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Community Relations Coordinator Career Guide

What is a community relations coordinator?

A community relations coordinator is the link between an organization and the community it serves or interacts with. Their key role is strengthening the relationship, aiming to build trust and understanding. This position directly impacts public perception of a business, an increasingly critical function in today’s world of social media and immediate dissemination of information. The presence of these coordinators often elevates their employer’s reputation by driving a positive corporate image, increasing community support, and fostering long-term business sustainability.

These professionals exist in public relations, marketing, and corporate social responsibility. From non-profit charities to global corporations, they develop and implement strategies to promote the organization in a favorable light within its surroundings, build successful partnerships, secure community resources, and handle any issues or conflicts that may arise. Their value is immeasurable as the liaison of goodwill, acting as the face and voice of a business.

Duties and responsibilities

Community relations coordinators have various duties and responsibilities as advocates for their organization. Their work involves strategizing and executing initiatives to engage the community, which includes establishing and nourishing relationships with stakeholders like local businesses, residents, and governmental entities. They also organize and manage community events, such as charity fundraisers and public forums. These events provide an avenue to interact with the community directly, showcasing a commitment to the public and facilitating discussions about community concerns or issues.

These professionals are also responsible for communicating their employer’s goals and initiatives to the public and media outlets. Creating presentations, crafting press releases, and engaging in social media platforms are some methods they employ. In crises, they play a pivotal role in communication, working to mitigate any negative impact on the organization’s reputation. They also team up with internal departments, like human resources and marketing, to ensure all actions align with the overall mission and brand image.

Work environment

A community relations coordinator typically works in an office setting, whether an educational institution, a non-profit, or a corporation. While much of their work involves working at a desk, planning and strategizing, a significant portion of their role involves being ‘out in the field.’ They spend time outside the office, attending and orchestrating community events, networking with local community leaders, visiting local businesses, or conducting community outreach programs.

The nature of their work necessitates a certain amount of flexibility and adaptability. One day might be spent in back-to-back meetings discussing strategies and initiatives, while another might be at a remote event location coordinating a charity run. Coordinating such operations can sometimes be demanding and stressful, requiring exceptional organizational skills. However, the role offers a unique blend of office and external work, potentially making it exciting and a great fit for those who enjoy people-oriented tasks.

Typical work hours

Community relations coordinators usually work full-time hours, typically mirroring a traditional workweek from Monday through Friday. However, their work often extends beyond the typical 9-to-5 day due to the events-oriented aspect of their role. Community events such as fundraisers, public forums, or charity events usually occur during evenings or weekends. Therefore, flexibility is crucial in this role, as they will often need to be present at these events, which may involve some travel depending on the organization’s reach and the communities it serves.

How to become a community relations coordinator

Becoming a community relations coordinator involves a combination of excellent communication skills, a passion for improving community living, and experience coordinating events and programs. This career guide section explores the necessary steps to achieve your goal.

Step 1: Obtain a bachelor’s degree

Securing a bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum educational requirement. A degree in public relations, communications, journalism, marketing, or a related field can provide the foundational knowledge needed. These courses teach skills such as community outreach, public speaking, event planning, and media relations, which are integral to a career in this field.

Step 2: Gain experience in the field

Beyond obtaining a degree, hands-on experience will significantly enhance your chances of securing this job. Internships or part-time jobs involving community engagement, event coordination, marketing, or public relations can be beneficial. This practical experience will help solidify skills learned in academics and demonstrate your ability to apply them in a real-world setting.

Step 3: Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills

Professionals in this space need sound communication and interpersonal relationship skills, as the job requires constant interaction with diverse groups within a community. Volunteering for community-based projects, joining public speaking clubs, and taking negotiation and conflict resolution courses are ways to develop these skills. Excellent written communication skills are also essential, so consider writing courses or gaining experience in blogging, writing articles, or editing.

Step 4: Get certified

While not always mandatory, obtaining a certification can make candidates more attractive to potential employers by demonstrating commitment and proficiency in the field. Certificates in public relations, corporate social responsibility, or community development can give you a competitive edge. Professional organizations such as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) offer relevant certifications.

