Community organizing is a democratic strategy used by social movements, labor unions, under-represented communities, and marginalized groups to gain rights, win collective political power, and create positive change. While there are many different types of online and offline organizing, the main job of an organizer is to create unity (and solidarity), then help their community work together to solve problems and reach shared goals.
Done well, community organizing is one of the most powerful strategies in the world for social change. Throughout history there are many examples of small communities who generated major media awareness, transformed culture, and overcome major, systemic oppression through smart, effective organizing (all with limited money, resources, and social support).
Organizing is hard, often thankless work. It can be tremendously rewarding and important, but it’s rarely easy. The best, most effective organizers are people who genuinely care about the community and mission they’re serving, put others first, and are powered by the love and positivity they feel doing the work.
Community organization aims to organize, mobilize and educate people to build a sense of community. By doing so, the community gains power or influence over issues concerning their welfare.
- Bringing together people and/or institutions to engage in collective dialogue and action for change;
- Building grassroots leadership by training members of the community in organizing and civic engagement skills;
- Building political power by mobilizing large numbers of people around a unified vision and purpose
- Recognizing that problems and their solutions are systemic and thus focusing on accountability, equity, and quality for all, rather than the gains of some
- Understanding that systems are a central part of community’s well-being and that improving them also includes building the economic, cultural, and political well-being of the community;
- Aiming to alter longstanding power relationships in communities
- Bringing public attention to an issue, demonstrating that large numbers of people are concerned
- Putting pressure on decision-makers or public systems when necessary.
Facts & Figures
- There are over 41,833 Community Organizers currently employed in the United States.
- 53.8% of all Community Organizers are women, while 39.9% are men.
- The average age of an employed Community Organizer is 42 years old.
- The most common ethnicity of Community Organizers is White (59.1%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (20.3%) and Black or African American (9.1%).
- The majority of Community Organizers are located in New York and Chicago.
- Community Organizers are paid an average annual salary of $38,389.
- Community Organizers average starting salary is $27,000.
- 10% of all Community Organizers are LGBT.
- Community organizers are more likely to work at private companies than educational organizations.
7 Steps of Community Organizing
Integrate into the community. …
Identify issues impacting the community. …
Set goals and objectives. …
Identify individuals and create core groups. …
Create an action plan to meet goals. …
Execute and monitor the action plan. …
Evaluate the effect of the action plan on the stated goals.
Public school parents who organize to demand a high-quality education for their children.
Neighbors who organize to address potholes in the road and other infrastructure issues.
Laid-off factory workers who organize to protest the shipping of jobs overseas.