Faith-based Community Organizing:  The State of the Field, by Mark R. Warren and Richard L. Wood

Contents | Summary | Main Report | About | Appendices | Figure | Tables | Notes


Questions for Further Research and Dialogue

1. Congregational Development

To what extent does faith-based organizing increase the organizational capacity and foster leadership development within its member congregations and institutions? How might it increase its effectiveness in this area?

2. Recruiting New Religious and Social Constituencies

What are the benefits of reaching out to religious groups and social constituencies not typically represented in the field, and what are the best ways of accomplishing this?

3. Recruitment of Organizers

What are the best current practices and institutional sources for recruiting and training the talented and dedicated individuals required for successfully organizing within this model?

4. Diversity of Organizers

Is it important for FBCO staffs to fully reflect gender equality and the ethnic make-up of the urban communities in which they work? If so, then what are the best current practices and future strategies for achieving this diversity?

5. Collaboration

What are the best models for bridging the cultural and organizational differences between faith-based organizing and other forms of democratic engagement in American life, and between congregational and non-congregational members of FBCOs?

6. Political Reform

To what extent has faith-based organizing succeeded in developing a model for substantially reforming public policy and holding political and economic institutions accountable to the needs of families and communities? What strategies offer promise for advancing these goals beyond the local level to build a force for broader social change?


Notes On Methodology

Following the collection of demographic and organizational information, each director was asked a series of open-ended questions (see next page) regarding the organization's experience in a number of areas. Like the demographic/organizational questions, interviewees had received these questions several days earlier, to allow them time to prepare. Summaries of their answers were written down by the interviewer at the time of the interview.

For this analysis, we grouped organizers' responses into four areas:

Answers to questions 17 - 25 are open to a number of potential biases separate from those that affect the overall survey:

As a result of these factors, the open-ended data should be interpreted cautiously. We cite numbers only where we have confidence in them, but even there, some interviewees may not have been asked to elaborate as fully as others, so numbers cited are minimum reports.

Notwithstanding, this data represents far and away the best available information regarding the broad field of FBCO, how its leading proponents see their work, and how they interpret their experiences working with various constituencies. Indeed, it is the only study to attempt a systematic assessment of the entire field across all four major networks and all independent FBCO efforts.



Respondent __________________________________________

Date of Interview ___________________

Organization Name __________________________________________

City _________________________

Interviewer _________________________ Phone ____________________

Fax ____________________

This is not a questionnaire to return by mail, but a guide to preparing for the telephone interview. Please go over it in advance. For the factual questions, you can use it as a worksheet. If possible, please fax to the interviewer in advance: an annotated list of your congregations and other institutional members, as directed in Question 5; an annotated list of your board members (Question 6); and the demographic information that accompanied your last CCHD proposal (Question 12). All responses will be confidential. Only the persons analyzing the responses for Interfaith Funders will know which respondent or organization a particular answer comes from. No comparisons among networks will be made using the data.

1. In what year did your organization first have a full-time organizer? 19 _____

2. Has your organization had a founding convention?


yes  In what year was it held? 19 _____

3. Is your organization affiliated with a network?

no Do you have a consultant? no yes Who? _________________________

yes Name of network ______________________________________

When did your organization affiliate with this network? 19 _____

What do you pay the network annually for its services? $ ,000.00

4. Has your organization ever been affiliated with a different network (with any network, if not affiliated now)?


yes Which one? _______________________________________

Why did you change? _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________

5. This question is about the characteristics of your member congregations and institutions. If you have a list of members, please annotate it and fax it to your interviewer. The list will be used only for this survey, and only to produce a statistical portrait of your member institutions. It will be destroyed once data collection is complete. If you do not have a list or prefer not to send it, the interviewer will collect information on the characteristics of your member institutions over the phone. The annotations needed are:

a. Add any congregations/institutions that have joined since the list was prepared.

b. Cross out any that have left.

c. If the denomination is not indicated by the name, please write it in. (Congregations only)

d. If the type of institution (union, block club, school, etc.) is not clear, write it in. (Other institutions only)

e. For each member institution, indicate the dominant ethnicity, using the codes shown at the top of the next page. If most of the people with that ethnicity are immigrants, place an asterisk after the code. For example, if Asians are the dominant ethnicity at St. Mark Church, and most of the Asians there are immigrants, you would write A*. (By dominant ethnicity, we mean one characterizing at least half of the individuals belonging to the congregation or institution.)