Step 5: Apply for jobs

With a degree in hand, field experience, strong communication skills, and possibly a certificate, you are ready to apply for positions. Use your experience and knowledge to craft an impressive resume and cover letter. Joining professional networking sites and attending industry events can also increase your visibility to potential employers.

Step 6: Take online courses

Community relations coordinators play a vital role in fostering positive relationships between organizations and the communities they serve. By taking community relations coordinator courses, you’ll gain the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in this dynamic and rewarding profession.

Here are some great online courses to take:

How much do community relations coordinators make?

A community relations coordinator’s compensation largely depends on several key factors. The nature and size of their employer, typically a non-profit or corporate organization, often play a critical role in shaping their income. The geographic location also plays a factor, as some regions may offer higher compensation due to the cost of living or the significance of community relations activities in that area.

Their level of education and professional experience can also impact salary, with more experienced coordinators or those with advanced degrees often receiving higher pay.

Highest paying industries

  • Technology Companies – $67,390
  • Healthcare – $64,850
  • Finance and Insurance – $63,920
  • State Government – $60,540
  • Education – $58,760

Highest paying states

  • California – $75,650
  • New York – $73,320
  • Massachusetts – $69,760
  • Washington – $68,280
  • Connecticut – $66,540

Browse community relations coordinator salary data by market

Types of community relations coordinators

In this section of the career guide, we cover the specialties related to the career path of a community relations coordinator. Each requires a unique skill set and plays an essential role in shaping the public perspective of an organization.

Non-profit community relations coordinator

Primarily working in charitable organizations, these coordinators focus on facilitating a positive relationship between the non-profit entity and the community it serves. Their role often involves planning and organizing community events, presenting their organization’s mission to the community, and garnering support through outreach programs.

Corporate community relations coordinator

In the corporate sector, a community relations coordinator contributes significantly to a company’s reputation and public image. They often work on corporate social responsibility initiatives, engage with local communities and stakeholders, and are responsible for crafting key messages that establish and maintain positive perceptions of their corporation.

Healthcare community relations coordinator

A role predominantly found within healthcare settings, these coordinators aim to build trust and understanding between healthcare institutions and their patients or local population. They organize health fairs, workshops, or seminars, collaborate with local media to distribute health-related information, and work closely with health professionals to better understand the needs of their community.

Educational community relations coordinator

Operating within educational institutions, they work to bridge the gap between the school or university and its surrounding community. These professionals organize educational programs for parents, address community concerns related to the institution, and cultivate an environment of shared responsibility and engagement.

Government community relations coordinator

Professionals in this role serve in local or national agencies and keep residents informed about governmental activities. They design and implement programs that invite community participation, build positive relationships with media outlets, and address public concerns or questions regarding government projects or initiatives.

Top skills for community relations coordinators

This section outlines the primary skills and traits needed for career success as a community relations coordinator. The following descriptions provide insights into the abilities anyone aspiring to this role should focus on developing.

Interpersonal skills

Relationship building lies at the core of the role. Strong interpersonal skills allow coordinators to interact with a wide range of individuals and groups effectively. These skills enable them to facilitate understanding and cooperation between their organizations and the communities they serve.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial to disseminating information, handling public relations issues, and establishing a rapport with community members. Whether written or verbal, delivering clear, concise, and appropriate messages helps form trust between organizations and their communities.

Organizational skills

Often tasked with planning community events and managing various programs, they should be highly organized. Balancing multiple tasks, keeping track of deadlines, and efficiently managing resources are critical attributes that enable them to perform their role effectively.

Problem-solving skills

Coordinators often face unforeseen challenges that require swift and effective solutions. They may encounter resistance from community members or need to address organizational difficulties that impact community relationships. Being adept problem solvers can help them navigate these challenges, mitigating conflicts and fostering a positive community atmosphere.

Empathy and cultural awareness

Understanding and appreciating the unique dynamics of each community is paramount for professionals in this career. Possessing a high degree of empathy and cultural awareness can facilitate deeper connections, fostering a sense of mutual respect and understanding, which is instrumental in creating authentic relationships and promoting inclusivity within diverse communities.

