What Does a Community Organizer Do?

After earning a Master's in Social Work (MSW) degree with a concentration in macro community practice, some graduates choose to pursue their interests in community empowerment and program development by becoming a community organizer.

Since President Obama has assumed leadership in the White House after working as a community organizer in Chicago, community organizing has become increasingly well-known for being an honorable profession.

In short, community organizers are responsible for uniting people to work together to solve social problems and make the world a better place. If you are interested in building more economically and socially just communities, read on to learn more about the responsibilities of the role to get a better picture of the typical day in the life of a community organizer.

What is Community Organizing?

While most are familiar with the fact that medicine is dedicated to restoring health and law is concerned with a body of rules for conduct, unfortunately very few have a clear understanding on the world of community organizing. By most definitions, community organizing is a specialized field in social work that is devoted to restoring democracy at the grassroots level and energizing citizens to become a more active member of their society. Community organizing focuses on fixing broken social systems, bringing about meaningful changes to peoples' lives, and empowering vulnerable or oppressed populations. Community organizing has the goal of uniting local citizens around a common concern, ranging from preventing crime and reducing toxic wastes to fighting prejudice and creating community-building projects.

Daily Duties for Community Organizers

Similar to that of the coach for an athletic team, community organizers are responsible for building a group of people or institutions to works towards a common goal through collective action. In order to work towards this objective, community organizers must be trained to really listen to people when they articulate their concerns and voice their fears. Organizers are focused on building social organizations, expanding their membership base, raising questions or alternatives, developing sound organizing strategies, recruiting leadership, assisting with fundraising, running member meetings, and facilitating training sessions. Since community organizers often spend their days engaging with marginalized populations, they also frequently strive to uncover resources that were previously unavailable to bear on community issues.

Tips for Becoming a Community Organizer

Although formal training is typically not required to be a community organizer, the role comes with plenty of hard work that is best suitable for individuals with a strong background in social justice, social work, sociology, and other social services. In order to get the lay of the land before embarking on a career in community organizing, it is often recommended that people volunteer with social organizations. Volunteering will provide the practical learning that is needed to navigate policies for social change as well as connect with others. Due to the nature of the job, it is also necessary for individuals to have extreme persistence to be successful in community organizing. While becoming a community organizer often goes hand-in-hand with being an agitator, having determination is the only way to get people together and working towards a social problem of importance to you.

Overall, community organizing is a huge specialized field of social work that is focused on brining community citizens together to works towards achieving a common desire that will improve the well-being of the society. Community organizers can find employment for social justice in government, non-profit organizations, churches, social services agencies, public health departments, and much more. Working as a community organizer provides the rewarding opportunity to get community fired up about a cause for concern and watching a community develop the tools it needs for social change!

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