Analytical Skills for Community Organization Practice

Analytical Skills for Community Organization Practice

Donna Hardina
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 380
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Analytical Skills for Community Organization Practice
    Book Description:

    This guide promotes the use of analytical skills in community organization practice, including information gathering and processing, legislative research, needs assessment, participatory action research, political analysis, population forecasting and social indicator analysis, power analysis, program development and planning, resource development, budgeting, and grant writing,. These analytical methods, often used in practice but seldom systematically discussed, assist the practitioner in identifying community problems, planning interventions, and conducting evaluations. The text explicates a problem-solving model that identifies concepts and theories underlying practice, methods for problem identification and assessment, and techniques for goal setting, implementation, and evaluation. It features extensive listings of Web sites for community organization practice and is dedicated to the idea that the community organizer, to be truly effective, must be prepared to be an active learner.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50511-6
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. 1 Introduction to Community Organization Skills
    (pp. 1-14)

    Community organizers use a wide variety of intervention strategies to promote social change. Social workers who engage in community practice often take on a variety of roles: They can coordinate community outreach efforts, linking people to services. They work in the constituency offices of elected political leaders. They are employed as social services planners for government agencies. They are social activists working to organize protests for groups such as ACT-UP or consumer boycotts for the National Council of La Raza. Organizers are also employed by interest groups to lobby for legislation or to analyze data to document the impact of...

  6. PART ONE Concepts and Theories for Practice
    • 2 Values and Ethics
      (pp. 17-43)

      This chapter discusses basic values inherent in community practice. It describes similarities and differences between those values inherent in models of community practice and the values identified in the National Association of SocialWorkers (NASW) code of ethics. The ethical mandates inherent in the NASW code are examined, and an exploration is made as to how these mandates do or do not pertain to community organization. Ethical dilemmas that community organizers encounter are identified. The last section of this chapter presents decision tools that the organizer can use when facing complex ethical decisions.

      Social work is built around a value base...

    • 3 Theoretical Frameworks for Practice
      (pp. 44-64)

      In this chapter, theoretical assumptions associated with community practice in social work are described. Practice perspectives, which provide guidance about how interventions should be carried out, are also presented. Often our practice literature is derived from psychology, political science, and sociology. However, some have argued that social work is not a profession because it does not possess a unique theory base that defines its primary purpose (Reeser & Epstein, 1990; Wakefield, 1996b).

      This chapter discusses two primary practice perspectives, empowerment and strengths approaches. A number of theories used to frame community organization practice are described in detail: systems, ecological, power-dependency,...

    • 4 Practice Models: Linking Theory with Action
      (pp. 65-87)

      Though theories give us an idea of how groups in society function and the efficacy of social change efforts, they do not tell us how to organize. In fact, most of the theories described in chapter 3 cannot be used to establish direct relationships between intervention approaches and likely outcomes. In community practice, we rely on models to “provide a level of abstraction and simplification that assists in comparing interventions and selecting appropriate models of action for particular situations” (Weil, 1996, p. 6). Mondros and Wilson (1994) identify several components inherent in practice models:

      A change goal

      Specific roles for...

    • 5 Defining Community
      (pp. 88-108)

      Communities can be thought of in terms of place, interest, and identity. Geographic communities are also called neighborhoods. In most communities, explicit and implicit boundaries delineate community members from nonmembers. This chapter defines the term community and describes factors used to determine who is included in or excluded from the various communities. Three models commonly used for analysis of geographic communities are examined. Links between community interventions and common community problems are also described.

      Norlin and Chess (1997) define community as “an inclusive form of social organization that is territorially based and through which most people satisfy their common needs...

  7. PART TWO Problem Identification and Assessment
    • 6 Needs Assessment
      (pp. 111-157)

      Community organizers must work with community residents to identify local problems and assess the root causes of those problems. Problem identification and assessment are the first two components of the problem-solving model. In clinical practice, a social worker may work alone or engage in dialogue to identify client problems and needs. In community practice, needs assessment is much more complex. Social workers use a variety of interpersonal and research techniques to engage residents, constituency groups, and community leaders in the needs-assessment process. This chapter describes both qualitative and quantitative approaches to problem identification and needs assessment. Social workers use qualitative...

    • 7 Power Analysis
      (pp. 158-175)

      Power is an important component of the political process. It is one of the few ways, other than persuasion, that we have to influence others to change their decisions or behaviors. Groups with limited amounts of financial or political power can be excluded from the decision-making process. Power can be actual, used to influence social change, or potential, not used but available to those who possess power. It can also be positive, used to persuade a decision maker to take action, or negative, used to prevent someone from taking action. (Meenaghan, Washington, & Ryan, 1982).

