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Build a Coalition

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build a coalition

In this section…

Why You Need a Coalition for Advocacy Work

After reading the first section of this toolkit, “Identify Your Cause,” in which we discuss how to select and research an advocacy issue, you may understandably be feeling like creating change on your chosen issue is more work than you can do alone – and it likely is! Community and industry-level problems are complex and often require multiple perspectives, strategies, and resources to fix. That is why uniting with other stakeholders and organizations to address a cause is integral to carrying out an effective advocacy campaign. Building a coalition is essential because it:

  • Eliminates unnecessary duplication of effort
  • Pools resources
  • Increases political clout

How to Bring Stakeholders Together

The coalition should be comprised of stakeholders – or those who have a stake in the success of your advocacy effort. Depending on your chosen issue, this may include:

  • Fellow NAATP Members or other treatment professionals/organizations
  • Influential community leaders
  • Community members who have personal experience with the issue
  • Policymakers
  • Organizations or professionals from other segments of the healthcare sector

Assemble your coalition starting with the network of people you know – if they are in your community, they may have the same advocacy concerns and be persuaded to join your cause. Reach out to those who are most impacted by your chosen issue, as they will recognize the value in your effort and easily be recruited. Talk to influential industry or community leaders, as they likely will have many more contacts with whom to connect.

The Role of the NAATP Alliance for State Advocacy (ASA)

As a leading membership organization for addiction treatment providers, NAATP is well-positioned to provide support, resources, and networking opportunities to our members so that they can do the important work of advocacy. To that end, we have developed the Alliance for State Advocacy (ASA) as a means of creating greater engagement and resource sharing on state and local initiatives that further the Association's mission and values.

The purpose of ASA is to bring together, at the local and state level, NAATP members and volunteers to provide training, resources, and to develop a consistent voice on public policy that enhances the access to and quality of addiction treatment services. Involvement in this forum is a member benefit. 

NAATP strongly encourages each state to create an ASA that can be formed by a group of interested volunteers who are NAATP members. The more individuals who join ASA and who are willing to share these responsibilities, the less work the State Lead must manage alone, resulting in more accomplishments on behalf of addiction professionals. A key goal for each ASA is to collaboratively plan and execute a Recovery Capitol Hill Day.

We Are Seeking ASA State Leads or Co-Leads

We are currently gathering interested NAATP Members who want to join ASA!

Are you:

  • Passionate about advocacy?
  • Eager to help create change?
  • Willing to learn and educate others on SUD topics?
  • An active NAATP member?
  • Live in the state you would like to lead?


Why Join the NAATP Alliance for State Advocacy?

  • Work together with other NAATP members in your state on local advocacy efforts.
  • Address SUD and Mental Health issues of high priority and work collaboratively to help develop and implement better policy in your state.
  • ​Become a source of specific knowledge and expertise for your State Legislature on advocacy issues at local and state levels.
  • Opportunity for leadership development through becoming a State Lead (see below), membership involvement and active participation, and networking.
  • Learn how to develop a legislative agenda.
  • Lay the groundwork for future advocacy work.
  • Flexibility for your ASA to decide when, where, and how frequently you meet.
  • Monitor legislative and regulatory information within your state.
  • Gain access to the most up-to-date public policy and advocacy information related to the SUD field.

How Does NAATP Support the Alliance for State Advocacy?

NAATP will offer resources for – but not dictate – the process of developing State Alliances. Our goal is to provide tools to allow members in each state to create and manage their own State Alliance. NAATP supports ASA through:

  • Planning Guidance
  • Data Support
  • Best Practices from our Quality Assurance Initiative
  • Letters of Support
  • Talking Points
  • NAATP Marketing Materials

Where Do I Start?

  • Sign up to receive Public Policy Alerts
  • Stay up to date with Substance Use Disorder information
  • Sign up to be part of your State Alliance
  • Gather commitments from fellow NAATP members to be part of your ASA
  • Determine how you want to organize your ASA
  • Decide what issue(s) to champion and create a Strategic Plan
  • Get resources and support from NAATP to help with your efforts!

Email request for members, share information on social media to gather interest for your ASA, and consider combining efforts with other State Groups. For example, Texas has a well-established Texas Association of Addiction Professionals.


For further reading, see our Resources List: