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What Does a Community Affairs Manager Do?

By Theresa Miles
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A community affairs manager handles a company's relationship with public constituencies. The position is sometimes known as a public affairs, community relations, or community outreach manager. Specific duties often depend upon the type of business. Corporations, event marketers, nonprofits, and political offices are some of the types of businesses that will use a community affairs manager to coordinate external relationships.

The community affairs manager shepherds relationships between the company and a segment of the public whose goodwill is important to the company's continued success. Someone employed in this position generally serves as a spokesperson for the company at a local level. His job is usually to go out into the communities where a company does business and present the face of the company by answering questions and distributing information.

In specific contexts, the range of duties that can be considered community affairs is quite broad and depends upon the type of business employing the position. For example, a community affairs manager in a political context is typically part of constituent services. A politician employs this type of manager in a local office to be a liaison with a particular constituency, such as the nonprofit or business communities. Duties in this context would include meeting with members of the public, taking concerns back to the politician, distributing information, and holding public meetings.

A community affairs manager hired by a major corporation is typically responsible for the company's charitable work in the community. The manager administers a grant program, processes applications, meets with organizations, and distributes money. He also manages the relationship between the company and the nonprofit going forward, attending events and visiting programs on behalf of the company.

Another set of duties that can be included in a community affairs position in the corporate context is managing public perception around major projects. A corporation that wants to expand operations into a new community often needs approvals from local community leaders and to have positive public sentiment on its side. The community affairs manager is tasked with meeting with community boards and other officials, holding public information sessions, and presenting the project in a positive light. Once the project is approved, the manager keeps the community informed of its progress and handles problems during the setup or construction phase.

Nonprofits also employ community affairs managers to work with the people it services. Typically, the position in this context is concerned with outreach, or introducing the nonprofit's services to new people. The community affairs manager will sometimes also handle strategic partnerships with other nonprofits, for-profits, government agencies, and local politicians. Due to the tight nature of a nonprofit's budget, this type of manager might also be assigned government and media relations duties.

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