Asset Based Community Development – Let More Members Be Involved

January 17, 2012 Comments Off on Asset Based Community Development – Let More Members Be Involved

Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is a different approach to traditional (offline) community work from Kretzmann, McKnight and co

Traditionally, a community organizer talks to members. They identify what problems members have, summarize these and bring the community together to resolve them. There is a problem with this approach. The community is forever seen through the lens of the problem. It focuses people on the negatives, not the positives. 

ABCD is different. ABCD seeks to utilize the assets within the community. They find out what skills and resources members have. Then find ways people can use these assets to help the community. It's a more sustainable approach, it doesn't forever perceive the community through the lens of its problem.

Online we take a similar approach to community organizing. We identify a strong common interest, then bring people together to talk about it. But we tightly control it and struggle to let more people become involved.

I suggest you give members a chance to contribute their skills and resources to the community. Let members list their skills/resources in their profile. Ask your members, who are good at writing, web development, marketing or show great interpersonal skills.

It shouldn't take long to find volunteer roles for these skills, nor find members who have skills in, say, HR to use them to help community members get jobs. 

Individuals love to feel appreciated for the skills they believe they have acquired. Online or offline, people want to feel they have contributed. It makes sense then, to include ABCD within your community approach. 

It sounds like a warm, fuzzy, idea and inconsequential to getting real ROI from an organization perspective. But having a community in which hundreds of members have a genuine sense of ownership is more important than most imagine.

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