GENERAL STANDARDS FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE LEADERS

The responsibilities of professional community service leaders are written below as a guide for what is generally expected of community service leaders in the non-profit world.

This description is limited to the leadership aspects of the position, and does not describe the administrative responsibilities usually associated with managing or working in a non-profit organization.

I. INSTITUTIONAL ORGANIZING

The methodology is to work with existing organizations in a community. The leader must be capable of understanding the self-interest of each individual institution. He/she must be able to talk intelligently and creatively with the director of these institutions and their community members about the program and goals and visions of their organization. The leader will be judged and the their organization will grow by the number of other organizations that are actively involved or known by your non-profit organization to market your service or advocacy to the community.

Your member institution must have a core of leaders that relate to the community organization and who are able to involve members of that institution in campaigns of the community organization. Even though it is a difficult task, this leadership team must be fully aware of and committed to the self-interest of the member organization and simultaneously to the self-interest of the community organizations. A mature community organization should be able to recruit 10-25 leaders from your membership or from related organizations for critical events during the year. The leader/administrator must be responsible to develop strategies to insure this will happen. Finding volunteers and fund development will be easier as a result.

II. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Primarily, a leaderís job is to help people in a community become empowered to participate effectively in critical decisions affecting themselves, their families and their neighborhoods. A community leader therefore must be judged primarily on the quality and quantity of leadership development in and from a community organization.

A leader must have a plan to identify, recruit and develop other leadership. It will be expected of an organizationís leader that he or she has a list of current and potential leaders and that they will be able to discuss the interest, development and growth of each of the leaders on his or her list for your organization or to help market your organization.

A leader will be judged by the number of leaders/volunteers that they involve in local formal training programs. A mature leader should be able to train or send leaders or volunteers to training during the year and to conduct trainings for at least 15 of his or her leaders/volunteers on a regular basis.

A community service or advocacy leader should be careful to involve their Board of Directors and never appear as the sole spokesperson for a neighborhood organization, either in the media or at formal negotiating sessions between the organization and public and corporate officials. They must bring forward Board of directors in the public arena to be recognized. The leaderís primary task is to develop other volunteers/leaders to the point where they can also represent their organization.

III. COMMUNITY ANALYSIS

A leader/non-profit administrator must be attuned to social, political and economic forces acting on a community. The leader, therefore, will be judged on the capacity to do an analysis about the community so that when issues are selected the organization will be building its base and understanding about any division, turmoil or opportunity in the community.

The non-profit leader must be in a relationship with key political, economic, judicial, and religious leaders in his or her community. The leader, therefore, will be judged on his or her increasing ability to conduct one-on-ones with such leadership occasionally or on a regular basis. In addition, being judged based on his or her ability to get present leaders in the organization to talk with their peers in the community and bring them to support and help market the advocacy and/or service of the organization.

IV. ISSUE DEVELOPMENT

A non-profit leader must be able to help the organizationís members/board select and define those issues leading to actions which will create a positive impact on members of a community, develop new leadership for the organization, and draw in understanding with community institutions and further educate the community about the value of your organization.

V. ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

A leader/administrator/ coordinator are to organize an organization. It is, therefore, the role of the person to see that people and structures are put into place in such a way that they will create coherence and integrity within an organization. By this, it means that there will be a functioning board of directors, an effective fundraising strategy, issues and organizational committees that tie into the board structure and an on going public relations plan that enables the membership/board to select new board leadership, volunteers and its program development.

An organization should have a fundraising plan that not only provides long term financial security for the organization, but also constantly increases the capacity of the organization to support it more independently with dues, grassroots fundraisers and other special events. It is a fundamental principle of that organizationís leadership that they must have a strategy to pay for the program and advocacy that is being conducted by their organization. An organization that primarily and constantly relies on foundation grants and is not moving toward self-sufficiency for the organization does not comprehend the nature of a self‑directed organization. 

VI. MEETINGS

One of the primary tools of a community organization is an effective meeting. The managers must enable the leadership to hold meetings that are productive, focused and educational for the leadership and volunteers. The non-profit leader must ensure that the board and supporters understands the organizational processes governing their actions and must evaluate all small committee meetings, board meetings, and large community meetings to be productive.

VII. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Community leaders working for community organizations must, as they are attempting to do with their leadership, be themselves in a self-development program. It is expected that a leader in training will, for instance, be reading a minimum of one book per month on topics relevant to their profession and doing journals and report to the Board of Directors reports that are primarily a tool to reflect, and develop an organizational and personal development.