Community Engagement and Organizing

Community development organizations of all kinds need to interact constructively and purposefully with their constituents, neighbors, clients, tenants, partners in business, leaders of other nonprofits, and people with whom they have a range of other working relationships. Without this interaction, things do not get done, needs and priorities are not expressed or understood, plans are not approved, projects are not built, organizations lack accountability, and larger-scale change is unrealized. There is an art to building and sustaining those relationships, and yet the ways in which community developers build and manage these relationships depends on their shared goal.

The six Community Development Investments organizations experimented with and tried some completely new approaches to engagement and organizing, with sometimes surprising results. Their approaches were greatly enhanced and fundamentally changed by virtue of employing various arts and culture strategies. In summer 2019, we will publish a brief exploring how they worked alongside residents and community leaders to produce specific outcomes and what that means for other organizations who may wish to follow a similar path.