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Cost Effective Ways to Expand Your Community Practice Knowledge

By Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW
The Political Social Worker

One of the hardest things about being a community practice (macro) social worker is the difficulty in finding ways to expand your practice knowledge.  Continuing education courses that cover community practice issues are rare.

Below are a few low-cost or free option to help you gain knowledge in community practice issues.


ACOSA – Association for Community Organization and Social Administration is a membership organization geared towards macro social workers.  Compared to NASW their membership fees are very reasonable and, of course, their focus is on community practice issues.

Your membership includes access to the Journal of Community practice and the ACOSA newsletter. ACOSA also host an annual symposium.

Social Welfare Action Alliance – SWAA is an association for progressive human service workers.  The organization has been around since 1985 and was founded to honor the philosophy or social worker Bertha Capen Reynolds who was a pioneer in the development of radical social work.

Blogs & Websites

There are a few really great blogs that can provide you with information related to community practice. Some of my favorites are:

Journals & Books 

Journal of Community Practice – Membership with ACOSA (mentioned above) includes a subscription to their newsletter and to the Journal of Community Practice.

Stanford Social Innovation Review – This is one of my favorite publications.  The digital only subscription is pretty reasonable and will give you access to all current and past issues online.  They also offer a limited number their articles for free.  From time to time they also make special offers for subscribers to attend webinars free of charge.

Free Webinars 

Some organizations or individual experts will give free webinars. A few weeks ago I took an informative webinar offered by Emerge America on building and maintaining a volunteer base. They will be hosting another free webinar on July 24th.

Live Twitter Chats 

Participating in live twitter chats is another way to expand you knowledge for free.  It is also a great way to network. There are many Twitter chats held on a regular basis that cover a variety of topics. You can find one that fits your interest by visiting the Chat Diary.

If there are any other resources related to community practice that you feel should be added to the list leave them in the comment section or you can email them to me at rwest@politicalsocialworker.org and I will add them to the article.

photo credit: Gerard Van der Leun via photopin cc

Posted by Rachel L. West

In addition to being the founder of The Political Social Worker blog, I am a consultant. My consulting practice offers advocacy and community outreach solutions to nonprofits, social good organizations, and private practitioners. Additionally, I offer career coaching to macro social work students and professionals.

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