The Community Organization concentration is a social work method that combines direct service with advocacy, education, and social action to empower communities to work for change. Community organization is part of a process that brings people together to collectively address problems, concerns or issues with the goal of enhancing self-determination, achieving greater equality, and affecting a shift in power relationships to benefit members of oppressed communities. Using a broad repertoire of skills including conflict, community building and planning, and collaborative models, community social workers examine political, social, and economic factors as they relate to issues of power, inequality, culture, values, and problem-solving.Community Organization is based on the assumption that social problems such as poverty, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism and other social ills are primarily a function of institutionalized oppression and thus must be addressed collectively and institutionally. Consequently, the efforts of community social workers focus on helping to build community, create solidarities, and deliver services at the grassroots level to empower people working together to make their own changes, meet their own needs, and participate more fully in public life and the democratic process.
Community Organization knowledge and skills can be applied to a variety of social work sites in creative ways. The context of practice within which community social workers direct their efforts and have field placements include grassroots settings such as neighborhoods, non profit and advocacy organizations, social change coalitions, and government agencies. Students are also placed in non traditional sites such as universities, labor unions, congressional offices, and with international organizations such as the United Nations.