1. Everyone has gifts--With rare exceptions people can contribute and want to contribute. There is unrecognized capacity and assets in every community.
2. Relationships Build a Community--An intentional effort to build and nourish relationships is the core of ABCD and of all community building.
3. Citizens at the Center--People in leadership in everyday life (associations, congregations, neighborhoods, and local business) must be at the center of community initiatives rather than just helping agency leaders.
4. Leaders Involve Others as Active Members of the Community--Leaders from the wider community of voluntary associations, congregations, neighborhoods, local business, can engage others from their sector. Strong community leaders invite a growing circle of people to act.
5. People Care About Something--Agencies and neighborhood groups often complain about apathy. Apathy is a sign of bad listening. People in communities are motivated to act. The challenge is to discover their motivation to act.
6. Motivation to Act--People will act on certain themes strongly felt; concerns to address, dreams to realize, and personal talents to contribute. Every community is filled with invisible "motivation for action".
7. Listening Conversation--In one-on-one dialogue or in small group conversations is how to discover motivation and invite partcipation.
8. Ask, Ask, Ask--Once a person's possible 'gifts to give' and 'motivations to act' are recognized; an opportunity to act must be offered. Asking and inviting are key community building actions.
9. Asking Questions Rather Than Giving Answers Invities Stronger Participation--People in communitities are usually asked to follow outside expert's answers for their community problems. A more powerful way to engage people is to invite communities to address "questions" finding their own answer--with agencies following to help.
10. A Citizen-Centered "Inside-Out" Organization is the Key to Community Engagement--community engagement initiatives rarely succeed without residents as leaders organized to do intentional relationship building. It takes an organization of citizens to organize a community.
11. Institutions Have Reached Their Limits in Problem-Solving--All institutions such as government, non-profits, and businesses are stretched thin in their ability to solve community problems. they can not be successful without engaging the rest of the community in solutions.
12. Institutions as Servants--People better than programs engage the wider community. Institutions of government, non-profits, and business can be of invaluable help supporting the work of citizens' to engage their fellow community members.
Asset-based community development is a process of identifying, mobilizing, and connecting assets. The focus is on developing what you have rather than focusing on what you do not have or cannot get.
The greatest assest of any community are its people. The talents, experience, skills, and passion of individuals represent a huge and often untapped resource. Identifying the potential gifts of individuals along with other community assets such as associations, congregations, non-profits, government, businesses, local economy, and the physical world is the first crucial step toward developing those assets.