Event planning skills

Community relations coordinators are often tasked with planning and executing community events. Proficiency in managing logistics, executing promotional strategies, and coordinating with various stakeholders are crucial for ensuring the smooth running of these events. These skills can significantly enhance a community’s perception and appreciation of an organization.

Networking skills

Being able to form new relationships and leverage existing ones are key attributes for anyone in this field. Networking skills allow these professionals to reach out to potential community partners and allies and empower them to promote their organizations’ initiatives to a wider audience.

Community relations coordinator career path

Community relations coordinators are uniquely poised for growth and advancement in numerous fields. Their expertise in community outreach, collaboration, and public relations can be leveraged for more senior roles within both the public and private sectors.

A common career progression is to move into a management or directorial role within community relations or a similar department. These positions involve overseeing a team of coordinators and other representatives, developing and implementing comprehensive community outreach strategies, and coordinating large-scale events, partnerships, and campaigns.

Some may transition into a public relations or marketing role, leveraging their experience in public communications, events coordination, and community liaison. Public relations roles may involve creating communications strategies for organizations, including media releases, public statements, and image or brand reputation management. Marketing roles include designing and managing marketing campaigns, analyzing consumer behavior, and focusing on client relationships.

Another related field to explore is corporate social responsibility. Roles in this sector involve ensuring that corporate activities align with ethical standards and contribute positively to social and environmental issues. They might spend their time establishing sustainable practices, advocating for social justice within business procedures, or fostering partnerships with non-profit organizations.

There’s also potential to shift toward government or non-profit roles, such as community development director, community services manager, or policy advisor. These positions directly impact community policy, advocate for social justice, lead community service programs, and generally work to improve the quality of life for community members.

In recent years, this career area has experienced several trends that have changed how community relations coordinators manage their roles and responsibilities.

First, digital communication has revolutionized the profession. With social media, online forums, and email chains becoming increasingly prevalent, they must become adept at navigating digital spaces. This trend offers opportunities for more direct, frequent communication with community members but also comes with the challenge of remaining mindful of an organization’s digital footprint and online reputation.

Next, there is an increasing demand for transparency and social responsibility from organizations. This shift has placed additional responsibilities on these professionals as they work to communicate their organization’s values and initiatives. It’s more important than ever to showcase their organization’s charitable work, social initiatives, and support for local communities.

Finally, amidst the global push for diversity and inclusion, coordinators have an essential role in making sure that organizational practices align with this vision. They help promote community diversity events, display inclusivity in every community engagement, and ensure their organization’s actions adhere to the principles of equality and acceptance.

Employment projections for community relations coordinators

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment across the wider field of public relations and fundraising is projected to grow 8 percent through 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for skilled professionals who can manage an organization’s public image and maintain good relations with communities will continue to rise as companies and organizations increasingly recognize the importance of good public relations in today’s digital age.

Community relations coordinator career tips

Understand the importance of relationship building

Cultivating strong relationships within and outside the organization is critical to the job. Through these relationships, you create a positive image for your organization in the community and generate goodwill toward the organization. You must be comfortable with frequent interactions with diverse individuals and groups. Your success will greatly depend on your ability to build and nurture these relationships.

Stay informed about community issues

Staying informed about events and issues within your community can help you identify potential opportunities or challenges for your organization, which involves staying up-to-date with news and updates about your community and actively participating in events and forums. Staying informed will make you more effective in your role and will help establish your credibility among both your community and your organization.

Practice effective communication

Whether you’re communicating with community members, your organization, or the media, you must deliver your messages clearly and persuasively. Be ready to tailor your communication for different audiences and communication channels. Your ability to effectively communicate your organization’s mission, objectives, and activities can greatly impact the community’s perception of your organization.

Build a professional network

Building a professional network can open up new opportunities for your organization and you as a professional. Connecting with others in your field can lead to collaborations, partnerships, and more. Ensuring you’re connected with other professionals will offer you more perspectives, increase your knowledge base, and provide additional resources to aid you.

