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This webpage is an archived image of the Office of the Public Advocate's website as of December 31, 2013. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. The Office of the Public Advocate cautions that the information has not been reviewed subsequently for current accuracy and completeness, nor has the information been updated. The information contained on this page may have been superseded by subsequent events and the passage of time.


We offer this Guide to Community Organizing as part of our ongoing efforts to provide you with the basic know-how and resources needed to have a greater say in the policies that affect your communities. An initiative of the Office of the Public Advocate’s new Community Organizing and Constituent Services Department, this guide gives individual New Yorkers and community groups a better understanding of how New York City government works, what you can do to make your government more responsive, and how you can help make this a better city. Central to that process are the organizing efforts of people like you.

The heart of community organizing lies in individuals working together to address issues that affect their daily lives and build community power. At its core, community organizing means:

1)  the involvement of the community in identifying problems and in the process of solving those problems;

2)  directly addressing, and when necessary challenging, existing relations of power by those affected by the policies and structures of power.

This toolkit provides an overview of how NYC government works. There are also organizing tools and action steps that individuals and groups can take to advocate for effective policy change while building community power.

This is the first installment of the Public Advocate's Guide to Community Organizing: much more will be added in the coming months.

Only by amplifying the voices of all New Yorkers and strengthening the work of existing organizing efforts will communities be able to play a more meaningful role in the life of the city. We hope you will use this toolkit to help make that happen.


Part A:  The Institutions That Impact Our Lives

  1. How the New York City Government Works - An Overview

  2. Other Local Institutions & Centers of Power

  3. Making your Voice Heard

Part B:  Organizing for Change

  1. Strengthening and Building Community Groups

  2. Getting Started

  3. Developing and Running Campaigns

  4. Outreach

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