ABCD Institute > Resources > Tool Kit

Tool Kit

​​​​The following is a collection of tools from ABCD faculty members as well as individuals and organizations that embody the principles of ABCD in their work. The addition of the toolkit was made possible by a generous grant from the Alumnae of Northwestern University, the institute's former home.

We hope you find these to be useful. New tools will be added as we come across them.

The tools are arranged into three general categories: ABCD Talking Point Tools, Asset Mapping Tools and Facilitating Tools.

ABCD Talking Point Tools

These are helpful tools when presenting the ABCD principles, understanding what they can do and comparing organizing practices.

ABCD Basic Slide Presentation

ABCD Basic Slide Presentation Notes and Descriptions 

What is the essence of ABCD?, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

Instructional: What is Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), Collaborative for Community Transformation

What is an Association,Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

What is an Institution, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

The Bridge From Client to Community Member, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

ABCD Community Organizing​, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

ABCD Organizing for Inclusion, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

Young People in Our Communities, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

Video: “Richland Together Let’s Connect” – Video about aging in place created through a partnership with the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Southwest Wisconsin and the Active Aging Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Contributed by ABCD faculty member Tom Mosgaller, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Richland County Aging and Disability Resource Center, Richland, Wisconsin
“This wonderful video is a very useful description of the variety of activities that ABCD can stimulate.”
–John McKnight

Charts: “Community Building Principles and Action Steps” Contributed by ABCD faculty member Dan Duncan

Chart: Needs-Based vs. Asset-Based “The New Paradigm for Effective Community Impact-Asset Based” – This chart compares needs-based strategies with asset–based strategies. Contributed by ABCD faculty member Dan Duncan 

Community Partnerships That Really Work​, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

Asset Mapping Tools

Mapping tools are available to download as PDF files.

Introduction to Capacity Inventories, Kretzmann and McKnight, 1993.

The Capacity Inventory, Kretzmann and McKnight, 1993.

How to Use the Capacity Inventory, Kretzmann and McKnight, 1993.

ABCD Mapping, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

ABCD in Action, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

ABCD Resource Kit. From our Asia-Pacific ABCD Network, this resource kit, titled Shifting Focus: Alternative Pathways for Communities and Economies, details the community partnering process used by the Latrobe City Council and Monash University, both in Australia. The kit includes documented examples of how positives can be found in negative situations, and will assist communities to establish micro-economic communities in their local area using people as their major resource.

Click on each link to download in four parts as PDF files:

ABCD Resource Kit Introduction
ABCD Resource Kit Part 1
ABCD Resource Kit Part 2
ABCD Resource Kit Appendices 

Community Asset Map, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

Guidebook: Participatory Community Building Guidebook, contributed by Dee Brooks and Michelle Dunscombe, Jeder Institute, 2020
The Art of Participatory Community Building  blends patterns, practice, processes and principles from Asset Based Community-led Development, Art of Hosting, Appreciative Inquiry and other strengths based methodologies. This guidebook offers an insight to the range of patterns, practice, processes and principles available to support local community-led efforts.

Workbook: “Mapping Community Assets Workbook – Strengthening Community Education: The Basis for Sustainable Renewal” by Diane Dorfman – a 15-page workbook for understanding and mapping community assets.
Contributed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

Instructional: “Asset Mapping: Eight Steps to Increase and Support Residential Engagement”
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Dan Duncan

Instructional Exercises: Gift Discovery (short version)
Gift Discovery (long version)

The purpose of these exercises is to demonstrate the wide variety of resources we have available to address an issue, beyond the services agencies offer.
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Dan Duncan

Board Game: The "We Can" Game - Instructions and Guidelines for Playing
Board Game Game Cards: Capacity cards formatted to be printed on pre-cut business cards. There are 10 sheets of capacity cards (100) and two sheets of blanks (320).
Board Game Corner Cards: Corner sorting cards (four)
A fun and engaging way to identify the gifts and capacities of a group of people.
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Cormac Russell. 
"Cormac Russell has invented a captivating 'game' that can flip negativity into an exploration of possibility - quickly - with groups of all sizes. It is quite remarkable. And it can be played with everyone! All sizes, shapes, ages, abilities. Basically people work in small groups of about 10 ideally. There could be many groups playing simultaneously in a room." –Jack Pearpoint

Board Game: The “12 Domains for People Powered Change” Game. An engaging and  illuminating activity that asks the questions, "What can citizens do to create change, what can people do only with professionals and government and what can only government and professionals do to create change across 12 People powered domains? Contributed by ABCD faculty member Cormac Russell.

Worksheet: Inupiaq Capacity Inventory - A capacity inventory designed specifically for an indigenous Alaskan community. An example of how the assets need to fit the community.

Block Connector Questionnaire - An example of questions used to collect information by a block connector in the Abundant Community Initiative, Edmonton, Canada. Contributed by Howard Lawrence.

Facilitating Tools

Instructional: Compendium of Methods and Tools for ABCD Facilitation ​Contributed by the Coady International Institute

This is a compendium of tools and methods compiled out of a 4-day Training of Trainers course in Asset Based and Community led Development (ABCD) offered by the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS, South Africa) and the Coady International Institute (St. Francis Xavier University, Canada) in November 2012​​​​

Workbook: “Creating Welcoming Spaces” - How your group can increase its size and diversity, get everyone participating and keep members coming back.
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Bruce Anderson

Worksheet: “Creating Space for Resident Action and Engagement” – What can agencies stop doing to increase resident engagement?
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Dan Duncan

Worksheets: “Three Questions for Effective Strategy Development” - Defining what residents can accomplish by themselves, with some help from institutions, and what institutions must do themselves.
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Dan Duncan

Instructional: “Porch Time–Learning Conversations” - What gifts, skills and passions residents have to offer their neighbors.
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Dan Duncan

Chart: “Tips for Working with Neighborhoods” - How approaching work with neighborhood residents differs from working with traditional organizations.
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Dan Duncan

Worksheet: “Welcoming Schools” - How to assess if your school is a welcoming place. “A quick little tool we use for student groups who are working on creating welcoming schools. Its purpose is just to get them warmed up to the range of possibilities for welcoming.” – Bruce Anderson
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Bruce Anderson

Seven ABCD Principles For Institutions contributed by Tom Mosgaller
Instructional: Portrait of a Connected Neighborhood - Project CLIC: Creating Livable and Interactive Communities was aimed at creating more welcoming and inclusive neighborhoods by exploring the stories, photographs and experiences of citizens, one ‘clic’ at a time.

Instructional: "Gifts and Assets That People Who Are Vulnerable to Rejection Commonly Bring to Community" - A wonderful and important list of unique often overlooked gifts.
Contributed by ABCD faculty member Judith Snow.

Inclusion​: Connie Lyle O’Brien & John O’Brien Guiding Ideas​Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

Two Tools for Community Building, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

Worksheet: "Gifts of Individuals", Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

Community: A Place Filled With Care, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

To Get The Right Ducks; You Need The Right Duck Call, Twelve guiding principles for community engagement , Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green

Inclusion Takes Both Person-Centered and Community-Centered Work, Contributed by ABCD faculty member Mike Green