The wonderfully helpful people at the Alliance for Justice have done it again! They have started a new website, Resources for Evaluating Community Organizing, that serves as a kind of clearinghouse for research and evaluation tools for organizations engaged in community organizing. I found the link when I was on AFJ’s website researching some of their information regarding the legality of nonprofit organizations’ attempts to influence the confirmation process for Supreme Court justices, and I spent over an hour on the site, reading through the resources they have (which are really well-organized and cross-referenced, which is very helpful). I really wish that these resources had been available when I was writing grants and setting objectives for my advocacy and organizing work, and I think that they will be very useful for my students, too, as those who are more macro-focused sometimes have trouble with their outcomes and program design classes, given the tendency for those courses to center on more micro-level interventions.
You’ll have to check out the site to see everything they have, but I was particularly interested in the case examples of organizing and evaluation of organizing, as well as the actual tools for developing indicators by which to judge your organizing. Some of the resources are pretty theoretical (and, therefore, maybe of more interest to those of us with some academic bent), while others are very practical and instantly applicable, including many developed by some of the foundations and intervening institutions that often fund organizing work (and it’s always a good idea to know how those who might give you money define ‘success’!).
If you are a community organizer or a nonprofit fundraiser or administrator in an organization that engages in community organizing, I’d love to hear what you think about these resources (and I’d guess that the folks at AFJ would like to hear that too!). Did you find them instructive for your development of your goals and objectives? Did you find pieces that you could implement into your community organizing evaluation? Was there anything particularly inspiring from the interviews and case studies? What was missing that you wish you had found there?