Community Organizing: Examples and Strategy

12-minute read

Community organizing is a process where people join together to find and work on things they care about. This might mean making friends with others in the community, thinking about what everyone wants, and doing things together to make a difference. Community organizing is very important for making changes that we want to see. By working together, we can make our voices heard and make the world a better place.


In this blog post, I want to highlight the importance of community organizing and why it is critical in our efforts to create a more just and equitable society. Whether we’re working to improve access to education, healthcare, or housing, community organizing is essential for bringing about meaningful change.

We will cover the following:

  1. What is community organizing, and what are its benefits?
  2. How can community organizing make a difference in the world?
  3. What is a community organization?
  4. What are some of the key principles of community organizing?
  5. What kinds of people make for great community organizers?
  6. What are some of the challenges faced by community organizers?
  7. What tools can community organizers use to be more effective?
  8. What are some famous examples of community organizing?
  9. What is the future of community organizing?
  10. How can you get involved in community organizing?

What is community organizing, and what are its benefits?

Community organizing focuses on working with people who live in the same community to bring about social and political change by building power and civic engagement. This can involve working with local officials to improve living conditions to fighting for better education or healthcare options.

Community organizing has several benefits. It gives members a voice and a way to make their voices heard and helps build community spirit and strengthen community ties. But it is about much more than just holding endless meetings. Community organizing is about collective action to improve community conditions and create change. Community organizing can also help promote social and political change and make a real difference in the lives of people who need it most.

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How can community organizing make a difference in the world?

Community organizing seeks to make a difference in the world by giving folk a voice and a way to bring about change by building local grassroots groups and organizations in their local community. Folks join community empowerment groups to improve education, healthcare, or housing access. Community organizing gives us the tools and support to create positive change in our communities and beyond.

What is a community organization?

A community organization is a group or network of people who work collaboratively on common goals and issues. Some community organizations may be local groups, while others may have a formal structure and larger membership base.

Sometimes the issue a group faces is more than just a neighborhood thing. In this instance, community organizations can be national or even international in their scope.

Regardless of their size or structure, community organizations are essential in supporting community development and social change efforts.

What are some of the key principles of community organizing?

Some of the key principles of effective community organizing include the following:

  1. Relationship-building: Community organizing is based on the idea that strong, positive relationships among members are critical for bringing about change. Community leaders work to build trust and connections in the community and to create a sense of shared purpose.
  2. Empowerment: Community organizing is focused on empowering individuals and communities to take control of their own lives and shape the conditions that affect them. Local leadership must build members’ skills, confidence, and capacity and give them the tools and support they need to take action and bring about change.
  3. Collective action: Community organizing is based on the idea that collective action is more effective than individual action in achieving change. Organizers work to bring members together and to facilitate their participation in collective efforts to address common issues or achieve shared goals.
  4. Democracy and participation: Community organizing is grounded in the belief that all members should have an equal say in the decisions that affect them. Organizers work to promote democracy and participation and to ensure that the voices and perspectives of all people are heard and respected.
  5. Inclusion and diversity: Community organizing recognizes that communities are diverse and that the participation and contributions of all members are valuable. Organizers work to foster an inclusive and equitable environment and to ensure that all members have an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from organizing efforts.

What kinds of people make for great community organizers?

Great community leaders are passionate about bringing about positive change through local leadership in their communities and collective power and are committed to empowering others to take action. They are often people who are:

  1. Strong communicators: Great community organizers can effectively communicate with and engage a wide range of people, including members, decision-makers, and other stakeholders. They can listen to and understand the perspectives and needs of others and clearly and persuasively convey information and ideas.
  2. Collaborative and inclusive: A great community organizer can work well with others and foster collaboration and partnership among diverse groups and individuals. They are inclusive and respectful of different perspectives and experiences and can bring people together to work towards common goals.
  3. Persistent and resilient: Great community organizers can persevere and maintain their commitment and energy over the long term, even facing challenges and setbacks. They are resilient, adaptable, and can hold a positive attitude and focus on their goals despite obstacles or difficulties.
  4. Organized and strategic: Great community organizers can plan and execute effective organizing campaigns, including setting clear goals, identifying strategies and tactics, and tracking and evaluating progress. They can think and act strategically and make informed decisions based on data and feedback.
  5. Passionate and inspiring: A great community organizer is passionate about their work and can inspire and motivate others to take action. They can articulate a vision and a sense of purpose that resonates with community members and encourages them to get involved and make a difference.

Check out this post for tips on recruiting great community organizers.

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What are some of the challenges faced by community organizers?

There are several challenges that community organizers may face, including:

  1. Resistance or skepticism from community members: Many people may be hesitant or skeptical about participating in community organizing efforts, mainly if they have not previously been involved in similar activities. Organizers may need to work to overcome these attitudes and build trust and support within the community.
  2. Lack of resources or support: Community organizing can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, and organizers may face challenges securing the necessary funding, staffing, and other resources to support their efforts.
  3. Limited impact or influence: Even when organizers successfully bring folk together and take action, there is no guarantee that their efforts will have the desired impact or influence on decision-makers or other stakeholders. Organizers may need to be strategic and persistent to achieve their goals.
  4. Burnout or turnover: Organizing can be demanding and emotionally taxing, and organizers may face challenges in maintaining their own commitment and energy over the long term. Additionally, they may face turnover or other challenges in maintaining a stable and effective organizing team.
  5. Competition or conflict: Community organizing can be highly competitive and political, and organizers may face challenges in differentiating their efforts from those of other organizations or groups or navigating conflicts or rivalries.
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Overall, community organizers may face various challenges in their work and must be prepared to adapt and overcome them to achieve their goals and bring about positive change in their communities.

