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Tool 1: Community capacity inventory

Here's a preliminary inventory of community capacities as described by local yellow pages, city/county planning departments, the chamber of commerce, and volunteer placement agencies. In this example, assets are organized by sector. List the name, address, and phone number of a contact person who can give you more information on who and what you find.

Grassroots or citizens' associations

  • All local neighborhood organizations
  • Community centers
  • Seniors' groups
  • Local officials, politicians, and leaders


  • Local public schools, universities, and community colleges
  • Public hospitals or clinics
  • Any publicly funded or private educational institution
  • State or federal agencies
  • Municipal libraries
  • Police officers and other emergency personnel
  • Parks and municipal pools or golf courses

Community-based organizations

  • Housing organizations
  • Food kitchens and emergency housing shelters
  • Halfway houses, substance use homes, domestic violence shelters
  • Churches
  • Clinics and counseling centers
  • Advocacy groups for environment, safety, drug abuse reduction, et cetera

Private sector

  • Banks
  • Chamber of commerce
  • Businessmen's/businesswomen's associations
  • Local businesses

Labeled populations

  • Senior citizens
  • Local musicians
  • Local artists
  • Immigrant populations
  • Those receiving public assistance, food stamps, Medicaid or Medicare
  • Youth
  • College students

Tool 2: Questions to ask while capacity mapping

Conducting interviews during community capacity mapping will help you collect information about the different associations, organizations, and relationships that exist in the community. What follows is a sample of the questions you can find out more about community assets.




Telephone Number:

Name of Organization:



  1. How many people are part of your organization?
    • Staff
    • Volunteers
    • Members or contributors
    • Board members
    • Clients
  2. How often do your members gather? Do you gather outside of regular meetings?
  3. What kind of funding does your organization have? Where else do you get support?
  4. Where does your organization meet? What other spaces does your organization have access to?
  5. What kind of equipment does your organization have access to?
    • Office?
    • Computer?
    • Audio-visual or video?
    • Computers?
    • Mechanical?
    • Other?
  6. What kind of written media materials/newsletters does your organization have?
  7. How does your organization keep its members up to date on activities and staff changes?
  8. Which of your organization's resources would you be willing to make accessible to other community members?
  9. What kinds of services does your organization provide to the community? How do you make these services known to the public? What kinds of projects are your organization involved in now? What has your organization accomplished thus far?
  10. How many of your staff members live in the community served by your organization?
  11. Where do you purchase your supplies and equipment, go for repair services, etc.?
  12. What are your organization's most valuable resources and strongest assets?
  13. What other organizations do you work with, personally? What other organizations does your group sponsor events with? Share information with? Share resources or equipment with?
  14. Who else does work or provides similar services to the community as those provided by your organization?
  15. Does your group belong to any other associations? What kinds of special events does your organization take part in?
  16. What kind of associations or relationship does your organization have with local businesses and banks?
  17. What other groups or sub-populations does your organization support or advocate for?
  18. What kind of new projects would your organization be interested in taking on, directly related to your mission? Indirectly or outside of your mission?
  19. What other projects or movements are you involved in that serve youth, the elderly, people with disabilities, the fine arts community, people receiving public assistance, immigrant or minority populations?
  20. How feasible is it for your organization to get involved in more projects, more community development/health promotion efforts?
  21. What kind of changes would you like to see in the community in the next five years? How would you effect these changes?
Bill Berkowitz
Eric Wadud