Start a Coalition

Section 4: Institutionalization Stage (Keeping the Momentum and Energy)

Strategies to Engage Additional Members

A successful coalition depends upon the active engagement of the coalition’s members. Ensuring the appropriate people are “at the table” and ensuring that the coalition has a process for recruiting and maintaining its members is key. Creating consistent messaging about the coalition’s goals and priorities will help solidify the group’s identity and purpose.

  • Voices from diverse communities are imperative for successful strategy development and implementation.

  • Meet people where they are –you can’t always expect people to come to you. This goes for both coalition meetings and program implementation. 

  • Identify who is missing from the coalition. Is there a health care system or community partner working in falls prevention, but not part of the coalition?

  • Ask existing members/partners to invite colleagues or missing representatives. Use contacts and connections where they already exist.

Key tip: Target the ask of participation in the coalition instead of broadly asking if anyone wants to join. (Is there a health care system missing that has high utilization of either or both inpatient and/or ER); know the people you work with – where do they receive their healthcare? Conduct an annual review of “who’s here? who’s not here?” then, reach out to individuals to broaden coalition representation. Ensure EMS involvement and both rural AND inner-city representation.


Potential Coalition Partners

Regular Communication/Updates

Clear, consistent communication and expectations are important to maintain shared goals and objectives as a coalition. Determining the protocols for ongoing meetings and smaller subcommittees will help keep the work moving forward.

  • Schedule meetings on a regular schedule so coalition members know what to expect. Provide virtual/call-in options, Zoom/Teams meetings.

  • Don’t meet too frequently. Establish smaller workgroups that can meet in between coalition meetings to help keep work moving forward.

  • Agree on a central location to host ongoing in-person meetings.

  • Meet at a time that works for all/majority coalition members- early meetings before the workday begins or late afternoon/evening after the workday concludes.

  • Allow meeting time for updates (class/event offerings, policy changes), round robin, etc.

  • Review onboarding process with new members.


After your coalition is formed, it’s important to consider what will keep it viable. This may include motivation itself for the work, as well as financial and in-kind contributions to help sustain the work. The following includes ways to keep the momentum going after your coalition creation.

  • Leverage who you have at the table, everyone that is a part of the coalition has something to offer whether it’s an older adult, a health care representative, or a senior center director. Think outside of the monetary value and look for in-kind contributions like space, volunteers, organizational resources, knowledge, connections, etc.

  • At community annual falls prevention event (if applicable), be intentional about recruiting older adults (wide range of ages) as part of the effort.  (Ex. La Crosse used a placemat with information about improving strength/balance/mobility, shoe safety, Coalition outreach, membership, how to get involved/connect, benefits, and commitment). 

  • Connect with other organizations or Coalitions that may intersect with the work.  

  • At least one organization should serve as the “backbone” to ensure a strong foundation for the coalition. The “backbone” organization can keep the work moving forward but also help with initial financial resources for the work.

  • Rotate the Coalition’s chairpersons (at least 2, for a 1- or 2-year commitment) so the work is shared and to maintain engagement.

  • Follow up with members of the group who are unable to attend workgroup meetings.

  • Highlight wins annually to help with momentum and sustainability of the group.

  • Incorporate fund development into the work of the coalition – identify potential grant opportunities, work with the county to identify resources that align with improving strength, balance, mobility, home and environmental risks, etc.  Align with local organizations and potential funding sources.

  • Create manageable and achievable set of objectives. Set the coalition up for success by prioritizing the few critical goals. 

Obtaining Funding

Coalition work often requires a certain amount of funding to help sustainability. A coalition might simultaneously create a financial plan for its work alongside the goals, objectives, and priorities the coalition is hoping to achieve. Ensuring the financial sustainability of the coalition is important to guarantee the work of the coalition continues.

  • Incorporate a fund development strategy into the work of the coalition.

  • Identify whether or whether not one organization should take the lead on grants and other funding opportunities.

  • Identify if an organization provides in-kind a grant writer for a specific application. 

  • Provide examples of how coalition members pool resources when there’s an expense. Make this a group decision (helps with engagement).

  • Provide examples of funding sources currently invested in falls prevention. (United Way, Bader Philanthropies, RTAC – Regional Trauma Advisory Council).

Create Methods for Sharing the Work of the Coalition with the Community

Communicating your coalition’s work with the various audiences maximizes your coalition’s efforts. Create goals/objectives and a financial plan for sustainability, but also communicate your coalition work to help increase awareness, interest, engagement, and longevity.  

  • Create materials that can be shared with various audiences (Providers, community members, etc.).

  • Utilize marketing skills/expertise from organizations of coalition members to ensure consistent messaging.

  • Utilize social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, website).

  • Be intentional and identify community groups who would welcome learning about the goals and work of the Coalition. This could lead to opportunities to leverage partnership and even potential funding.  

  • Have a process to find and review resources and best practices and share with other stakeholders.  (Link resources to updated websites).

Example Social Media Posts

Stay Connected

There are a few different groups that meet regularly to talk about falls prevention throughout the state, including local falls and injury prevention coalitions. The State Falls Prevention Quarterly Collaborative works together to increase fall prevention efforts, share best practices, and support the work happening at county levels. The Collaborative includes members of coalitions from over 13 counties throughout the state of Wisconsin. The Collaborative meets quarterly. For any questions contact Suzie Ryer: or Ann Gallo:

In addition, the Falls Free Wisconsin Coalition meets regularly to support falls prevention initiatives statewide. The coalition includes representation from ADRCs and aging offices, senior centers, healthcare, public health, physical therapy and more. Join the coalition

The Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, in collaboration with the Falls Free Wisconsin Coalition, is happy to provide technical assistance to any individuals and organizations interested in starting a coalition, or for other falls prevention-related activities. Request technical assistance here, or email

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