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Community development and social work often have a symbiotic relationship, where one does not exist without the other. The process of community development involves a local municipality engaging in activities that increase the well-being of citizens living in the locale. Infrastructure improvements — such as fire departments, police forces, schools, or roads — are among the most common activities. Social work describes the time given by citizens to help improve the local community; these individuals typically receive no remuneration for their work. Together, they can drive the improvements of the municipality.
Regional and national governments may both spend money on community development. The funds for many activities come through taxes imposed on individuals in geographic regions. Other times, special donations from individuals or businesses are required; a library, for example, may ask for donations in order to improve a part of its internal building. Schools also often ask for funds from the community above their normal tax allotments from the government.
Citizens — both individuals and businesses — may engage in community development and social work out of a sense of benevolence. Individuals may simply feel better when they donate time and effort into community development. Businesses may not be so altruistic in their goals, but they may receive a tax deduction for money given to a nonprofit organization or government-funded operation. Additionally, a business can improve its standing with citizens by advertising its involvement with a certain activity that involves community development.
Government programs may also be in place that allow individuals and businesses to engage in community development and social work. This allows government-sponsored operations to use free labor in order to get things done. For example, governments may not have funds to pay for litter pickup along a highway. Offers are then made to companies for sponsoring sections of the highway for this activity. The business will pay the sponsorship fee and then engage in litter pickup at specified intervals.
Community activities such as these typically benefit more than one person. As a result, the importance of the activity is usually clear to the community and its citizens. Without them, a municipality may be less appealing to both residents and corporations.