This research paper investigates the literature that is available on Community Organization as an aspect of marketing. It elucidates the scope of these organizations and the roles that are played by individual members. According to Thompson (2005), community organizations are run by volunteers who fund their own activities. The basic focus of these organizations is to organize people to think and act in a particular way. Conversely, they may focus on protecting the interests or constitutional rights of a group of people. Although it is never lucrative working with community organizations, it has been my interest to make an impact in the world by working with one of those organizations. In this regard, it is necessary to collect adequate information regarding community organizations and how its discourse rules and patterns apply. In this course work, I have identified some of the rules or patterns by doing two types of research. These include an interview as well as an analysis of a professional document. The main audience in the research will encompass my instructor, classmates and other faculty members on the 100A portfolio committee (Phillip, page 34).
In order to get comprehensive information regarding community development, the research involved an interview of a Coloradoan couple, Hugh and Marty Downey, who have been in community organization since their early 20s. At the age of 65, the couple spends half of every year in Kenya educating the community of HIV/AIDS and healthcare. Besides, they have used their time in Africa to identify potentially bright kids and support their education. Here is a summary of the interview:
Community organization as a profession has a lot to do with the people and how they can be organized to think and behave in a particular way. According to Hugh and Marty, it takes personal sacrifice to succeed in community organization considering the amount of risks that it puts on peoples’ lives. For once, there are several interest groups which silently oppose the activities of these organizations, yet are reluctant to come out in the open. Thus, they would do anything within their capacity to eliminate all the activists in community organization. In fact, this is why Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr. was murdered in cold blood. Besides, it is the reason President J. F. Kennedy was assassinated as he seemed friendly to the civil societies that were involved in community organization then. However, community organization has lots of opportunities including the chance to visit and interact with people of different backgrounds all over the world. For instance, there could be managerial jobs where trained marketers use their skills to coordinate the organization’s activities. This is especially so, where community organizations operate overseas. In most instances, the target regions lack qualified personnel to head the institutions and thus, hire professionals from the mother countries to head their institutions. Besides, there could be also job opportunities as communication personnel, who gather and disseminate information on behalf of the organization. This would facilitate the means of communication between the community organization and the community that they serve. Although these opportunities are mostly reserved for the members of the local community, it is sometimes essential to hire qualified personnel to deal with communication issues, especially on matters of international interest (Phillip, page 84).
As a marketing professional, Hugh and Marty’s job subject fall into the category of leadership and institutional management. The knowledge of marketing is very critical in this instance, considering that it starts with getting people interested in what you are doing. According to Marty, it takes a lot of patience to get the community appreciate your significance as a community organization. For instance, the couple initially started as medical volunteers trying to sensitize the African populations about HIV/AIDS and other aspects of public health. However, the locals would not willingly receive them due to the fact that Africa had just freed herself of colonialism. Later on, they developed a strategy whereby they would sponsor bright but needy students to complete their studies. That is how the community began to develop a positive attitude towards them and appreciate their activities. Up to this moment, the couple literally has to move from place to place telling people why they have to test for HIV/AIDS and eventually stay safe. Essentially, it takes a lot of marketing strategies to get the community interested and ready to participate in the institutions’ activities (Phillip, page 114).
The particular skills required to work as a community organizer include good public relation and communication skills. This is because there is a lot of communication to be done to the community. In fact, it should be the type of communication that convinces people to think in a certain manner. In evaluating people’s suitability to serve as marketing personnel for community organizations, the institutions usually stress on the ability to communicate and relate well with people of all caliber. In most cases, they prefer persons with vast experience in voluntary work and who can engage directly with the community. However, for starters it requires the ability to make painful sacrifices in one’s social life as it involves a lot of travelling to places worse than one’s home. According to Hugh and Marty’s experience, they actually lost a son in Eritrea soon after they had ventured into community organization. This was during a civil strife in the country, where several people were killed. In fact, Marty has a mark of bullet wound for her involvement in community organization. However, they have never felt discouraged even for a moment. In fact, these experiences have made them stronger, with the belief that they are serving a course bigger than themselves (Phillip, page 134).
The main responsibility of marketing personnel engaged in community organization is to talk to the people. Basically, it starts with making friends and earning their respect. That is why one has to reduce themselves to the level of the average members of the community so as to perfectly fit into their social context. If this is not achieved, then all the attempts to educate or sensitize them on various issues will be in vain as they would consider you an alien trying to upset their social structure. It particularly becomes pretty difficult when the cause that the organization is championing for has to do with longstanding cultural aspects like female circumcision in remote parts of Africa. This is because the elderly members of the community will wage a tough war against the activities of the organization so that their local culture is not eroded. Although Hugh and Marty’s activities have not experienced such amount of resistance, Marty said that there was an instance where the community that they were sensitizing against HIV/AIDS practiced a culture of wife inheritance. From a medical perspective, this put their lives in a very tricky situation considering that the husbands to these women could have actually died of the disease. However, with time they got to appreciate the reason behind the campaign and significantly changed (Phillip, page 34).
The couple does a lot of reading of the Bible so as to get the strength to continue serving humanity. However, they also get to share their experience with the international community through their website. In this website, they occasionally post information about the progress that they make, especially with regards to provision of healthcare and the recently established orphanage. This has certainly enabled them to reach people all over the world and persuade them to contribute towards their activities. According to the information in the website, the organization currently has at least ten medical volunteers who are assisting in their hospitals. Although this is not enough to cater for the huge population that needs proper healthcare, it has done a lot to ensure the activities of the organization are up and running. Besides, the website has been instrumental in seeking donors and companies to donate drugs and cash towards the course of humanity. In order to ensure professionalism in dissemination of information, the institution has also employed a part-time computer scientist to manage the website (Phillip, page 114).
The couple had a great surprise of the living standards in remote Africa, when they first got there. There were no hospitals, yet people got sick every day. And so, they set out to give them medical care expecting that they would thereafter prevent themselves from contacting the same diseases. However, that was not supposed to happen as the same people kept coming back with the same infections. It was at this point that they decided to engage and educate the masses on preventive healthcare. On the course of their service to humanity, the AIDS scourge appeared all of a sudden. Thus, they had to up their services by providing medical as well as social care to the patients and their families. Indeed, it was a challenge feeding all the mouths. However, the couple does not consider this to be a challenge. According to Hugh, this is a job that has become part of his life. In fact, at 70 he still travels thousand miles from America to visit his projects in remote Africa (Phillip, page 34).
In conclusion, the interview was able to give important insight into what community organization entails. Actually, the information would suffice to get a young professional in marketing which is interested in community organization and serviced to humanity.