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:

8 Community Building Lessons from the Farm We visited a local farm that does a great job engaging volunteers and viewing their farm as a community building space. These lessons provide an example of how a community builder's lense applied to a nonprofit can enhance its social capital building potential.

9 Tips for Putting Social Capital Into Action I moderated a panel at the Associated Grantmakers of Massachusetts annual meeting on this subject. The post recaps some of the lessons shared by the panelists. While targeted toward funders, the lessons can apply to other nonprofits as well.

Social Capitalist Values and Competencies This framework outlines the values and skills SCI seeks to help community leaders develop in order to effective engage people in community life.

5 Ways Nonprofits Can Build Social Capital...And Boost the Economy! Fairly self-explanatory, prompted by reading the latest NCoC report on civic health and unemployment.      

Community Assets and Perception Some of our thoughts about the link between civic engagement and community attachment, following our initial read of the Knight Soul of the Community report. Note this was written before all the new NCoC data came out further exploring the relationship among these factors!

10 Ways to Build Your Community Clout How social media can be leveraged to cultivate relationships in your local community.

Resources from around the web

150 Things You Can Do to Build Social Capital From the website Better Together, created by the Saguaro Seminar for Civic Engagement in America.

Tweetup! How to Bridge Digital and Face-to-Face Relationships by Pastor Keith Anderson. Talks about how local Tweetups SCI helped organize deepen relationships made initially online, and connect people who wouldn't have otherwise met.

Kaboom: Playgrounds that Build Communities The Knight Foundation funded evaluation of Kaboom provides some good examples of a one day community project can lead to sustained engagement with the proper ingredients, which Kaboom has done well.

Social Networks as an Anti-Poverty Strategy Report from the Crittenton Women's Union, describing their strategy of helping low-income women develop and utilize social networks to improve their circumstances.

We quickly assembled this list of links, and would love to hear about others we should add to this list of articles and resources for practical ways we can build social capital in our local communities!