The Impact of Organizing: Where Do You See It?

Community organizing has visible outcomes, grantmakers said, if the funder and the grantee look in the right places and ask the right questions.

Individual Member Change

  • Are members becoming more active in the community? In what ways? Are they associated with other community organizations new to them? Are they learning and growing through their activity?
  • What skills and knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors have members gained? Have they broadened their circle of relationships? Have they taken on new leadership roles?

Organizational Change

  • Has the organization grown in its internal capacity to govern, diversify and increase funds, manage financial affairs, and improve technology?
  • Has it increased or diversified its membership base, created new social networks?
  • Does it have well-developed ladders to leadership? Has it developed new leaders and given them more responsibility? Has it increased gender, racial, and ethnic diversity in leadership?
  • Has it built collaborative relationships with other organizations or foundations?

Community Change

  • Has the organization moved issues into the domain of public opinion?
  • Has it established relationships with people and organizations such that it is listened to, considered a “player” on relevant issues?
  • In the words of one funder, has “the actual or perceived power of the organization” grown? Has its example spawned new organizing efforts or groups?

Policy Wins

  • In the early stages, has the organization made a plan to influence change in a particular area? Have they done resource and power mapping and gauged their own capacity to exert influence? Have they engaged key decision makers by holding meetings and developing relationships?
  • Later on, but prior to achieving an actual victory, is there evidence that the group’s influence has grown on the policy topic? Do they know how they would measure success?
  • At the final stage, has policy change been achieved? Can the group measure or describe what has been accomplished and what measurable difference it will make?

Policy to Practice

  • Has the change been implemented? Is the organization monitoring implementation and its on-the-ground impact?
  • What does the evidence say? Is the change making a difference? Is the group communicating its findings about what has changed and what still needs to be done with public officials, the press, funders, and others in the community?

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by GrantCraft using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Funding Community Organizing.

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