Race/Ethnicity Codes for Congregations and Institutions (add * if mostly immigrant)

A = Asian Record the country or region (e.g., Laos, Korea) that is the most important origin (birthplace for immigrants, national background for U.S.-born) for the Asians in the congregation.
B = Black (but not Hispanic) BC = Black Caribbean (but not Hispanic)
H = Hispanic Record the country or region (e.g., Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America) that is the most important origin (birthplace or national background) for the Hispanics in the congregation.
N = Native American / American Indian P = Pacific Islander W = White Anglo
I = Integrated/interracial/interethnic congregation or institution (no single race/ethnicity characterizes more than half of the individuals in this congregation or institution)

6. This question is about the characteristics of your governing board. If you have a list of board members, please annotate it and fax it to your interviewer in advance. As with the congregation list, this will be used only to compile statistics and will be destroyed once data collection is complete. If you do not have this list or prefer not to send it, the interviewer will collect information over the phone. The annotations should indicate for each board member:

a. gender (M or F)

b. race/ethnicity, using the same codes as in Question 5. Mark immigrants with an asterisk (*), and note  the national or regional background of Hispanics and Asians. For this question, the "I" code can be used for persons whose racial/ethnic identity is as an interracial or mixed-race person.

c. age (this will be summarized in 10-year groups: 10-19, 20-29, etc., so you can indicate approximate ages, such as 20+, 30+)

d. occupation (former or usual occupation, if retired, disabled, or unemployed). Please be specific, giving a sense of the person's position or work; e.g., instead of "businessperson" enter "owner of dry cleaning company," "manufacturing shift supervisor," "sales representative," or the like.

7. How is your board selected, and by whom? __________________________________________________


8. What is the term of office for board members? ______ years

9. What was the total size of your actual budget for 1998 or the last completed fiscal year?

a. Income: $ ________,000.00

b. Expenses: $ ________,000.00

10. What percentage of this income came from each of the following sources? (Please specify particular sources, as relevant, in the blanks at the right.)

a. ______ % CCHD (national and local combined)

b. ______ % other faith-based funders Which one(s)? ______________________________

c. ______ % foundations and corporate givers Which? _____________________________

d. ______ % dues paid by member congregations and other member institutions

e. ______ % local fundraising (adbooks, events, etc.)

f. ______ % other sources Which? _____________________________________________

100 % Total (make sure percentages above add to 100%)

11. Which of the following best describes the kind and size of area in which the local organization operates?

a neighborhood a city a metropolitan area a state
a section of a city a county a multi-county region a multi-state region

12. Please fax to your interviewer a copy of the demographic information for the area in which you organize, from your last CCHD proposal.

13. Please provide the following information about your organizing staff (support or business staff should not be included). Include yourself, if you are an organizer or supervisor. Use the codes from Questions 5 for race and ethnicity. (Since this question is about individuals, use the "I" code for persons whose racial/ ethnic identity is as an interracial or mixed-race person.) Definitions of the two check box columns: supervisor = a person whose work includes supervising other organizers; local organizer = a person (whether a supervisor or not) who does organizing work for your local organization.

Initials Gender (M/F) Race/ Ethnicity Age Religious Denomination

(if any)

Supervisor? Local Organizer? Pct. Time Year started with your organization Year started with your network

14. Please list the dates and turnouts of your last three organization-wide public meetings.

____________ date _________ number of persons attending
____________ date _________ number of persons attending
____________ date _________ number of persons attending

 15. About how many different people would you estimate attended a task force, committee, or board meeting, or did work on your organization's projects, at any point in the period April 1 - May 31, 1999? Don't include people whose only activity was to attend a public meeting.

___________ people

16. About how many of your clergy and leaders (whether currently active or not) have gone to multi-day training events, such as those provided by the networks, since your organization started?

___________ clergy and leaders

Please read and think about the questions on the final page of the questionnaire.

Questions for Open-Ended Discussion

The interviewer will discuss these with you over the phone and record your thinking.

17. Collaborative work beyond your local organization. In the case of each of the following possible partners for collaborative work, we would like to know: What kind of collaboration is happening, and with whom? What are the goals of the joint work? What kinds and level of energy and resources has your organization put into this work? What benefits has your organization derived from it? What are the limitations or weaknesses you see in the joint work?

(a) other congregation-based organizations. Are they ones in your network (if you are affiliated), and/or ones that are not?

(b) labor organizations. Has your experience with labor changed since its reconfiguration over the past few years? If so, how?

(c) other outside organizations or institutions, of any kind (for instance, universities, environmental groups, welfare rights organizations, or community organizations that are not congregation-based)

18. Recruiting from religious groupings. Is your organization trying to recruit any of the following? If so, which? What challenges and opportunities have you encountered? Does it look like any new congregations of these kinds will join?

(a) evangelical, fundamentalist, or Pentecostal congregations

(b) Jewish congregations

(c) other non-Christian congregations

19. Organizing in new constituencies. Are you organizing among any of the constituencies listed below? If so, why? What are your goals in doing this? Is it among people who belong to your member institutions, and/or among people who are not affiliated with your members?

(a) immigrants (b) parents (c) workers (d) youth

20. Has your organization initiated any economic development or social service projects, either that the organization carried out directly or that have been "spun off" into a separate organization? If so, of what kind? When did they start? How have these affected (positively or negatively) your core organizing work?

21. What has your organization done in the arena of electoral politics (e.g., voter registration, education efforts, voter guides, supporting or opposing ballot propositions)? What have been the benefits and problems of this work?

22. What issues has your group addressed over the past two years?

23. What issues do you hope faith-based community organizing will be able to address over the next decade that it has been unable to address up to now? What internal challenges must community organizing deal with in order to be in a position to address these issues?

24. How would you characterize the current state of the field of faith-based community organizing?

25. How can Interfaith Funders help advance the field of faith-based community organizing?

Thank you very much for your cooperation!