Section 3. Creating an asset inventory

A variety of activities can be employed to undertake community asset mapping. Common in all activities is the pursuit of identifying the valued aspects of a community, and then working together to build upon and assemble them in ways that are helpful and useful to members of your recovery community. Asset mapping is best known for its contribution to intentional community design and development - the process of engaging people in the enhancement of their specific communities.

The main benefit of asset mapping is the chance to gain a common view of what is important and to hear and appreciate the value others find in specific aspects of a community. This coming together around common assets can change the way people view, think, and talk about their communities. Done to its full potential, asset mapping unites people around a positive identity and a collective cause.

Perhaps most importantly, initiating capacity building efforts in this manner means that communities of people look beyond focusing solely on their needs. Although many are accustomed to thinking about community design, growth, and development in terms of needs, this approach has major limitations. Needs approaches tend to divide both people and communities. Articulating needs often becomes a competitive process and often pits communities and organizations against each other. And success is viewed in terms of service outcomes, measured mostly by institutional stakeholders.

Recently, governments and asset-based organizations have strongly promoted looking beyond traditional needs or deficit-based approaches. As such, asset mapping has gained significance as a way to address both community needs and interests, and build capacity within communities to help people live their best lives. With an asset-based approach, success is viewed in terms of the capacity to serve and support, measured mostly by relationships.

What is an asset inventory?

Simply, an asset inventory is the identification of individual, organizational, and physical assets (a.k.a. resources) that can inform and shape recovery support practices in and around schools and communities. Just as every path to recovery is unique, so is every community. Every community is rich in the life experiences it has to offer. Typically, only a fraction of a community’s assets are accessed fully by people – whether they are in recovery or seeking help and support for a healthy life. What we have found interesting is that creating an asset inventory in your community can open the doors to talents that have long remained hidden. The intent is to use the inventory as a foundation for increasing access to resources and encourage new relationships and support systems within your community.

Create an asset inventory for your community

It is likely you have lists. On these lists are all those people, places, groups, programs, and services that others should know about. You should start by gathering and organizing lists - yours and others interested in helping out. But you will want to go beyond what and who you already know. Here is how you can do that:

  • Check The Map - Search for things that may already be mapped by entering your city name or a location on public Capacitype maps. If it’s already there, no need to add it again in your inventory.
  • Search Social Media - Find professionals and organizations in and around the community through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
  • Search Public Directories - Find professionals, programs, services, and places through keyword web searches.

Download the Asset Inventory Template and use it to record your information. 

For each unique asset identified you will want to be sure to include the name of the asset, the resource type and service tags, location information, website, and contact information. Additional information can be added, as indicated, if you have it.

When you are ready, send the completed inventory to the administrative Data Team at We will review and publish your collection of assets. When done, you will receive an email with instructions on how to add more details to each asset. You can also invite others to contribute these details – information that can help people find and access things in your community.

If at any point along the way you need help or guidance, you can reach us at

Permission to reproduce in whole or part for use in educational and other not-for-profit groups is granted with the acknowledgment of  Transforming Youth Recovery  as the source on all copies.The contents of this publication is based on work by sr4 Partners LLC under contract by Transforming Youth Recovery. © 2017