I've been running into this question lately.... Is there a difference between Community Organizing and Community Development? What about when people say they're "ABCD Organizers"? What do you think?
updated by @deb-wisniewski: 10/24/16 06:29:00PM
Community Development is a broad term that refers to the strategy and processes leading to improving the quality of life in a community in all areas: jobs, housing, physical environment, business, education, health, safety, social capital, etc.
A critical element to successful Community Development within an asset based community development approach (ABCD) is Community Organizing. ABCD stands for the proposition that it is people/relationships (aka "social capital") that are the answer to sustained community improvement. Community Organizing provides a mechanism for building social capital and community connections that are more powerful and effective at improving and sustaining communities than the more traditional needs approach.
In a general sense, as I see it, "ABCD Organizers" are community organizers committed to community development within the ABCD framework developed by Kretzmann and McKnight. I am not sure that there is any "ownership" rights to the acronym "ABCD" or if there is some sort of certification process one needs in order to use "ABCD" legitimately in their title. That would be good to know....
There is a difference between community organizing and community development, however community development cannont exist without organizing the community. Organizing is the same as uniting residents, gifts, skills, talents and capacities. So, it seems to go hand in hand however different.
It is apparently clear that Community Organizing refers to managing resources within a community be it Human Capital,Financial Capital,Physical Capital, etc, or collectively resources needed for that society to survive and experience a total transformation in their lives resulting in improved quality of life. Community Development is a multifaceted concept which covers technical,cultural,language,political,social,economic and legal systems among others that would create a sound community.Thus in designing community development programs there is need to have a clear policy framework that incorporates that flimsy difference
Looking at community development and community organizing in the Chicago area, I think there is a general difference between these fields in terms of the types of organizations leading or involved in each. At the basic level, I think organizations focused on community organizing tend to be more radical and aimed at overhauling systems, whereas many community development organizations are more institutionalized and mainstream. Of course there are organizations that do both--or network organizations that convene multiple stakeholders that focus on different points of this spectrum. For example, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a community development organization and its lead organizations in communities tend to be CDCs. Whereas an organization like Little Village Environmental Justice Organization is really about community organizing. They partner with CDCs from time to time, but they are also extremely critical of them. An organization like the South Austin Community Coalition tries to combine organizing and development. Another term not mentioned here but crucial is social service organizations--which are different from both community organizing and community development; but often times community development orgs work on social services as well.
Hello everyone I have been dealing with ABCD before there was an abcd in action. I think there is a difference in organizer and developer. An organizer gathers the different aspects of the community together to work on a project. A community developer lays out a plan to change a community and then goes about doing it. So a developer can organize but he/she has to do so much more. After the plan and the organization of the plan (people who will help carry-out the plan) the developer has to find ways to fund the development and then execute the plan.
Example: Community organizer canvases the community to survey what the community feels it needs to change. They get together and meet. The community wants a vacant house gone and wants a garden but does not know how to get a garden. Community developer plans a garden on a vacant lot. He/she plans to remove the vacant building. The plan is to tear down the building and plant a garden. However, it has to be submitted to the community to be agreed upon, they agree. The developer finds a way to fund the tearing down of the building and the funds for the garden seeds. They all go about changing the vacant lot into a garden.