Career Resources

Community Development and Advocacy


Community Development and Advocacy Overview

Community development or advocacy groups advocate around a particular issue or concern. Some recognizable groups in this category include: the Sierra Club, National Organization for Women, American Civil Liberties Union, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, American Association of Retired People and the Christian Coalition.  Advocacy organizations often receive the majority of their funding from individuals, corporations and foundations, rather than the government.

Career Paths:

Community development and advocacy positions are often in the fields of law, public relations, and communications, and they also employ organizers to rally public support for their cause. This field can be intense, particularly when advocating for legislative support or change, but it also yields tangible results to those who care deeply for a specific cause.

Community development and advocacy work can involve:

  • community organizing
  • developing housing
  • redeveloping deserted industrial sites
  • job training
  • joint-venturing in developing local businesses and shaping public policy

Sample employers are:

  • community-based non-profit organizations, like City Harvest
  • academic institutions, like Columbia University Community Service
  • foundations, like the Knight Foundation
  • social-service agencies, like Good Shepherd Services
  • job training and placement organizations, like StreetWise Partners
  • think tanks, like the Children’s Defense Fund

Columbia Resources:

  • Peer Health Exchange Student organization teaching middle and high schoolers across New York about health issues.
  • Youth for Debate Student run not-for-profit teaching debate and public speaking to high-need students across NY.
  • Hillel Social Justice Committee: A group of students who plan social justice events at Hillel, ranging from greening initiatives and speakers on poverty, to participating in campus-wide social action programs, such as Relay for Life and Take Back the Night.
  • ACLU Columbia - Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union
  • Columbia Global Justice - A student group working to ensure health and human rights.

External Resources:

  • Advocacy Jobs A niche job board that focuses entirely on advocacy employment opportunities and candidate recruiting nationwide.
  • Law Crossing Guide to getting Advocacy Jobs (specific for legal advocacy)