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It's not you, it's the internet: Navigating the changing landscape of communications and organizing

December 12, 2017

Fake news is now a thing we fight about every day. The following things have been declared dead: marketing, message control, political rules of the game, print, traditional media, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party. An emboldened, unapologetic segment of the electorate trumpets hate speech under the guise of "real talk" and opposition to political correctness. The combination of the Internet, social media, and mobile devices ushers in an era of mass collaboration. These new technologies allow anyone to connect to anyone and everyone, at any time --and there are already signs that the relationships we have with ourselves, with each other, and with our institutions are changing in response. With this paper, the Center for Community Change attempts to define a new generation of best practices. We do so with the understanding that today's disruptive landscape resists established strategies for social change; as we look toward the future, successful navigation will require a compass, not a map.

Center. Community. Change. 2015 Annual Report

April 15, 2016

Real change happens when communities most affected by injustice are organized and motivated. The powerful movements over the past year that brought us marriage equality, the fight for a $15 minimum wage, courageous voices in Congress calling for the expansion of Social Security, more and better jobs born out of innovative community-labor partnerships -- all of these took root at the grassroots. While grassroots organizations draw energy and power from their deep community ties, they don't necessarily intersect with others groups doing complementary work. That's where the Center for Community Change comes in. With staff and organizers around the country, we identify and connect the most creative, innovative and powerful models, providing them with resources, expertise, strategy, training and support to shape social movements and bring about meaningful change. With nearly 50 years of experience, CCC is a center for the community organizing field, building community and developing strong leaders, and changing policy, culture, and people's lives for the better. Though all the different facets of our work may seem complex, we can boil it down to one simple phrase: We do what it takes. This report includes examples of just that -- pushing the limits of what we thought possible to create the change we want to see. We highlight some of the wide-ranging work done by CCC and our 501(c)(4) sister organization, the Center for Community Change Action, with our extraordinary grassroots partners and national allies. This work is the foundation for our 2016 campaigns to marshal our communities' votes and raise our voices in vibrant movements for true democracy and a fair economy in which everyone can thrive and reach their full potential.

Promise Arizona: Building Immigrant Political Power

January 1, 2013

This case study investigates the history and accomplishments of one organization that is making considerable strides in advancing the values and political interests of the Latino community. Beginning in 2010, Promise Arizona (PAZ) and Promise Arizona in Action (PAZ en Acción) work to empower Latinos and the immigrant community to flex their civic muscle through community organizing and political action. This case study provides a snapshot of the organization's formation, growth, and organizing initiatives and explores what strategies have been central to its success. It is one model of how grassroots organizing can contribute to achieving immigration rights.

Funding Community Organizing: Social Change Through Civic Participation

December 1, 2008

Grantmakers who fund community organizing say it's the best option when you want to promote civic engagement and support lasting solutions to a community's problems. Yet many funders, concerned about the ability to measure its impact and effectiveness, hesitate to take up community organizing as a strategy. In this guide, funders and organizers discuss what makes community organizing unique and uniquely effective, how to manage grantee relationships over time, understanding the value of process, and the grantmaker's special role in fostering change.HighlightsThe benefits and methods of community organizingPoints of entry for grantmakersMapping resources and powerWhen a grantee is under attackWhat's in the Guide? Foundations and Community Organizing: Some funders see community organizing as a way to encourage a more vibrant democracy; others see it as a method for getting better, more durable solutions to deep-seated problems. For grantmakers in either camp - along with those who hold both points of view - funding community organizing can be a good choice.What Community Organizing Can Accomplish:These days, organizing uses a mix of tried-and-true methods and new techniques to bring people together and push for change. For grantmakers, the alignment between what community organizing seeks to accomplish and how it accomplishes those things makes it an attractive strategy - one that holds the promise of leaving communities stronger and individuals better able to advocate for themselves.Getting Acquainted and Other Early Steps:The culture of organizing may seem foreign at first to grantmakers, trustees, and other people inside your foundation. Likewise, the culture of philanthropy may seem strange to people who see the field from the perspective of community organizing. Grantmakers commonly find themselves in the role of translator, clarifying expectations and opening up avenues of communication in both directions - with grantees and inside the foundation.Managing Grants and Relationships Over Time: Change is a constant in community organizing, and it doesn't stop once the grant is made. Priorities and tactics evolve as the work goes forward and the surrounding environment shifts. As time goes on, grantmakers may see the need to help an organizing grantee build its capacity or, in rare instances, cope with a crisis or setback.Evaluating the Effectiveness of Organizing Grants: Good organizing produces outcomes, and those outcomes can be measured. Policies change, communities change, organizations change, and people change. If funders are clear about the outcomes they're after, any or all of those may be relevant.

The Community Voting Project: The Poor at the Polls

April 1, 2006

This report details the Center's efforts to register 147,029 new voters and mobilize over 275,000 in low-income and minority communities. Partnering with 53 grassroots organizations in 26 states, CCC's Community Voting Project targeted low-income communities to help reverse the perception that these communities are politically inactive and powerless. The impact was significant. Outreach eclipsed the margin of victory in five states, and the Center's precincts performed 7.1 percent higher than comparable precincts.

Promising Practices in Revenue Generation for Community Organizing: an Exploration of Current and Emerging Fundraising and Grantmaking Practices in Community Organizing

October 1, 2005

This summary report includes four sections: "How Organizing Is Funded" by Sandy O'Donnell; "How Organizing Raises Funds--How Common Methods Are Perceived, How High Performance is Achieved" by Jane Beckett; "Enhancing Grantmaking for Organizing" by Jean Rudd; and "Longer Term Challenges To Increase Community Organizing Revenue." The full report is also available online.