This multimethod study investigates strategic collaboration in alliances connecting politically engaged religious and secular social movement organizations. We assess the impact of religious-secular strategic alliances on movement political efficacy by analyzing data from a national survey of the community organizing field to compare organizations that do/do not participate in religious-secular alliances. The conceptual framework draws on the literatures in social movements, political sociology, and organizational sociology to argue that political efficacy is fundamentally shaped by an organization's strategic capacity and mobilizing capacity. We analyze four organizational outputs that serve as indicators of strategic capacity and find that participating in religious-secular alliances is associated with greater strategic capacity but lower mobilizing capacity. A complementary ethnographic case study identifies likely mechanisms underlying both findings. Our analysis suggests that collaboration across the religious-secular divide can increase a movement’s political efficacy within a democratic polity but with accompanying complexities that participants must manage.

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