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Practice Asset Mapping

Asset Mapping Solo Exercise (20–30 minutes)

Drawing on what you noticed during your Neighborhood Treasure Hunt in the opening module of this course, take some time to note down all of the assets you can think of in your neighborhood.

  1. Using this document, list all of the assets in your neighborhood that come to mind for each category. (For “Individuals,” be sure to name people by their actual names and gifts. Also, take particular time to note down people who you think are other natural connectors or Community Weavers.)

    Note: Try focusing on one neighborhood rather than city-wide. Neighborhoods tend to be a more potent and manageable scale for sparking people-powered, asset-based initiatives.

  2. Fill in your answers in the “Reflection Space” section of the document, then share your map and reflections in the forum.

  3. Make a short list of names of other people you know in your neighborhood who you could invite to do this activity along with you.

Asset Mapping with a Group (1–2 hours)

  1. Bring together the neighbors you listed in step 3. of Part 1 of this exercise. (You can invite them to bring along someone as well!) Meet somewhere that’s comfortable and enjoyable, such as a familiar community space, hospitable neighbor’s living room or dining room table, or over coffee or food at a favorite neighborhood café.

  2. Share what inspired you to bring everyone together, in your own words.

  3. If it feels right, you can send along any of the material you’ve found particularly inspiring from the module so far in case folks want to read/view ahead of time.

  4. If time allows, you could also open the session with a quick 4-H Gifts Exercise to connect more deeply as individuals and get everyone excited about the abundance within the community.

  5. Give everyone about 15 min fill in their own asset maps (they can use the digital version, or you can print out a copy of the document for each person to fill in by hand)

  6. Come back together as a group and share what you came up with. Spend as much time as feels natural with each section. Allow the conversation to flow naturally so that people can add commentary, stories, etc.

  7. When the group has moved through all of the categories, walk through the following questions:

    • Where are assets already connected? Where could they be better connected?

    • What are some things we could imagine doing with this asset map - and/or ideas for projects using the assets we have just mapped?

    • Who was missing? What might we do to learn more about those assets we don’t know much about?

    • What was helpful about this exercise? What did you like about it?

    • What did we learn from this?

You now have your starting group and a set of ideas for connecting the assets you have just mapped!

Tips and Ideas for Going Forward

  • Find a manageable timeframe and process for moving ahead together as a group, sharing responsibilities for pursuing the ideas or tasks generated.

  • Create a shared version of the asset map that everyone can access when inspiration strikes, whether as a reference or to add to it. Use whatever format makes the most sense for your group. For instance, some folks who are very comfortable with technology may create an online spreadsheet or running list, a geo-map, or an online whiteboard. Others may feel more comfortable with a physical map / list that is hung somewhere that is accessible to the group, and can be used as a backdrop for group conversations and brainstorming.

  • Most importantly, treat your group asset map as a living document and as a guide for relationship-building. Pull it up when planning; revisit it periodically (every month, three months or 6 months) to add new assets you’re uncovering, document new connections, and/or invite new people into the mapping process.

For additional ways to do asset mapping with a group, see this resource. (Note: While it’s framed for libraries and institutions, the processes can be easily adopted by Community Weavers working in their communities!)

Going Further