Key Points

· Funders often focus their grants to build capacity, recognizing the important roles that leadership, skills, and infrastructure have on an organization’s effectiveness in carrying out its mission.

· This article reports on results from Mathematica Policy Research’s evaluation of Consumer Voices for Coverage, a program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support the role of consumer health advocacy coalitions in 12 states.

· The foundation based the program on a study that identified six core advocacy capacities, and designed it to strengthen these capacities.

· The evaluation found that the level of funding, substantial and targeted technical assistance, and the three-year time frame of the program contributed to the observed increases in five capacities. Fundraising remained the lowest-rated capacity for most of the coalitions and may require different or creative strategies.

· The authors propose that funders need to address three main elements of organizational or coalition capacity: knowledge, infrastructure, and resources. Each requires different types of interventions.

Open Access