What tools can community organizers use to be more effective?

Community organizers can use key tools and strategies to build community relationships, develop leadership skills, engage the community in decision-making, and use data to understand community needs and inform advocacy efforts. These tools can help community organizers be more effective in their work and achieve better outcomes for the community they serve.

Some common online tools and companies that are used for community organizing for the purpose of voter registration and mobilization include:

  1. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, can be used to share information about voter registration deadlines, polling locations, and other election-related information, as well as to engage with the community and mobilize support for voter turnout efforts.
  2. Online tools for communication and collaboration, such as Slack, Google Hangouts, or Zoom, can facilitate discussions and coordinate activities among organizers and community members, such as organizing volunteer teams to conduct voter registration drives or canvassing efforts.
  3. Event planning and management tools, such as WithOthers, Eventbrite, or Meetup, can be used to promote and manage voter registration and mobilization events, such as voter education workshops, live music concerts, or volunteer training sessions.
  4. Online fundraising and donation management tools, such as GoFundMe or, can be used to raise money to support voter registration and turnout efforts or to fund specific projects or initiatives related to voter engagement.
  5. Online data collection and analysis tools, such as SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, can gather information from community members about their voting preferences and habits or track and analyze data related to voter registration and turnout efforts.

Overall, these online tools and companies can help support and facilitate community organizing for voter registration and mobilization by providing a way to communicate quickly, collaborate, and share information with the community and other organizers, and track and evaluate the impact of organizing efforts.

What are some famous examples of community organizing?

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The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s saw community leaders working to register Black voters in the South, often in the face of violent resistance and intimidation. Through grassroots organizing efforts, community organizers were able to help thousands of African Americans to register to vote and participate in elections, which played a critical role in advancing the Civil Rights Movement and achieving greater equality and justice.

Chicago Latino Voters

In the 1980s, a community organizing effort in Chicago worked to register and turn out Latino voters, who were often overlooked and underrepresented in politics. Through door-to-door outreach and voter education efforts, organizers were able to help thousands of Latinos to register to vote and participate in elections, which significantly impacted the political landscape in Chicago and beyond.

Barack Obama 2008

In 2008, community organizers played a key role in the historic election of Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States. Organizers worked to register and turn out voters in key swing states, particularly among young people and communities of color, who were crucial to Obama’s victory.

North Carolina Constitutional Amendment

In 2012, community organizers in North Carolina were instrumental in organizing a successful voter registration and turnout effort in the state, which helped to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that would have restricted the rights of same-sex couples. Through outreach, education, and mobilization efforts, organizers could register thousands of new voters and turn them out on election day, which was a key factor in the amendment’s defeat.

Florida Right to Vote

In 2018, community organizers in Florida played a critical role in passing a ballot initiative to restore the right to vote to individuals with past felony convictions. Through voter education and mobilization efforts, organizers could register and turn out thousands of previously disenfranchised voters, which was a key factor in the initiative’s success.

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What is the future of community organizing?

The future of community organizing will likely involve a combination of continued growth and evolution, as well as new challenges and opportunities. Some potential developments that may shape the future of community organizing include:

  1. Increased use of technology: As technology continues to advance and become more accessible, community leaders will likely increasingly incorporate digital tools and platforms into their work, such as for communication, collaboration, and outreach.
  2. Greater focus on social justice and equity: As awareness and concern about social justice and equity issues grows, community organizers are likely to increasingly prioritize and focus on these issues in their work, including advocating for policy changes, addressing systemic inequality, and supporting marginalized communities.
  3. Growing interest and involvement from young people: As younger generations become more politically engaged and socially conscious, they are likely to play an increasingly important role in community organizing efforts, both as organizers themselves and as leaders and participants in organizing efforts.
  4. Continued emphasis on collaboration and partnerships: As community challenges become more complex and interrelated, community organizers will likely emphasize collaboration and partnerships with other organizations and institutions to leverage resources and expertise and achieve greater impact.
  5. More diverse and inclusive organizing approaches: As the demographics of communities continue to evolve and diversify, community organizers are likely to increasingly adopt diverse and inclusive approaches to organizing that reflect and respond to the needs and experiences of a wider range of community members.

Overall, the future of community organizing is likely to be marked by continued growth and innovation, as well as new challenges and opportunities for organizers to make a positive difference in their communities.

How can you get involved in community organizing?

You could be a future community leader. If you want to get involved in community organizing (as an organization or as an individual) or learn more about it, please visit the links below to find out how you can get started. Thank you for reading!

  1. WithOthers is an online platform that helps organizations connect with community event organizers committed to creating positive change. With a focus on mobilizing young voters using live music, they offer resources, training programs, and networking opportunities to help you grow as an advocate for social justice. To learn more about community organizing and how to get involved, visit WithOthers today.
  2. Mobilize provides an online platform for organizing, managing, and tracking volunteer activities, such as voter registration drives, canvassing efforts, and other forms of political action.
  3. TurboVote offers an online platform for voter registration, absentee ballot request, and other voting-related services, as well as voter education and engagement tools.
  4. NGP VAN provides various tools and services for political campaigns, including voter contact and mobilization, fundraising, and data management, as well as support for virtual organizing and remote campaigning.
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