  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
  • The American Marketing Association (AMA)

Emphasize continuous learning

It’s imperative to stay updated with the latest trends and developments in your field. Prioritizing continuous learning can greatly enhance your performance and contribute to your professional growth. Whether you explore relevant professional courses, attend seminars or webinars, read industry publications, or join professional groups on social media platforms, every effort you make toward learning will supplement your expertise and proficiency in your role.

  • Attend webinars and seminars on community relations and public relations
  • Enroll in courses and training programs on platforms like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning
  • Read industry-specific books and publications
  • Join online communities and forums related to your field

Consider obtaining relevant certifications

Certifications can be a great way to demonstrate your professional dedication and expertise. In addition, they often open up better job opportunities. Consider obtaining certifications relevant to the field of community relations and public relations. Note that some certifications may require you to meet certain educational and experiential prerequisites, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision.

Where the community relations coordinator jobs are

Top employers

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Coca-Cola
  • Facebook
  • Microsoft

Top states

  • California
  • New York
  • Washington
  • Texas
  • Illinois

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster
  • SimplyHired


What does a community relations coordinator do?

They foster positive relations between their hiring organization and the surrounding community, including developing community outreach programs, organizing events, liaising with local businesses and groups, and responding to local concerns regarding the organization’s activities.

What qualifications are needed to work as a community relations coordinator?

A bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, or a related field is often required. Organizations typically seek candidates with significant experience in public relations, communications, or a similar role. Strong written and verbal communication skills are also essential, as are managing and coordinating various projects simultaneously.

What skills are necessary to be successful in a community relations coordinator role?

Beyond strong communication abilities, a community relations coordinator should have excellent organization skills, be adept at problem-solving, and be capable of working well under pressure. Engaging interpersonal skills, sensitivity to community issues, and cultural diversity generally lead to success in this role. It also helps to be proficient in the latest communication technologies and social media platforms.

What is a typical day like for a community relations coordinator?

It varies, largely dictated by the events and activities planned for the day. Common tasks include meeting with local community group leaders, planning and coordinating events, drafting press releases or social media posts, and sometimes attending community meetings or events. Schedules can be unpredictable, especially when coordinating events or responding to unexpected community situations.

What is the employment outlook for a community relations coordinator?

Employment opportunities are expected to grow steadily. Organizations increasingly recognize the value of maintaining positive relations with their communities, which can directly influence their public image and, ultimately, their success. With excellent skills and appropriate qualifications, the chances of securing a community relations coordinator role are fairly promising.

What are the typical working hours for community relations coordinators?

In a standard setting, community relations coordinators usually work standard office hours from Monday to Friday. However, the nature of the role can sometimes demand work during evenings, weekends, or holidays, particularly when organizing, attending, or overseeing events outside regular business hours.

Are there specific software or tools that a community relations coordinator should be familiar with?

They typically use software for project management, scheduling, and communication. Familiarity with social media platforms is also essential, as these are often used to reach out to and engage with the community. Some coordinators may also use public relations software to manage press releases and monitor their organization’s public image.

What challenges might a community relations coordinator encounter in their role?

Challenges can include dealing with adverse community situations or concerns, managing conflicts of interest, meeting event target dates, or managing disparate expectations from both the employer and the community. Successfully navigating these challenges requires excellent conflict resolution skills, patience, and a solid understanding of the community’s needs and interests.

Can a community relations coordinator work remotely?

Although some tasks performed by community relations coordinators can be completed remotely, most roles involve active involvement within the community, which typically necessitates a physical presence. They often meet with local individuals and organizations, visit community locations, and attend local events, all of which are challenging to conduct remotely.

Is being a community relations coordinator stressful?

Stress level can, and likely will, fluctuate. Balancing the expectations and interests of the community and the organization, meeting tight deadlines, or managing complex events can all contribute to stress. However, stress levels can be managed with efficient work practices, strong interpersonal skills, and a successful work-life balance.

What other roles might a community relations coordinator consider progressing to?

Community relations coordinators can grow into more senior positions within community relations or communications, such as a senior coordinator, community relations manager, or even a community relations director. Other roles they could consider may include communications manager, public relations manager, or corporate social responsibility manager.