- What does a community organiser do?
- Community organiser career path
- Community organiser salaries
- Qualifications & training
- Community organiser skills
- Pros and cons of being a community organiser
- Community organiser work-life balance
- Community organiser employers
- Related jobs
Are you a passionate leader who can rally and organise people? Are you the go-to person when it comes to representing and supporting your community? If you are inspired to make a positive change and bring your community together, then a role as a community organiser may be for you.
Interested in a career as a community organiser? Explore graduate opportunities in the public sector & government and take your first step towards a career in this role.
What does a community organiser do?
A community organiser acts as the link between a community and either the company or government sector they work for. In a charity setting, a community organiser may be responsible for organising groups of fundraisers in order to deliver projects, resources or create awareness around the cause. In a local authority setting, your role may instead be linking often culturally or economically disadvantaged people to benefit from initiatives provided by the voluntary sector.
It is a very rewarding but difficult role, working to help disadvantaged groups, empowering them to speak up about their needs, plan how you will fulfil these needs and create awareness. You will be responsible for the development and coordination of these programs as well as responsible for hiring and training volunteer workers. Some things you can expect to do in the day of a community organiser:
- Work alongside marginalised groups to tackle specific issues.
- Give these groups a voice, communicating their issues to the relevant authorities.
- Identify the needs of a community.
- Actively engage with a community and inspire others to come forward to get involved.
- Recruit voluntary staff.
- Organise events and groups to provide an opportunity for marginalised communities.
- General administrative tasks such as emails and paperwork.
- Research and development to find areas you can help improve situations for your community.
- Leadership will be a key part of your day to day life as a community organiser. Check out our Bright Network Academy module on developing leadership to develop your leadership skills.
Community organiser career path
You will start your role as an entry-level community organiser and will be responsible for administrative tasks, communications and community outreach on a lower level, supporting where you are needed and collecting information for your manager or any projects you have been placed on. As you begin to gain more experience, you can expect to become responsible for initiatives start to finish, as well as being expected to find new areas of development through your own research.
Once you have some experience behind you, you may decide to start specialising as your progress. Here are some options you may decide to explore:
- Consultant. You may consider starting your career in a more consultancy-based role, where your knowledge on certain areas of policy, government or minority groups can be used to the best of your ability. You will be responsible for all research and development as well as being the authority in your sector.
- Program Director. Alternatively, you may decide to focus on being a program director. In this role, you will focus on the organisation of initiatives. You will be responsible for all aspects of delivery, managing the communications, delivery and post reviews. This role takes a very organised person with great time management and an eye for problem-solving.
- Outreach Coordinator. As an outreach coordinator, you will be responsible for a variety of tasks, including data management, collection, volunteer relations and organising events. This is a people-facing role with an emphasis on relationship building.
- Communications Coordinator. As a communications coordinator, you will be responsible for all information put out to the general public, targeting your specific communities. It will be your responsibility for all campaigns to be clear and precise.
Depending on your chosen career path during your progression as a community organiser, you have different potential for top-level job titles. If you went into consultancy or program coordinator roles, you can expect to progress into a leadership-focused role such as manager or team leader, going on into director roles such as Development Director or Acting Director.
If you chose a communications or outreach role, your future may involve being a Director of Outreach or Campaign Director. These top tier roles will be all-encompassing, embracing the knowledge and experience you have collected over the years and applying them to the successful organisation of an entire department, company or charity.
Community organiser salaries
The salary of a community organiser varies between the public and voluntary sectors. Within the public sector, you are regulated by the national pay scales. In the voluntary sector, your wage is not protected and will vary depending on the employer, location and experience. You can expect salaries to look as such:
- Starting salaries for a community organiser start at £16,000 to £26,000 depending on any training or experience you may have.
- For an experienced community organiser, you can expect to earn up to £36,000 per year.
Qualifications and training
When it comes to academic qualifications, a degree is not a necessary requirement for a role as a community organiser but it does prove beneficial to have if you intend to secure a higher-level job. A Bachelor or Master’s degree in social work, sociology or social sciences will be beneficial. There are many training courses specifically for community organisers, with The National Academy of Community Organising (NACO) leading as a quality assured training organisation.
For those based in England & Wales, you will need to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS). For those based in Scotland, the equivalent is the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG) and for Northern Ireland, and AccessNI.
Work experience or voluntary work will be crucial in landing a role as a community organiser. It’s important to gain experience and show a real interest in engaging with your community to help others. Work experience can be found by helping at youth centres, working within the health sector or volunteering time to a local charity. It is important to build up a CV of experiences to prove you have a real interest in helping your community, as well as a keen understanding of social and economic issues.
Community organiser skills
Being a community organiser can often be a challenging and socially charged role. As such you need to have the relevant skills to stand out on your CV and be able to handle the role. You will need to have the following skills to excel:
- Impressive communications skills. You will be regularly delivering talks, communicating needs and being the voice for your community.
- Equally good listener. In order to communicate a group's needs, you must be able to truly hear what your community is putting out. This is essential for delivering a helpful initiative.
- Compassionate and non-judgemental. You will be exposed to potentially challenging social issues. You must be understanding of these issues and endeavour to help.
- Leadership. You will be the one who organises, rallies and advises your community from start to finish. You must be a confident and assertive person.
- Research & reporting. Your research will need to be thorough and clearly presented. This research will be used to apply for grants and lead initiatives.
Pros and cons of being a community organiser
- Being a community organiser is a highly rewarding role, helping families in need. You are working with people often at their lowest points and improving their lives with your support and advice.
- Highly flexible. You will be responsible for the work you do each day as only you will know where your time is best spent.
- You are paving the way for change every day.
- Variety. Every day will be new and pose new challenges
- Can be emotionally demanding and confrontational. It is important to self manage to avoid stress-related illness. Learn more about 5 ways to help you manage stress.
- Potential of long hours and weekend work.
- This role requires resilience. You may bring up a social issue that is then not addressed by local chancellors. You must be able to keep pushing forward on important causes despite setbacks. Learn more about resilience and taking feedback with this Bright Network Academy module.
Community organiser work-life balance
You will spend the majority of your time within the community, while you visit local groups, give talks and attend meetings. This means that although you may have an office space, it will not be your main place of work. This does mean you can expect unusual work hours as you will be needed weekday evenings and weekends regularly. The ability to be flexible with your time and location will be an important need of a community organiser.