Assets Based Community Development or ABCD A Needs Map An Assets Map Local Assets Inventory A Portrait of Gifts Mobilizing Community Assets

Compiling a Local Assets Inventory

The initial mapping of needs and assets is designed to shift the focus of attention from needs to assets. The next step it to make a more comprehensive inventory of local assets so that community members know what they have to start with to begin to activate new development pathways. 

Inventory of physical resources

Using local knowledge, government data and observation:

  • identify the natural assets in the area such as beaches, waterfalls, fertile soils, landforms
  • locate all under-utilized buildings and facilities
  • locate unused land and find out how it can be accessed

Inventory of businesses

Using data from local government and business organizations as well as local knowledge:

  • make a list of all registered businesses that operate in the community
  • record how many people are employed in each business
  • identify what goods and services are provided by these businesses
  • note down where their raw materials are supplied from and where they sell their products
  • identify what technical expertise these businesses possess

Inventory of associations

Using data from government sources and local knowledge:

  • make a list of all the non-government organizations (NGOs) in your community and note what they focus on
  • identify all the people's organizations (POs)and note who they cater for
  • identify all the other associations that people belong to and the extent of their networks

Inventory of institutions

Using local knowledge and government sources:

  • locate all the nearby government institutions such as Departmental offices and services
  • locate all the schools and other educational institutions
  • locate all the health related institutions such as hospitals and clinics
  • locate all the legal institutions such as courts and police stations
  • note the geographic spread of institutions across the locality

Inventory of people

Using government statistics and data compiled by the local municipality:

  • find out what the population is of the local area and how it is spread
  • identify the disribution of age groups in the population
  • pay particular attention to numbner and location of post-school aged youth and the elderly
  • identify the skills base of the community--who have skills, who have training

Using the Portrait of Gifts exercise find out what other skills and passions local resident possess.

Inventory of practices

Use the Local Economic Inventory to identify the economic pracitces that people engage in.


Depending on the resources at hand, the Local Assets Inventory can be comprehensive and generate a lot of information, or it can be more indicative of what further study might find. The main point of this exercise is to see that there are always local assets that can be drawn into the development process.

This powerpoint display shows how the Linamon community documented their assets.

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the data collection task. Use the Assets Inventory as a way of finding out more about your community and working with others to re-value what you have.