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Elements of Community Organization

Editor’s Note: This original document was prepared at approximately the same time as the entry on the January 1939 study to determine the “Community Organization: Its Meaning.” This January 1939 document is a significant early step in attempting to define Community Organization as a method of social work. The source of the document is from the files of the Social Welfare Archives, University of Minnesota Library. More information is available at:

As Dr. Kenneth L.M. Pray reported in his 1947 presentation at the National Conference on Social Welfare, “…One of the difficulties we face in defining the area of general social work practice, in terms of the kinds of problem with which it deals, is our use of the broad and general term “social” as the only qualifying adjective to designate our specific area of service. The word “social” has none of the precision of such words as “medical” or “legal,” for instance, by which other areas of professional practice are defined. ….”


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