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Building Powerful Community Organizations: A Personal Guide to Creating Groups that Can Solve Problems and Change the World Paperback – January 15, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Michael Jacoby Brown distills more than 30 years of organizing into his book, which every aspiring and veteran activist should own. This book is strongly recommended."  —Library Journal



'At a time when national power is held by the wealthy classes, there is an urgent need, if democracy is to survive, for people to organize in their own communities. For this, Michael Brown is a superb guide. His book is full of thoughtful, practical advice for community organizers, and indeed for anyone who wants to participate at the grass roots in making ours a more just society."  —Howard Zinn, author, A People’s History of the United States


"Clearly relevant to precinct organizing and political campaigns."  —Michael S. Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts


"Covers all the organizing principles and methods and also breaks out 25 specific written exercises people can do."  —Social Policy


"This no-nonsense, user-friendly guidebook is replete with sound organizing advice . . . the book's nicely illustrated, jargon-free, pragmatic, and skilled pedagogical format makes it a wonderful textbook for teaching community organizing."  —Journal of Community Practice


"A practical, much-needed skills-building manual for a wide range of readers. Beginners will find a broad guide to the work. Veterans will find critical points of reflection, evaluation and re-orientation."  —National Organizers Alliance Ark Magazine

About the Author

Michael Jacoby Brown has more than 30 years of experience building community organizations. He has trained hundreds of individuals involved with a variety of nongovernmental organizations who have proceeded to build groups focused on social change. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Long Haul Press; 23921st edition (January 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977151808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977151806
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Author Michael Jacoby Brown has created a book with very detailed information on how to organize, create, and lead a community organization. In it he clearly explains all the steps necessary to create an effective organization that can resolve problems. The various areas discussed include the theory of how a group should work, the chemistry involved, the seven basic steps for building an organization, developing a mission statement, goals, and objectives, designing the organization to last, recruiting others, mobilizing, raising money and taking action. Throughout the book are case studies and exercises to help you not only understand how it all works but also to help you work through developing your organization correctly. If you want to change the world and know you need help to do it then you will appreciate this book. Building Powerful Community Organizations is easily the best book on the market today on this subject.
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Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for hospitals, foundations, public health agencies and people working on any form of community improvement. Michael has documented his learnings with stories and tools that can equip those willing to learn to build powerful community organization, as the title says. There are lots of various community organizing guides but this one mixes stories and tools in an easy to read, nicely laid out style. His wisdom comes from years of community organizing and translates here into practical, easy to access advice. This is the best handbook I have seen in a long time! The author makes himself available with info on how to reach him as well as a website with blog that makes him more than a distant author; he is approachable and willing to extend his teachings beyond the pages of his book. Not may authors do this.
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Format: Paperback
Written by Michael Jacoby Brown, who has more than thirty years' experience in building community organizations, Building Powerful Community Organizations: A Personal Guide to Creating Groups that Can Solve Problems and Change the World is a handy step-by-step guide to creating, strengthening, and revitalizing grass-roots organizations for bringing about social change to solve problems in the community or workplace. From how to effectively recruit (learning to "listen not sell", when short or long visits are appropriate, and how to turn success into momentum) to how to mobilize resources and raise money to the steps for setting change into motion and more, Building Powerful Community Organizations walks the reader through the necessary skills and processes while warning against common obstacles and pitfalls. Enthusiastically recommended for anyone looking to harness communal effort and make a lasting difference.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a practical resource idea book for those interested in starting or strengthening a community organization or nonprofit. Brown defined community organizing as "building the power of a group to change the world. . . it requires understanding of your self interest. . . building relationships with others, and a desire to change the world" (p. 3). The book is organized into 4 sections:

Section 1 The Inside Story - definitions, step by step considerations for building a community organization including mission, goals, and objectives, and considerations for lasting organizations
Section 2 Resources - recruiting, how to's and leadership development, meeting facilitation, raising money
Section 3 Change - strategy, taking action, solving problems, results, building community
Section 4 Future - where do we go from here
Each section is accompanied by exercises, case studies, quick tips, and stories.
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Format: Paperback
With great insight and honesty Michael Jacoby Brown has drawn on his extensive experience to produce a practical and inspiring resource. This book is a must for anyone wishing to organize a group to work for social change or anyone who is part of a community organization which needs to rejuvenate or rediscover its purpose. It is beautiful in its simplicity, addressing its issues in a way everyone can understand, and broad in its scope, addressing every aspect involved in successful community organizing. "Building Powerful Community Organizations" demands engagement by the reader. It contains exercises and the reader gains best value from the book by engaging in the exercises at the point they are presented.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books available for people who are interested in the nitty-gritty work of building genuine communities. Author Michael Brown provides the reader with not just a theory of community organizations, but also lays out the steps to be followed in order to create the building blocks of what he calls "powerful community organizations." Lots of excellent case studies illustrate each of the steps. It is a good follow-up to the book Counterfeit Community: The Exploitation of Our Longings for Connectedness which warns us about the dangers of pseudo communities, so-called communities that lack the kinds of relationships that Brown is building. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am a community organizer in Illinois that kind of fell into the work of improving parent engagement in Latino and low income neighborhood schools. This is my wife's Kindle. Though many of the lessons found herein were already known to me, in an abstract sense, others were not. This book helped me to see where the gaps lay in my knowledge by providing a broad overview of organizing while also delving into the specifics necessary in building and using powerful organizations. El que no sabe que no sabe nada, no sabe nada. Or, He who does not know that he knows nothing, knows nothing. Recommended to fiery new crusaders, or jaded organizers and those in between.
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