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Organizing and Agenda Setting

This section currently has one strategy tool plus web links.

Bringing people together to effect change is one of the most important--and misunderstood--elements of problem-solving in a democracy. Because change doesn't define or "sell" itself, organizing is crucial for motivating change, creating capacity to pursue it, and building constituencies that will help see it through. But there are a number of myths about organizing. Some confuse it with tactics of pressure politics or with mere program "outreach" by service providers. And some think it's only important at the "grassroots" in a community and not the grasstops (i.e., among those parties with significant influence and/or resources). The "Organizing Stakeholders" tool debunks those myths and shows how to plan or support organizing that makes a difference.
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Links: organizing, persuasion, civic engagement

1. Resource lists, gateways and discussion groups

An asterisk (*) indicates a web resource with primarily U.S.-based or focused content. Other sites are more international in scope.

*On-Line Conference on Community Organizing and Development. Keywords: organizing, empowerment, community politics

*Organizing Resource List #1 (Poverty and Race research Action Council). Keywords: organizing, empowerment, poverty, race, community politics
Organizing Resource List #2 (Cornell University). Keywords: organizing, empowerment, community politics
*Organizing Resource List #3 (Neighborhood Link). Keywords: organizing, empowerment, community politics
*Perspectives on organizing (Applied Research Center). Keywords: organizing, empowerment, community politics, race, diversity, social justice
*Civic Practices Network. Keywords: organizing, empowerment, civic engagement, citizen participation

Leadership On-line. Keywords: organizing, community leadership, leadership development

2. Overviews and Guides

a. General

Citizen's Handbook (Canada/Int'l). Keywords: effective citizenry, leadership, citizen participation

Community Empowerment and Social Inclusion (learning modules, World Bank Institute). Keywords: empowerment, community-driven development, poverty reduction, citizen participation
*Civic Manuals (Civic Practices Network). Keywords: citizenship, activism, civic process, participation

*Civic engagement and citizen participation tools (National Civic League). Keywords: per title.
*Democracy Owners' Manual. Keywords: participatory democracy, citizen participation, civic engagement.

*The Community Organizing Toolbox: A Funder's Guide. Keywords: organizing in low-income communities, community politics, grantmaking, social change 
*Community Organizing versus Community Building (article)
*What is community organizing? (Center for Community Change).  Keywords:organizing, empowerment, community politics 

*Historical development of civic organizing. Keywords: organizing, empowerment, community participation, social movements 

b. Persuasion and Strategic Communication

Framing and Building Will (Frameworks Institute). Keywords: persuasion, communication, frame analysis, framing

The Communication Initiative. Keywords: strategic communication, social change, globalization

c. Diversity issues in organizing participation

Culture, Power and Communication in Community Building (article)

*Race and Community Building (Aspen Institute) 
*Organizing practice and multicultural communities (Applied Research Center). Keywords: organizing, empowerment, community politics, race, diversity, social justice

d. Management Functions of Organizing. Keywords:organizing, empowerment, management

3. Organizing and civic engagement networks and organizations

CIVICUS (worldwide) Citizen Participation and Civil Society Development. Keywords: empowerment, citizen participation, civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 

*Civic Practices Network

National Community Building NetworkKeywords: organizing, citizen participation, poverty, community development

*Industrial Areas Foundation. Keywords: organizing, citizen participation, social change, faith institutions 

*Pacific Institute for Community Organization Keywords: organizing, citizen participation, social change, poverty 

*Gamaliel Foundation.  Keywords: organizing, regionalism, poverty, social change

*Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Keywords: organizing, poverty, social change  

*Center for Third World Organizing. Keywords: organizing, empowerment, race, poverty   

*National Civic LeagueKeywords: organizing, citizen participation, community building, local government
National Conference for Community and Justice
Keywords: community building, race, conflict resolution, diversity

* Highlander Research and Education Center
 Keywords: community organizing, popular education, rural communities

Keywords: citizen participation, civil society, community building, social capital

*Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement in America (Harvard University). Keywords: civil society, community building, social capital, civic engagement

4. Civic Education and Organizing Training

See networks and organizations above, plus:

Civnet (worldwide network). Keywords: citizen participation, civic engagement, education
*Civic Education Network (American Political Science Association).  

Civic Education Course syllabi (multiple instructors, Civic Practices Network). Keywords: organizing, citizen participation, civil society, community building 

*Training for Racial Equity and Inclusion: A Guide (Aspen Institute). Keywords: organizing, community building, race, poverty