Community Development and Project Planning
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Process: Asset Mapping
I hope our blog up to now has been helpful in formulating your community-based projects and preparing your applications for the recent funding cycle. Prior to the stress and strain of working on those FY21 applications, we left off on developing the Project Goal with input from your community.
Here’s a summary of the project design elements that we worked on prior to application season:
- The Project Goal, crafted by the community, describes the improved condition that the project will create.
- This improvement can be:
- A reduction or elimination of the Current Community Condition that the community said was preventing them from achieving their Long-Term Community Goal – or the ideal world they hope to see 5 or 10 years from now. Or,
- An increase in your capacity to reduce or eliminate the condition. That is, the capacity of the organization, community or partners increases.
If you’ve been following along with the homework, the project goal that the community developed is a first draft at this point. Before it’s finalized, you’ll need to carry out an assessment of the resources that are available to accomplish the project goal. You may find that the resources currently available are insufficient to build a foundation for the accomplishing the project goal. OR you may find that existing resources could support a more ambitious project goal.
Defining existing resources to be used in project implementation is an essential component of project design that determines the potential scope of the project. It also provides an inventory of resources that can be used as matching funds and leveraged resources. But we’ll talk budget later! For now, just know that projects built on a foundation of local resources are attractive to funders. Even better… they’re typically more sustainable.
So, our next step in the project development process is an Asset Assessment. This assessment should include the resources that currently exist within the community and your organization, as well as the resources available from surrounding communities and partner organizations. The Asset Assessment focuses on the following five areas of exploration to identify existing resources and assets to use in project development:
- People Assets- Identify the human resources within the community who have the knowledge, skills, experience, credentials, and enthusiasm to implement a project strategy that relates to the project goal. Include existing staff and volunteers in your organization and potential partner organizations. Responding to this prompt will help you understand the existing capacity of community or organizational strengths to use in your project design.
- Material Assets – This includes supplies and minor equipment (i.e. computers, printers, etc.) for the project. Are there resources available in the internal or surrounding community?
- Capital Assets – Facilities where project activities could take place. Are there available spaces and places where the project can be housed? Do you have the following available if needed for a project: an office, garage, library, computer lab, classroom, gymnasium, or outdoor activity areas?
The next step in this Asset Assessment looks beyond the immediate community for assets to use in the project. Who and where are the potential partners with a shared interest in your community and the problem that the project will address? What collaborations can be developed with these partners? What expertise and resources do these partners possess? And in return, how will the project benefit potential partners to increase their interest in collaborating?
In designing new projects, strong partnerships and the resources you have leveraged from those partnerships are two indicators that a project has resulted from an effective internal and external community-based planning process. Committed partnerships and leveraged resources can be critical components in project operation and sustainability.
- Complete the following Assessments (see below).
- Review your project goal with your steering committee:
- Do you the resources necessary to achieve your goal?
- What resources do you still need?
- How can you modify the scope of your project, accordingly?
|List the assets available in the community:||List how they benefit the potential project:||Dollar Value:|
|Human: ex. Current Staff, Elders, Volunteers, etc.|
|Material: ex. Office Supplies, Printers, Computers, etc.|
|Facilities: ex. Office Space, Rec Center, etc.|
|Other: ex. 10-seater Van, etc.|
|List the assets available outside the community:||
List how they benefit the potential project, and
how the project will benefit these partners:
|Human: ex. Partner Experts, Consultants, etc.|
|Material: ex. Partner Book Binding Machine, etc.|
|Facilities: ex. Partner Design Lab, etc.|
|Other: ex. Partner Training Course, etc.|
|Write your original project goal:||Now, revise your project goal based on the available resources:|