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Designing an Alliance System

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I am running a browser based game written in PHP.  The game genre is a Nation Simulator.  In the game, players build a simulated nation by buying skill points, purchasing technologies, trading with each other.  Players can also hurt each other by using the in game war system.

Currently, the game allows players to create simple Alliances. The only only actions player can do in regards to alliances is create, join, drop, kick.

Since the game is brand new, the player base is small, but on our official forums I have posted a thread soliciting game design ideas for an in-game alliance system.  I feel that if players contribute to that game mechanic it will help the players feel invested in the game.

At this time, I want to extend the game design opportunity to this community and see what kind of ideas we can stir up that I could possibly incorporate into Aveneia, The game I am currently running.

I would like to hear from designer and players alike.  Specifically players who have managed Guilds / Alliance / Clans in other games. 

What tools do you need / want as a player running a player group?

in the context of what is already in the game, what type of activities would you like your Alliance to be able to do? 

One idea that I have heard before is to make some sort of territory / item to have alliances fight over.  The winner of a weekly conflict gains possession of the territory / item and reaps some sort of in game bonus for having possession of it.  At the end of the week, another fight happens and the territory is up for grabs again.  Perhaps the community could elaborate on this idea.

For a little context, you can check out my game at https://www.aveneia.com as a guest player (no sign up required) and return here for a discussion.  

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