ASSET BASED COMMUNITY
by Peter Kenyon
Bank of IDEAS
(Initiatives for the Development of Enterprising
Action and Strategies)
14 Bird Road
Kalamunda WA 6076
Phone: 08 6293 1848
Fax: 08 6293 1137
email: pk @ bankofideas.com.au
web: www. bankofideas.com.au
'Every single person has
capacities, abilities and gifts.
Living a good life depends on
whether those capacities can
be used, abilities expressed
and gifts given'
Asset Based Community Development
COMMUNITY NEEDS MAP
HOMELESSNESS EARLY SCHOOL LEAVERS
COMMUNITY ASSETS MAP
CLUBS GIFTS OF INDIVIDUALS
HOSPITAL FACILITIES GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
ASSET AND RESOURCE MAPPING
A systematic process for identifying and
detailing resources (individual skills
and organisational resources) and
strengths in a community.
Focuses on identifying and using the
assets and strengths in the community
rather than emphasising the problems
Inherently optimistic and rests on the
assumption that everyone has a gift to
Mapped assets are connected and
mobilised for action.
TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY ABCD
Top down, outside in Inside out
Deficiencies, needs Assets,
Silo provision Collaboration,
Consumers of services Producers of
Dependence on outside Importance of
SOME CONSEQUENCES OF NEEDS AND DEFICIENCY FOCUS
1. INTERNALISATION OF DEFICIENCY IDENTITY BY LOCAL
2. DEPENDENCE ON OUTSIDE RESOURCES / PROFESSIONALS
TO FIND AND FIX.
3. OUTSIDE RESOURCES GO INTO ‘NEED’ BOXES.
4. FOCUSES ON ‘LEADERS’ WHO MAGNIFY DEFICIENCIES.
5. REWARDS FAILURES AND ABILITY TO ‘TALK-DOWN’
6. PERPETUATES DEPENDENCY AND HOPELESSNESS.
STRENGTHS OF COMMUNITY ASSET MAPPING
A strong community building initiative
Identifies the community’s individual and
organisational skills and capacities
Connects resources to community initiatives
Mobilises residents to address critical community
Strengthens belief in building community from
Builds bridges between groups
1. TALENTS AND SKILLS OF RESIDENTS
2. ASSOCIATIONS AND NETWORKS
4. PHYSICAL ASSETS – LAND, BUILDINGS, EQUIPMENT
5. ECONOMIC ASSETS E.G. LOCAL BUSINESS BASE,
CONSUMER SPENDING POWER ETC
6. HERITAGE AND LOCAL STORIES
MAPPING INDIVIDUAL SKILLS AND CAPACITIES
1. Skills information
2. Community experiences
3. Employment/business interests and
6. Personal information
COMMUNITY SKILLS REGISTER
Within all communities there lies an untapped pool of skills,
knowledge and work experiences that can be used in local
A simple skills audit has been used in many communities to
identify these latent skills and interests of residents and their
willingness to share it. Such information needs systematic
recording and can be used to fulfil community needs or to
investigate new initiatives.
The following page provides a simple form for collecting this type of
information. This information then needs tabulating via a
Community Skills Register
computer, preferably on a program capable of responding to
Our community is rich and diverse in terms of the skills, interests and work experiences of its
residents. As a first step to identifying what skills and talents actually exist we need your help to
complete this form.
Please note: Filling out this form is optional. The information you provide will not be shared
with other people without your permission.
Postal Address: ________________________________________
Current Occupation: _____________________________________
Previous occupations: ____________________________________
Special interests: ________________________________________
Other languages spoken besides English: ________________________
Other special skills: _______________________________________
Are you willing to share any of the above skills with others? YES/NO/MAYBE
Thank you for taking the time and effort to complete this form.
If you have any questions or concerns please call (name) on (telephone no)
NEW PROSPECT BAPTIST CHURCH
My name is ___________. What is your name?
Thank you for coming over. Did someone talk to you about what the ‘Gift Exchange’ is all about?
What do you understand it to be? Basically, we believe that everyone has God-given talents and
gifts that can be used to benefit the community. I’d like to spend a few minutes talking to you
about your gifts and skills.
Gifts are abilities that we are born with. We may develop them, but no one has to teach them to
1. What positive qualities do people say you have?
2. Who are the people in your life that you give to? How do you give to them?
3. When was the last time you shared with someone else? What was it?
4. What do you give that makes you feel good?
Sometimes we have talents that we’ve acquired in everyday life such as cooking and fixing things.
1. What do you enjoy doing?
2. If you could start a business what would it be?
3. What do you like to do that people would pay you to do?
4. Have you ever made anything? Have you ever fixed anything?
Before you go, I want to take a minute and hear about your dreams – those goals you hope to
1. What are your dreams?
2. If you could snap your fingers and be doing anything, what would it be?
First, I’d like to thank you. We’re talking to as many people as we can and what we’d like to do is
begin a Wall of Fame here in the Soup Kitchen highlighting the gifts, skills and dreams of as many
people as possible. The ultimate goal is to find a way to use those gifts in rebuilding the
Before you go, can I get your full name? Address? Age?
APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY IS A POSITIVE
FOCUSSED OPERATION TO CHANGE THAT
CAN BE USED BY INDIVIDUALS, TEAMS,
ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITIES,
THROUGH AN INTERVIEW PROCESS THAT
FOCUSES ON STRENGTH AND HIGH-POINT
EXPERIENCES. APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY
HELPS PARTICIPANTS DISCOVER AND
CREATE A DESIRED FUTURE BASED ON
IDENTIFIED STRENGTH BY LOOKING FOR
STRENGTHS TO ENHANCE INSTEAD OF
PROBLEMS TO BE SOLVED, APPRECIATIVE
ASSUMPTIONS OF APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY
Work in the affirmative, continuously seeking to
discover what has and gives life to the community
and it’s members – instead of working from a
problem solving and deficiency paradigm. People
can plan best using the best of what has worked in
Communities grow toward what they persistently
ask questions about,
Importance of narrative rich communication – A1
works through story telling, testimonials and large
Our future images guide our present performance –
positive images enhance community’s performance
and personal motivation. Where images are
depressed or deficient, morale tends to be low,
Inquiry is inseparable from action. A1 articulates
tomorrows possibilities rather than explains
Inquiry and change are not separate moments. A1
generates conversations about what has worked,
the good, the better and the possible.
SELECT READING LISTS
Kretzman J. R and McKnight J. L (1993) Building Communities
From the Inside Out – A Path Toward Finding and Mobilising a
Community’s Assets, Chicago: The Asset Based Community
Snow (2001) The Organisation of Hope – A Workbook for Rural
Asset – Based Community Development, Chicago: The Asset -
Based Community Institute.
Oklahoma Community Institute (2001), Community Resource
Mapping – Mining Local Resources, Oklahoma City.
Mellish E (2001) The Appreciative Series Chelmer: Mellish and
Annis S (2000), The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry, Planto:
Thin Publishing Co.
THE BANK OF I.D.E.A.S
PH: (08) 9433 2222