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Human Services: Social Change Skills

Potential Sources of Power

Use municipal web sites to look for links to other important areas of activity and influence in your community.  Use the City of Madison web site (see box at right) as a general guide to the types of information you might find to identify sources of power and influence in your own community.  Examples include:

  • Municipal government boards and committees
  • Economic development groups
  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Business and professional organizations
  • Banks and credit unions
  • Churches and houses of worship
  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Social clubs and groups
  • Media outlets

Print/Online Reference Materials

Print resource directories are available for the Madison area that include names, institutions, and organizations of interest:

Municipal Web Sites

Additional Useful Web Sites

Personal Contacts

Don't overlook the importance of personal contacts.  In smaller communities in particular, social groups and "units of power" may be quite informal (the group that meets for coffee every Tuesday morning at the local coffee shop).  Talk to the local police chief, the school principal, the local minister, and the town clerk.  Ask your local public librarian.  Don't be afraid to pick up the phone.  Sometimes the quickest, most efficient route to the information you need is a phone call.

Newspapers, Magazines & Media Outlets

Scanning the local media and following local news stories from print, radio/TV or web sources is an excellent way to get a sense of who's who in your community.  Make note of announcements of appointments to various boards and committees in government, education, the arts, business, etc. 

Mapping your Neighborhood

Join census information & geography with this online mapping program:

Draw your Neighborhood

Determine your neighborhood boundaries using an online mapping guide. 

Residency Resources

Determining local residency can be challenging.  The following types of resources can help:

  • Local assessor's or city clerk's web site. 
  • Community directories of various kinds (check your local public library)
  • Madison/Dane County phone directories
  • Web directories for names, phones, and addressess.
  •  --the white pages and yellow pages listings should prove useful.