cultivate participation, you must outline the value for the participant.  In other words, spell out "What's in it for me?"  These participation tasks must have greater value than the cause.  That is to say, the benefits must outweigh the cost of participating.  Sad but true, many coalitions fail when the costs of participation (especially time) greatly outweigh the benefits of being a part of the coalition.

While costs and benefits vary enormously from individual to individual and from community to community, it is up to the coalition to do an assessment of what people are looking for and to stay in touch with whether they are getting it.  Nobody wants frustrated members to be at the table, and it works best when everyone wants to do their part.  As an effective leader, you will need to decide, delegate, and recognize members to complete tasks.  The overall goal in this case is to keep them engaged and wanting to continue on the coalition.  The moment you start to lose them is also the moment that your coalition will start to lose focus.  Ultimately, you need to find ways to increase benefits and decrease costs for the individuals.

Here are some tips to increase benefits:

  • Increase networking opportunities,
  • Provide information sharing sessions,
  • Provide access to resources,
  • Pool your resources,
  • Make sure everyone is on the same page and involved with the same cause,
  • Have a shared mission,
  • Have the ability to attain desired outcomes,
  • Enhance visibility,
  • Remind the coalition that there is "Power in Numbers,"
  • Enjoy Coalition Work and members--BUILD RELATIONSHIPS,
  • Provide personal recognition, and
  • Build skills.

Many organizations have a greater goal.  They see the end result and have something to work towards.  Each coalition will need to have members that also have objectives and tasks to complete, that will ultimately contribute to the end result.  Often times, we will fail at coalition building because it is one sided.  If only one member is doing all the work, the other members will not see a benefit to their own participation.  We need to remember what it costs to be part of a coalition, especially if our members are volunteers.

Here are some examples of Costs:

  • Time
  • Loss of Autonomy
  • Compromise
  • Expending Scarce Resources
  • Unfavorable Image of Association
  • Lack of Direction
  • Reduced Visibility/Recognition
  • Negative Exposure
  • Middle-Ground Tendency
  • Obscured Voices


We need to look at the costs that our members have and empower them to continue working on the coalition by increasing benefits.  Sometimes, it's as simple as recognizing their efforts and the work they have done in the coalition.  A little pat on the back never hurts anyone and helps the members have pride in what they are doing.  Appreciation goes along way.  Whether it's this barrier of lack of perceived benefits or another barrier, the bottom line is that we need to gather people around us to work in our coalitions, so we can get the job done.


Today, healthcare coalitions focus on emergency preparedness and response...There is no room for barriers; let alone lack of perceived benefits.  Everyone at your planning table will have their own goals and objectives, but at the same time, their overarching goal should be in-line with the coalition's goal.  They should all be engaged and respond appropriately.  The only barrier they should have is not over-stepping.  If you have members in your coalition that do not see a benefit to your coalition, speak with them.  Find out the real reason why they do not see benefit.  Is it the overall concept of a coalition?  Is it that they don't see their role in an emergency response?  Find out what their personal barrier is, and work towards creating benefits for them to be more engaged, empowered, and involved in your healthcare coalition.  In a real-world emergency, there will be too much to deal with to not have everyone on board.  Working together is the only way a successful response can be done, and finding the benefits to keep them engaged and on board is just as crucial.  Stay tuned for next month's barrier--"Failure to Act".

Remember the goal:  Bridge the Gaps to build a strong foundation for greater community resiliency.


Previous Coalition Building Articles:



About Tsoetsy
Tsoetsy, pronounced Cho-Chee, is an Independent Consultant whose focus is in emergency planning, with specialized training in public information and exercise design.  Tsoetsy has worked with public health departments and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)/Community Health Centers (CHCs).  Her vision is to bridge the gaps in preparedness planning by fostering relationships, streamlining processes, providing clear public communication, training, and exercising.  Her motto is "Prepare, Practice, Play!"  Tsoetsy can be reached at or on LinkedIn.


Tsoetsy Harris, MPH, MEP

Tsoetsy Harris, MPH, MEP

Independent Consultant

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In all we do, we seek to reduce human suffering and loss of life caused by disasters.

We get it done by connecting the preparedness efforts of healthcare organizations, emergency management agencies, and public health departments through effective, financially self-sustaining healthcare coalitions.

Yes, we believe healthcare coalitions are the path forward.

Karl Schmitt, Passionate Founder & CEO, bParati

Karl SchmittPassionate Founder & CEO

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