Pyramid of Engagement

Our Purpose

The Pyramid of Engagement is designed as a resource for meaningful and strategic engagement between partners and allies. Often consumer health advocates bring some of the most influential individuals and organizations together through coalition building, and this tool provides step-to-step guidance for engaging current and potential partners in various campaigns and issues.


Serves as a decision-maker or thought leader and/or engages and/or lead others in the work


Fully invested in the mission & success of the organization, a program, or campaign


Contributes time & financial or social capital to the organization, a program, or campaign


Understands the cause and is interested in learning more and possibly participating or increasing commitment


Has knowledge of an issue or cause


Pyramid of Engagement Examples:

  • Maryland Example: Maryland Citizen’ Health Initiative engaged Baltimore’s Black faith community in their outreach, education and enrollment efforts.
  • Pennsylvania Example: The Pennsylvania Health Access Network and their partners engaged community members in their Housing as Health campaign.
  • Washington Example: Washington Community Action Network (Washington CAN!) engaged Native Americans in Washington State in their efforts to improve quality of health care and health conditions for Native Americans.

A Tool for Coalition Building

Coalition building is an essential part of the system of advocacy, as it aims to bring consumer voice to health policy change and support causes that share fundamental missions for social justice.  However, Community Catalyst recognizes that the most difficult part of coalition building is maintaining and sustaining effective coalitions. Each level of the pyramid includes our definitions of engagement at that level and examples of what kinds of activities might fall under that level of engagement.

Our Approach

Rather than focusing solely on leadership or raising awareness, Community Catalyst has identified five dynamic levels of engagement that are each important. While a goal towards leadership may be ideal, the reality is that few individuals and organizations have the capacity or time to truly engage in leadership at all times. Furthermore, always striving to work at higher levels of engagement may not necessarily mean that this will be “better” for a cause (i.e., it might mean there is a lot less “doing” and a lot more thinking/strategizing). It is therefore important to note that engagement between coalitions in this pyramid is not static, but that it fluctuates depending on the shifting priorities of a cause or a campaign. Consequently, organizations need to realize the unique capacities and interest of each partner in order to most meaningfully balance and build upon engagement across these different levels.

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