What is the Role of a Community Engagement Officer?

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There are plenty of career options when it comes to working in philanthropy and nonprofits. For most people, the extent of the experience they have in a nonprofit is volunteering, whether at a single organization for a significant amount of time or at multiple charities over time. However, there are lots of other ways to be involved with a philanthropy and it can even be your full-time job. One role vitally important to a successful organization, though not all charities have utilized this role, is the community engagement officer.

What is a community engagement officer?

Much like the name sounds, a community engagement officer is responsible for getting the community involved with the philanthropy. This purpose can show itself in various ways, such as finding volunteers or raising donations or simply making the community aware of the work the organization is accomplishing. The community engagement officer can also focus on spreading news about the organization to a larger community, such as the county, state, or on a national level.

Why is this position important?

Most charities rely on the surrounding community to help keep them up and running, often by providing volunteers, donations, or other vital services. Without someone focusing on engaging the community and spreading the word about the charity, it’ll be difficult for the nonprofit to achieve success. For many philanthropies, it can be difficult for people in charge to focus on also engaging the community when they’re trying to raise donations, fill out proper forms, organize fundraisers and other events, train volunteers, and various other tasks that fill a charity’s day-to-day responsibilities. This excessive activity is exactly why it’s important for organizations to have a single person dedicated to engaging and connecting with the community.

How can it be implemented elsewhere?

A few charities already utilize this position, but it should be done at more organizations as well. Many nonprofits may feel like they do not have the funds to make this position full-time, but it can slowly be implemented. Starting it as a volunteer or part-time position can work out if the person is talented at what they do. The position will eventually pay for itself as the community becomes more engaged with the philanthropy and funds are increased. Taking small steps toward having this position full-time can be beneficial and make for long-term success.

Tips for current community engagement officers

If you’re a current community engagement officer or are new to your position, it can be daunting to approach this position and attempt to achieve immediate success. It’s okay to start small and work up to larger events or goals. Focus on first getting the word out about your organization; many community members may not even realize your nonprofit is located in the community. Use social media to your benefit and advertise events and opportunities for people to get involved. Get out and talk to community members at local businesses and events and generate a buzz about your philanthropy.

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