Community Organizing

Materials about running volunteer projects in neighborhoods -- people helping each other even if not associated with a formal organization.

Both Receiving and Giving, Susan J. Ellis
Give Volunteers a Voice, Susan J. Ellis
How to Profit with a Nonprofit Partner, Richard Steckel, Robin Simons, Jeffrey Simons, and Norman Tanen, Making Money While Making a Difference, High Tide Press
Making Conflict Constructive, Frances Moore, The Quickening of America: Rebuilding Our Nation, Remaking Our Live, pp. 251-253
The Perfect Volunteer Storm, Susan J. Ellis
The Self-Directed Volunteer, Susan J. Ellis

From the  Alliance for Nonprofit Management (The Alliance) and the Building Movement Project (BMP). Offers information, tools, case studies and other resources to develop core competencies on constituent and community engagement -- to facilitate efforts to integrate the voice of community members and constituents into the daily practice of nonprofit organizations.

, 2015, pp. 32
A workbook designed to familiarize community organizers with the process of developing collective leadership across the traditional boundaries of race, class, gender and culture. A publication of the Kellogg Leadership for Community Change project. , 2007, pp. 60
Department for Communities, Government of Western Australia (revised). The guidelines focus on direct involvement of volunteers or volunteer groups in contributing to the work of public sector agencies. , 2010, pp. 28

By Nora L. Silver, based on work done by The Volunteerism Project on volunteering by diverse ethnic/cultural groups. Seven focus groups provided the basis for the book:

  • A Chorus of Voices, African American focus group facilitated by Vicki Clark in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Self-Determination: Messages for Our Native Youth, two American Indian focus groups conducted by Kouslaa Kessler-Mata in Oakland and San Francisco, California
  • Uno Recibe lo que Uno Da: You Get What You Give, Central American focus group conducted in Spanish, facilitated by Coco Mendoza and translated by Gary Wheelock in San Francisco, California
  • Extending the Family, Chinese American focus group conducted by Mae Chao in San Francisco, California
  • Giving Generously, Japanese American focus group conducted by Mami Ishikawa in Berkeley, California
  • Three Continents, Four States, Ten Cities, Korean American focus group facilitated by Debbie Ng in Oakland, California
  • La Gran Familia, Mexican American focus group facilitated by Ramon del Castillo, with simultaneous translation by Patsy Roybal in Denver, Colorado
, 2011, pp. 131

Based on an oral history project in Belast, Volunteer NOW and VSB Beldast present a history of volunteering in Belfast, Northern Ireland through personal remembrances of dozens of volunteers and several historians. Show how volunteering for peace and reconciliaton during that city's "Troubles" between 1968 and 1998, it gives insight social activism.

, 2010, pp. 162

Study sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation to: 1) deepen understanding of volunteer engagement in rural communities; 2) examine the applicability of the neighboring model to rural communities; and 3) identify practices that document and support volunteering and neighboring by, in and with under-resourced rural communities.

, 2004, pp. 153

CNIB offers this manual for people who would like to learn how to advocate in support of causes that matter to them. While it has been written for CNIB volunteers, it can be used by anyone who simply wants to understand how advocacy works and how to apply advocacy best practices in support of any cause of their choosing.  The manual, which can be downloaded in Word for free, is accompanied by a Toolkit and an Advocacy Program Training Guide.

, 2017
by Kathryn Montgomery, Barbara Gottlieb-Robles, and Gary O. Larson, a report from American University's Center for Social Media about how an online youth civic culture, largely unnoticed by the general public, has taken root on the Internet and is fostering Generation Y's participation in U.S. politics and community affairs , 2004, pp. 158
Ashoka - Innovators for the Public

Network of social entrepreneurs worldwide. 


Research and information on community participation by youth from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). Free fact sheets, tools for practice, and more.

The Citizen's Handbook

Written by Charles Dobson and the Vancouver (Canada) Citizen's Committee, this is one of the best quick guides to community organizing on the Web.

Collective Impact Forum

"Collective impact" is an emerging form of community collaboration. This site expains the concept and offers many free articles about it.

Community Builders New South Wales

An interactive clearing house where users are encouraged to contribute to content and ongoing development. The site was developed by the New South Wales (AU) government in response to a desire expressed by communities across NSW to access information about what others are doing and what works to make their community safer and more inclusive, enterprising and resilient.


Community Toolbox

The Community Tool Box offers over 7,000 free pages of practical guidance on essential skills for building healthy communities for people working to make a difference. The resources are organized by: 1) Learn a Skill (training in specific skills of community work); 2) Plan the Work (Toolkits outline tasks, examples, and supports for 16 core competencies); 3) Solve a Problem ("Troubleshooting Guides" for common challenges, questions for analysis, and links); 4) Use Promising Approaches (Evidence, examples, and links); and 5) Connect with Others (Learn from others by asking an advisor and finding other online resources).

Grassroots Activism

See how the National Rifle Association's Grassroots Division encourages its members to organize at the local level -- be prepared to see some familiar suggestions.

Hello, My Name is Scott

Unusual, funny, and wise Web site devoted to the power and uses of nametags (yes, nametags) to foster interaction among strangers. See the free article section.

Institute for Social Entrepreneurs

Jerr Boschee is a leading authority on social entrepreneurship, the strategy of building economically viable businesses that focus on sustainable development and serving community needs. This site provides information, education and training resources to help launch and expand social enterprises in the United States and around the world. Many free resources to download.

National Network for Collaboration Training

Devoted to "the goal of community collaboration, bring individuals and members of communities, agencies and organizations together in an atmosphere of support to systematically solve existing and emerging problems that could not be solved by one group alone. Offers a variety of tools, self-training materials, and more to support community collaborative efforts.


A special project of Points of Light aimed at organizing low income communities to strengthen families and work together. Many free resources to download.

Pathways to Participation: What creates and sustains active citizenship?

Pathways through Participation was a two-and-a-half year qualitative research project in the UK led by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in partnership with the Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR) and Involve that ended in 2011. However, the research reports remain online for free download and with occasional updates. 

PTO Today

Wonderful publication and online resource for parent-teacher organizations -- but with all sorts of useful nuggets for ANY all-volunteer organization.