social capital

50 More Ways To Build Social Capital

Robert Putnam's Saguaro Seminar for Civic Engagement in America was the first to create a practical list of 150 Things You Can Do to Build Social Capital. At our past All Corps Day, SCI AmeriCorps members participated in a competitive brainstorming exercise to see which team could come up with the most ways to build social capital in the community. We took some of the groups' ideas that were not mentioned on Putnam's list to come up with our own list:

Presenting "50 More Ways to Build Social Capital"

1. Organize a scavenger hunt with employees or fellow church goers.

2. Organize a “tweet up” in your community.

3. Attend an outdoor concert in your community.

4. Eat a picnic lunch at a local park.

5. Offer to lead a class for people with developmental disabilities.

6. Go on a photo walk in your community.

7. Visit with senior citizens.

8. Go for walks with your dog at a dog park.

9. Advocate at the state house for a cause you support.

10. Take part in a rally.Read more

11 Must-Read Articles on Social Capital, #Networks and Wellness

I recently heard from a friend who is assuming a committee leadership role that led her to ask me for my "Top 10" reads on social capital and civic engagement topics. Her duties have her particularly interested in how these social topics intersect with health and wellness. It's been a little while since I've curated some of my favorite articles, so I eagerly set to the task of culling through social capital articles that might be useful for someone interested in wellness outcomes. Having done so, it seemed to make sense to share this roundup more widely by posting it here on my blog. By the time I had a chance to publish this, the top ten became eleven. Happy reading!Read more

Getting Engaged and Connected: Lessons from Somerville

This is a picture of a street sign that says "Somerville"

How did you get involved in your local community?  Well for me, it was my grocery store closing.  I walked into Johnnie’s Foodmaster and was greeted with “STORE CLOSING” signs everywhere.  West Somerville would be without a grocery store for at least half a year or more.  I’ve lived in Somerville for about a year and half now and despite trying to keep up with what is going on locally, our grocery store abruptly closing came to me as a surprise.  I wanted to get connected with people who dealt with issues like this or at least had more information for me.  I got onto the city’s website and started looking into various meetings that were going on pertaining to issues and projects in the city.Read more

Leveraging Social Networks in Times of Crisis

Stoneham Fuel

Much has been written about the importance of social capital and social networks when unexpected crises strike a community. Recent events in Woburn have made this fact even clearer. 

The week of January 24th was marked by bitter cold. SCI received a phone call from a local resident who had been without oil in her home for three days. She had run out of her fuel assistance and had contacted SCI hoping that we would be able to connect her to resources for emergency fuel assistance.

We contacted as many local fuel assistance resources that we could possibly think of only to be told that the funds had been depleted. Not even Joe-4-Oil had funds at this time! Reacting quickly, we asked the oil company that typically fuels this resident's home if they would be willing to match a donation to fill her tank and they agreed. The delivery truck was immediately on the way on faith that SCI could generate funds from the community. Read more

Social Capital and Resilience

The link between social capital and building up resilience in a community is a theme that has been addressed in several places recently. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg wrote an article on the topic in a recent edition of The New Yorker, which I came across via this NPR story. Klinenberg talks about the Chicago heat wave of 1995, in which two adjacent neighborhoods experienced dramatically different results, despite similar socioeconomic status. Auburn Gresham, with small businesses and other social offerings that encouraged elderly residents to maintain social connections, had only a fraction of the heat related deaths suffered in nearby Englewood.Read more

Extending Our Impact Beyond SCI

social media training

Nonprofit professionals are well aware that sharing information and collaborating with other organizations is important to help sustain the nonprofit sector and the communities we serve, especially since nonprofits are often strapped for resources. At SCI, we may not have extensive financial resources, but we do have quite a bit of knowledge on particular topics that we enjoy sharing with the community at large. 

During 2012, SCI offered frequent trainings and presentations on social capital and related topics. These trainings have helped over 300 individuals strengthen their ability to build social capital in their communities.

David Crowley, President and Founder of SCI, moderated a panel on the topic of "Social Capital in Action" at the Associated Grantmakers of Massachusetts annual meeting. Over 80 Massachusetts philanthropists were in attendance, and practical ways to build social capital in communities were generated from this discussion. Read a brief summary from it here.Read more

Top 10 Social Capital Blog Posts of the Year

community gathering

As 2012 comes to a close and a new year approaches, it's a good time to take a moment and reflect on some of the best social capital and community building posts from the year that offer us practical tips and advice on how to build social capital in our own communities.

Our roundup includes some favorites from the SCI blog along with others who have written interesting articles on social capital and civic engagement this year.

Here are our top 10 social capital posts of the year:Read more

5 Ways Nonprofits Can Build Social Capital...and Boost the Economy!

Last year's National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) report highlighted the link between civic health and lower unemployment figures. This was certainly exciting news for an organization dedicated to increasing social capital and civic engagement. Now, the new NCoC report, Civic Health and Unemployment II: The Case Builds, released this week in conjunction with today's NCoC conference reaffirms the civic engagement and jobs link, and digs deeper into the dynamics that explain the relationship. The report highlights two aspects of civic health that seem to be particularly important for building community resilience during this difficult economic time: 1) social cohesion, the extent to which citizens trust one another and have a local network of friends, and 2) nonprofit density, that is, the presence of a thriving nonprofit sector.Read more

Practical Ways to Build Social Capital in Communities: 10 Handy Links

Ever been all fired up at a conference, eager to act on the ideas and inspiration created by the event? But then there comes the next day back at the office, and you're not so sure how to start taking practical steps to act on the inpsiration. Well, the increasingly clear relationship between civic health and lower unemployment rates being discussed today at the annual National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) is sure to have folks eager to find ways to increase civic health. In particular, we are likely to seek ways to foster social cohesion and promote a vibrant nonprofit sector that can help create a community climate conducive to job creation and retention. In a nutshell, we'll be looking for practical ways people and organizations can help to build social capital. Well, that is in our sweetspot at Social Captital Inc. (SCI)! So we've put together a list of links to resources that provide practical steps people can take to build social capital. We start with our own articles, derived from our ten years of community building experience, followed by other links from around the web:Read more

Reason #97 to Build Relationships: The Canning Connection

We often preach the value of relationship building for accomplishing our goals. But I'm also a big fan of the good things that happen serendipitously when we take the time to get know people. When Wendy Garf-Lipp and I made plans to meet for lunch, I certainly didn't suspect that one result would be people in Woburn learning how to can food from one of our community partners in Fall River. This unanticipated benefit provides yet another example of why it's important to focus on relationship building. (warning: don't go searching on this site for the other 96 reasons to build relationships, my point with the title is that I could probably come up with that many instances where relationship building has proven helpful...and also that a canning class is a neat outcome yet one far removed from the top-of-list things we are working on.) Read more

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