A How to Guide for Wellness Coalitions

Download the Complete High Resolution Guide or download it in parts below.

Operating Guide

Workbook

Toolkit

Resource Guide

Overview

In short, a Wellness Coalition is a group of individuals with a common interest in improving the overall health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. This may involve influencing or developing public policies, creating program, and implementing initiatives that change people’s behavior. Wellness Coalitions are formed to support the vitality of the people in the coalition’s service area and each coalition will be unique with different purposes, goals and desired outcomes. 

 Wellness Coalition Goals

  • Bring wellness programs and resources to your community;
  • Raise awareness of healthy lifestyles and choices;
  • Focus on your community’s assets and strengths;
  • Engage community members in wellness activities and healthy lifestyles;
  • Complete community projects that have a positive impact; and
  • Set a examples of healthy lifestyles for younger generations.

Desired Outcomes

  • Improve the quality of lives in your community;
  • Cultivate important life skills: confidence, coping mechanisms, communication, healthy decision-making;
  • Create a vibrant, healthy community; and
  • Create a culture of wellness on your community.

 Coalition Member Responsibilities and Duties 

  • Attend scheduled Wellness Coalition meetings (to the best of your ability);
  • Disseminate wellness information throughout the community; 
  • Help organize a minimum of 1 events per month; 
  • Participate in Wellness Coalition activities and program; and
  • Engage other community members to participate in wellness activities and the Coalition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I start a coalition in my community?

  • To empower the community to take control of its future;
  •  To address an urgent situation;
  • To create long-term, permanent social change:
    • Having the structure, commitment, and cooperation of a coalition can influence and at times accelerate the process of change in a community;
  • To obtain or provide services:
    • It may take the formation and presence of a coalition to design, obtain funding for, and/or operate a needed program in the community; and
  • To increase communication among groups and break down stereotypes.

Who should be part of a coalition?

Coalition members are often diverse have but have one thing in common: working toward the goal of a healthier community. Potential members include:

  • Stakeholders; 
    • These are the people who have a stake in the success of the coalition's efforts. This may include the general public, school officials, local government officials, public safety officers, etc.
  •  Community leaders;
    • The participation of local leaders and others in decision-making position will both add credibility and increase the chances that you can influence policy in your community.
  • Youth;
  • Youth Council; 
  • Elders; and
  • Anyone with a willingness to ACT!

How do I start a Wellness Coalition?

You’ve made the bold step to form a coalition in your community. How do you actually go about starting one?

  • Put together a core group.
    • You're probably not alone in your concerns about the issue at hand in your community. Start by reaching out to people you know and then make contact with organizations most affected by and involved with wellness issues.
  • Recruit members to the coalition.
    • Now that you have a core group you can start recruiting members. It is important to be ainclusive as possible and to reach out to the community using multiple means (flyers, newspaper, radio)
  • Plan and hold the first meeting. 
    • The first meeting of a coalition is important to start the coalition off on the right foot. Content for the first meeting may include:
      • Defining the issue or problem around which the coalition has come together;
      • Hearing input from the community and coalition members;
      • Discuss the structure of the coalition; and
      • Start the process of creating a common vision and direction of the coalition.

 

  • Follow up on the first meeting
  • Next Steps
    • There are a number of specific things that need to be done to make sure that the coalition keeps moving forward.
      • Gather information;
      • Finish creating vision and mission statements;
      • Complete an action plan;
      • Outreach to community;
      • Finish the work of designing a structure for the coalition;
      • Determine what resources you need - financial, material, informational, etc.; and
      • Start the work of implementing action items and maintaining the coalition over time.

What are some useful tips for getting a coalition off the ground?

  • Be as inclusive as possible;
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate!
    •  Make sure that lines of communication within the coalition and to the community are open and often.    
  • Set attainable goals;
  • Respect everyone’s thoughts and idea;
  • Be realistic and keep your promises; and
  • Acknowledge diversity among your members, and among their ideas and beliefs.