Community Organizing: The Community-based Advocacy
Section 2: Power and the organized community

Types and traditions of community organizing

Community organizations can emerge in several contexts and all require a different strategy. Here are some.

In neighborhood-based community organizing, the organizer identifies community leaders and issues in neighborhoods. They facilitate the group forming, work on the implementation of pressure tactics and the process of community learning, and then promote collaboration between these newly-emerged neighborhood-based groups. See examples.

In congregation-based community organizing, the community organizer organizes socially inactive congregations into living and welcoming faith communities, or facilitates cross-denominational cooperation on a specific issue. This process is usually preceded by the pastor or some congregational members realizing that they are alienated both in practice and membership from people suffering social injustice. Or they decide to become (more) active around social justice issues, perhaps in cooperation with other congregations. See examples.

// However, this concept can be defined in many ways. Here are some more definitions:

  • Definition provided by Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)

    The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is the central organization for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious movement in the United States.

    Congregation-Based Community Organizing (also called Faith-Based, Broad-Based, or sometimes Institution-Based) is a movement that seeks to establish interfaith, cross-class, multiethnic and multiracial grassroots organizations for purposes of increasing social integration and power in civil society and working for social improvement. There are five major national networks of congregation-based community organizations (CBCOs): local interfaith organizations that work for civic, regional, and state-wide social change, building power and creating justice at local, state, and national levels. Almost 200 Unitarian Universalists congregations are part of CBCOs. 

  • Definition provided by United Churst of Christ

    The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a distinct and diverse community of Christians that come together as one church to join faith and action. With over 5,000 churches and nearly one million members across the U.S., the UCC serves God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world.

    Community organizing has long been recognized as an effective way to improve lives and bring justice to places where it is lacking. For churches, community organizing offers a tangible means for being disciples engaged in the public square while strengthening their congregational life and mission.

    Congregation-based community organizing (CBCO) is community organizing rooted in faith bodies that come together in answer to God’s call to love our neighbors, stand with the marginalized, and work with God for a more just society.

In institution-based community organizing, the process is similar again: the community organizer organizes institutions into a common platform around a specific issue, or organizes the members of an institution, or the marginalized groups linked up with the institution. See examples.

When doing issue-based community organizing, the organizer organizes either a group of individuals who are directly affected by the same issue (housing, health care, immigration, etc.) but don't live in the same neighborhood, and they are not the members of the same institution or congregation, or it can also mean organizing the collaboration of different types of groups (neighborhood-based, congregation-based, institution-based, issue-based). Some organizations work on a single issue while many use a multi-issue approach. Examples:

The City is for All: the members are people affected by housing poverty, currently or formerly experiencing homelessness and their allies. The group fights for housing rights. See more.

Workfare Movement for the Future: the members are people who worked currently or formerly as workfare workers. The aim of the group is to change the existing workfare system and the empowerment of workfare workers. See more. 

Last modified: Sunday, 23 October 2016, 1:25 PM