Recruitment and Training

The best way to build trust is to support community organizers or recruit your facilitation team from the community. Can include finding and recruiting people trusted in the community and empowering them through training and other resources.

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Experts report that engagement efforts are most empowering if they build on existing community organizing activities without manipulating their efforts.

It can be helpful to provide grants or stipends to help community organizers professionalize and access proven, independent training resources.


The Brownsville Partnership recruited its facilitation team to lead the community organizing effort in Brownsville. The goal was to use every available resource to empower the community, build capacity for local leadership and thereby help the community find its own voice. The team attended training program by Professor Marshall Ganz at Harvard Kennedy School to gain capabilities, a shared perspective on the journey ahead and an independent curriculum that would serve the community.

Over 10 years, this approach has led to the Brownsville Partnership becoming an independent community organization managing a sophisticated transformation program. 

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Map people and capabilities

Establish the available resources for community organizing in your target community as well as their capabilities. In some cases you will find ready teams to invest in, in others you may a handful of trusted people or no resources at all.

Budget time and resources

Establish what budget and resources are going to be most helpful to build capacity and capability. Ensure that you are not adding to volatility by providing a short-term burst of funding and no sustained resources.

Work with people and organizations

Recruitment and training will be most effective if you work together with the people who will be involved, as well as the available organizations. Be mindful not to recruit facilitators to ‘convince’ the community, but to help a community find their voice.

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