      This chapter describes power resources...

    • 8 Legislative Analysis
      (pp. 176-195)

      In chapter 4, we identified lobbying as a component of social action–oriented practice. Assessment is a critical component of the lobbying process. To influence the development of legislation, we must know the content of the legislation, specific procedures established for legislative decision making, and the status of the bill. We must also identify the power resources and vested interests of individual legislators and interest groups that will try to influence the content of the legislation. This chapter describes the role of the community organizer as lobbyist and examines procedures used for legislative analysis. Internet applications for tracking the progress...

    • 9 Politics: Analyzing Processes and Outcomes
      (pp. 196-222)

      Participation in electoral politics is a type of social work intervention associated with the social action model of community practice (Fisher, 1995; Haynes & Mickelson, 1991; Mahaffey & Hanks, 1982; Rose, 1999). Electoral work requires analytical skills to identify the power resources needed to elect candidates to office. Such analysis helps us plan election campaigns and predict likely outcomes. In this chapter we describe the roles and responsibilities of social workers who work in political campaigns and discuss the importance of community organization practice in linking voters to the electoral process. This chapter also provides a detailed description of the...

  8. PART THREE Goal Setting and Implementation
    • 10 Intervention Planning: Using Strategies and Tactics
      (pp. 225-251)

      The implementation of strategies and tactics takes place in the context of interpersonal interaction among individuals and groups. It is critical that the organizer be able to use practice models, analytical frameworks, and research data to choose situation-specific strategies and tactics that will facilitate social change. Consequently, in this chapter the primary components of intervention plans—strategies and tactics are defined and the role of the action and target systems in community practice is examined. Methods for linking strategies and tactics to models of practice are described, as well as ethical aspects of using strategies and tactics and the importance...

    • 11 Planning Programs and Services
      (pp. 252-275)

      Community organizers often encounter situations in which they need to design programs or work with others collaboratively to construct service-delivery systems. In this chapter we examine theoretical approaches to planning and identify planning models. The role of citizen participation in the planning process is described; technical and political skills required for effective planning practice are examined. The reader is introduced to planning techniques that can be used to develop program plans and funding proposals. This chapter also describes computer applications that can be used to find information, analyze data, evaluate outcomes, and involve citizens in the planning process.

      Social workers...

    • 12 Resource Development and Grant Writing
      (pp. 276-298)

      Most community organization work is conducted through nonprofit organizations. Although some funding for community and social action organizations is derived from membership dues, nonprofits must rely on government grants and contracts as well as donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations to survive. It is therefore essential that community organizers obtain funding for their organizations and startup money for new programs. Organizers must understand that the use of external funds will limit the activities in which the organization can participate. This chapter examines the impact of various sources of funds on nonprofit organizations. Federal restrictions on nonprofit organizations that lobby government...

    • 13 Fiscal Analysis
      (pp. 299-324)

      Money is power. Consequently, budget analysis is an essential component of community organization practice. This chapter examines the role of budget analysis in community practice and discusses the components of organization and program budgets. Techniques for analyzing budgets, identifying revenue resources, and monitoring expenditures in nonprofit organizations are examined. Computer applications for budget construction, monitoring, and analysis are described. This chapter also provides information about government budgets and techniques for examining government budget priorities.

      A community organizer should know how to construct a budget, monitor spending, and identify funding priorities set by government and other key decision-making bodies. Organizers engaged...

  9. PART FOUR Evaluation
    • 14 Outcome and Process Evaluation
      (pp. 327-366)

      This chapter describes evaluation approaches that allow for the examination of program outcome and processes. Most of the methods presented here are associated with the concept of program evaluation. Program evaluation can be defined as a “process that generates the information used to describe what a program is doing and how well it does it” (Krause, 1996, p. 1). Evaluation approaches that pertain solely to the examination of community intervention–oriented processes and outcomes are also described in this chapter. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches to evaluation practice are identified; factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a...

    • 15 Technological Approaches and Techniques: The Implications of the Internet for Community Organization Practice
      (pp. 367-378)

      This textbook has focused on skill development for community organizers. Many of the skills identified in the book involve tasks that can be conducted using the Internet. Community organizers can conduct research on theWorldWideWeb. They can locate legislation and find out who has contributed to political campaigns. Organizers can use E-mail to recruit constituents and mobilize them to take action. E-mail can also be used to lobby decision makers. In addition, organizers can construct Web pages to inform the public about a variety of social problems, coordinate service delivery, and raise funds. The Internet can also be used to form...

  10. Index
    (pp. 379-390)