Resources About Community Organizing
A Shared Vision of Change
Community organizing is a process in which community members come together, define their visions and values, and build collective strength to make their vision a reality. Community organizing refers to a variety of strategies that can change harmful social norms and promote healthy, positive, non-violent social norms.
There are many “models” of organizing and lessons to be learned from communities that have had success in changing social norms on the community and societal levels. The Social Ecological Model (see sidebar) is one example.
Community Organizing for the primary prevention of domestic violence might include
- Holding planning meetings to discuss what causes violence in that particular community
- Deciding on activities that might address and prevent it
- Inviting community leaders to join the group
- Holding a series of public events
Social Norms Change
Social norms change through community organizing can be achieved by:
- engaging community leaders and other people who have influence
- exposing a community to multiple messages from various sources over time
- reaching many types of people in various settings
- teaching active bystander skills
- generating lasting change throughout a community by influencing attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and behaviors.
Activities are designed to give community members the skills they need for collective action. As a group, they work to change the community level and societal level norms and structures that make violence normal.
Assessing Community Readiness
Community Readiness Model This model was developed at the Tri-Ethnic Center to assess how ready a community is to address an issue. The basic premise is that matching an intervention to a community’s level of readiness is absolutely essential for success. Efforts that are too ambitious are likely to fail because community members will not be ready or able to respond. To maximize chances for success, the Community Readiness Model offers tools to measure readiness and to develop stage-appropriate strategies that include:
- Addressing community readiness for change
- Increasing community capacity
- Creating a climate that makes change possible
Community Organizing: Theories, Tool and Techniques
Transforming Communities: Creating Safety and Justice for Women and Girls - Community Mobilization Toolkit is a great tool to use with domestic violence or sexual assault staff in their quest to plan and carry out community mobilization campaigns. Features of the Kit include the TC Case Statement, a sound framework for preventing violence against women, as well as five practical sections of tips and tools for organizing. Technical Assistance, Training and Resource Center
Multicultural Alliance Building is a beneficial tool to use when forming and working in culturally diverse endeavors. This publication examines the benefits and the difficulties of creating multicultural partnerships. It also provides practical steps designed to assist in the creation of effective alliances. Technical Assistance, Training and Resource Center
Training for Change has been increasing capacity around the world for activist training since 1992. Their training helps groups stand up more effectively for justice, peace and the environment. They specialize in training trainers to create a ripple effect in quality activist training.
The Change Agency is an independent social movement education initiative that works with community organizers and activists in the Australia Pacific region to help people win social and environmental change.
The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond is a national and international collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation. The People’s Institute, through training, technical assistance and consultations helps individuals, communities, organizations and institutions move beyond addressing the symptoms of racism to undoing the causes of racism so as to create a more just and equitable society.
Principles of Community Engagement, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was first published in 1997, and filled an important vacuum, providing community members, health professionals, and researchers with clear principles to guide and assess their collaborative efforts. The need for such guidance has not lessened in the subsequent years. Our health challenges continue. Support for collaborative work has grown, but with this growing support has come an increasing volume and diversity of initiatives, terminology, approaches, and literature. This new edition adheres to the same key principles laid out in the original booklet. It distills critical messages from the growing body of information and commentary on this topic. At the same time, it provides more detailed practical information about the application of the principles, and it responds to changes in our larger social context, including the increasing use of “virtual communities” and the growing interest in community-engaged health research.
Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements Bill Moyer provides both a theory and working model for understanding and analyzing social movements, ensuring that they are successful in the long term. Beginning with an overview of social movement theory and the MAP (Movement Action Plan) model, Doing Democracy outlines the eight stages of social movements, the four roles of activists, and case studies from the civil rights, anti-nuclear energy, Central America, gay/lesbian, women's health, and globalization movements.
Power and Possibilities, Ms. Foundation and Collaborative Fund for Youth–led Social Change: Launched in 2000, the Collaborative Fund for Youth-Led Social Change (CFYS) grew out of an effort of funders and youth practitioners to support work at the intersection of youth development, youth organizing, and gender. The Ms. Foundation was known for understanding the importance of gender in the lives of young women and men. It was one of the first foundations to promote the merging of youth development and youth organizing strategies. And, it was ready to learn and share stories about how youth organizations were combining youth development, youth organizing, and gender-based programming in their work.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Malcolm Gladwell The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
Integrating Social Marketing, Community Readiness and Media Advocacy in Community–based Prevention Efforts, Slater, M.D., Kelly, K., and Edwards, R.W. This study examines the role of key informant community readiness assessments in a randomized group trial testing the impact of a participatory community-media intervention. Social Marketing Quarterly, 6 (3), p 125- 137, (2000).
Paul Kivel: Getting Together for Social Justice This social justice educator, activist and writer has been an innovative leader in violence prevention for more than 35 years. Paul Kivel has authored a variety of social justice, community organizing and anti-oppression resources, particularly for working with youth.
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A cornerstone of the public health model is the Social Ecological Model
All four levels are connected and support each other to prevent domestic violence.
- Strategies directed at individuals to change their social/cognitive skills/behaviors
- Activities meant to change the people in close relationships
- Activities meant to change environments in communities such as common social settings, groups or organizations. Schools may do so through changing the climate or conditions that allow dating violence to exist by addressing policy, training and skills of people in these settings.
- Changing societal or cultural norms through media or legislative advocacy designed to create broader, systemic social change, e.g., equal pay for equal work policies, national or statewide social marketing campaigns