Community organizations (sometimes known as community-based organizations) are civil society non-profits that operate within a single local community. They are essentially a subset of the wider group of nonprofits. Like other nonprofits they are often run on a voluntary basis and are self funded. Within community organizations there are many variations in terms of size and organizational structure. Some are formally incorporated, with a written constitution and a board of directors (also known as a committee), while others are much smaller and are more informal.
The recent evolution of community organizations, especially in developing countries, has strengthened the view that these "bottom-up" organizations are more effective addressing local needs than larger charitable organizations.
Typical community organizations fall into the following categories: community-service and action, health, educational, personal growth and improvement, social welfare and self-help for the disadvantaged. Community based organization which operates within the given locality insures the community with sustainable provision of community-service and action, health, educational, personal growth and improvement, social welfare and self-help for the disadvantaged, its sustainability becomes healthier and possible because the community is direct involved in the action or operation wherever and whenever monetary and non-monetary support or contribution is needed.(Creptone I. Madunda, personal communication,24 February 2013). In Canada and elsewhere, amateur sports clubs, school groups, church groups, youth groups and community support groups are all typical examples of community organizations.
In developing countries (like those in Sub-Saharan Africa) community organizations often focus on community strengthening, including HIV/AIDS awareness, human rights (like the Karen Human Rights Group), health clinics, orphan children support, water and sanitation provision, and economic issues. Some are also concentrating on several issues, like the Ghosaldanga Adibasi Seva Sangha in West Bengal, India, reported in the magazine D+C Development and Cooperation.
Fundraising for community organizations can be very different from that of charities and larger nonprofits, which benefit from endowments, institutional and government grants, individuals, and other diverse funding sources.
Smaller community organizations typically rely on donations (monetary and in-kind) from local community members and sponsorship from local government and businesses. In Canada, for example, slightly over 40% of the community organizations surveyed had revenue under C$30,000. These organizations tend to be relationship based and people-focused. Across all sizes, Canadian community organizations rely on government funding (49%), earned income (35%), and gifts and donations (13%).
Community fundraisers can take a people-focused approach to fundraising. Relationship building is a key part of the people-focused approach. Relationship-building communicates the benefits that the organization offers to the local community. Open days and other such events are very valuable relationship-building events.
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- "Cornerstones of Community: Summary of findings from the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations". Statistics Canada. 30-June-2005. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
- "UN AIDS and nongovernmental organizations". Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS. June-1999.
- J. Phillip Thompson (2005). Seeking Effective Power: Why Mayors Need Community Organizations. Perspectives on Politics, 3, pp 301–308.
- Adger, C.T. (2001). School- community- based organization partnerships for language minority students' school success. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 6 (1-2), 7-25.