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There are many different tools and resources to support community groups and to help communities achieve their objectives. In the tables below, you’ll find links to tools and resources that we find useful in thinking about community led development.

There are many different tools and resources available, so we have grouped these into topics to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. 


Links to resources

Capital and asset based community development

Asset-Based Community Development  

The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) is at the centre of a large and growing movement that considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. It has developed a number of videos, tools and resources for community builders.

Making Social Capital Count 

This paper summaries the lessons from a process that the residents in Manton – a neighbourhood in Worksop, North Nottinghamshire – underwent by getting together to explore what difference an explicit focus on building social capital could make to their work.

Seven principles of ABCD

Video (7:57): Jim Diers on the seven principles of ABCD (Asset based Community Development).

Community mobilisation

Themes from Neighbourhood conversations 

Inspiring Communities shares key themes from conversations about neighbourhood strengthening in Aotearoa.

Creating the change we want  

This link contains a guide that helps neighbourhood residents build skills and confidence to work on making changes together. The guide contains workshops and exercises that get neighbours talking and working together on issues where they live. The kinds of skills that the guide can help develop include engaging other residents, building positive relationships among neighbours, running effective meetings, learning about advocacy and more.

The Partnering Initiative 

This link has a range of practical tools available to support cross-sector partnerships and other collaborations reaching their full potential.

Inspiring Communities “At the Heart” resources 

"At the Heart” is a DVD training resource that describes and promotes what can happen when families are placed at the centre and communities are enabled to lead. The DVD resource consists of four modules and there is a user guide designed to provide additional commentary, learning links and ideas for how this material can be used in workshop discussions and training.

Community engagement

Public engagement methods

The link includes 24 ways of engaging with the community (Pages 18-29) including: World Café, Survey, Road Show, Idea Wall, Online Forum/Social Media, Focus Group and more.


This is a booklet is for residents, neighbourhood groups, and community development people  or anyone who would like to get some great ideas and home-grown DIY neighbourhood tools for creating liveable neighbourhoods to be proud of.

Maximizing your community engagement   

In this podcast “Raising the Village Consulting”, based in British Columbia, Canada, shares about the process of engaging with a community.

Finding your Hometown’s Heartbeat 

When it comes to community engagement, high-tech tools and complicated processes often take centre-stage, but Heart & Soul communities find that successful engagement comes from the simple act of connecting with residents to learn why they love their town. They use fun and unconventional ways such as: Bouncy Castles, Beer Coasters and Ball Games to engage and it works! The link also includes a podcast about strengthening your community through engagement.

The following are two Facebook links showing two beautiful examples where community-led development opens up to all sorts of possibilities to make communities a better place to live.

Journeys to neighbourhood development 

Kaupapa Māori - A speak place of Māori in Urban places

Community participation


Participology is a resource that can help you to engage people in a participative process leading to a plan or strategy. Using a board-game format, it is a resource that comes with guidance and templates that you can tailor to your needs.

Working Together 

This link is from the Working Together More Fund (WTMF) website in New Zealand. It provides some resources for collaboration, like:

  • the introduction to a free and powerful collaboration tool called Trello, and;
  • how to prepare and implement rewarding collaboration.

Confronting Power Dynamics and Engaging the Community's Voice in Collective Impact

About this video: What are pitfalls and principles of practice in effectively integrating community voices into collective impact? How can you involve communities who have historically been left out of decision-making processes? This session will address these questions and more in a discussion of when and how to confront power dynamics and authentically engage community voices in collective impact.

Facilitating in communities

Community Development facilitator guide   

The link provides a comprehensive guide for facilitators in the community development context, including practical information like workshop supplies – (Page 14) and examples of running a workshop for different purposes (Pages 19-60).

Liberating structures  

This website offers an alternative way to approach and design how people work together. It provides a menu of thirty-three Liberating Structures such as Appreciative Interviews (AI) and Ecocycle Planning to complement conventional practices. Liberating Structures used routinely make it possible to build the kind of community that everybody wants. They are designed to include everyone in shaping next steps.

Liberating Structures: Simple, Subtle, Powerful

A short video provides an introduction about Liberating Structures.

Wheel of Engagement

The Wheel of Engagement is a useful way to engage attendees at a workshop or consultation to quickly and easily provide you with input regarding their own desired level of involvement in the opportunities and work of your group going forward.

Community Leadership

Learning By Doing – Leadership    

This is an extract from the book: Learning By Doing – Community-Led Change in Aotearoa New Zealand (2013) by Inspiring Communities clarifying the concept of leaderful communities and what it will look like in practice in the communities.

 Modelling Māori Leadership: What makes for good leadership?

This article provides a great overview of traditional and contemporary perspectives on Māori leadership, in the context of the wider landscape of leadership theories.

Situational Leadership

This article provides a simple overview of the different leadership approaches we might need to take in simple, complicated, complex or chaotic situations.

Complexity and Community Change: Managing Adaptively to Improve Effectiveness

This is a more in-depth article about working with the complexity of community change, by Patricia Auspos and Mark Cabaj (2014).

Growing the leadership of everyone

This resource provides ideas, examples and reflective questions from a Leadership as Learning framework developed from community research in Aotearoa, exploring what Inspiring Communities and others notice about what needs to be in place to grow leadership of everyone in community-led development spaces.

Community planning

Path Planning Tool

PATH is a planning tool that combines the best elements of a number of vision-building and future planning tools, and is most useful for listening, planning and community-building in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

 The Field Guide to Human Centred Design 

This link includes a free-download resource for social sectors practitioners and simple and easy to follow step-by-step guide to the design process: Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation. Examples are included for applying that design in different aspects, including: How to Share Inspiring Stories, Create Frameworks, Build Partnerships, Create Insight Statements, Funding Strategy, etc. (Pages 6-7) for the content page.

 Community Heart & Soul Method 

The step-by-step framework outlined in this section describes a model Heart & Soul process using four phases and eleven steps. Each phase is built around specific learning, capacity building or engagement goals, and together they lead to the overall project goals.

Managing Community projects

Community Management skills

This link talks about six critical skills every community manager should have.

Tools for Project Management 

 This link provides easy to follow tools for managing projects in a public sector setting.

Managing a community project 

Video (12:14) 

Heart & Soul Resources 

This link from Orton Family Foundation in the U.S. includes a lot of helpful resources, which includes selecting a Project Coordinator (job description included) and other resources including creating a project work plan, using storytelling in community, and more. The link also includes a Field Guide for free download which details the four phase Community Heart & Soul method that was researched and developed over a decade, including nine towns in New England and the Rocky Mountains.

Evaluating Community Projects

Measuring and Evaluation Impact and Change   

This article shares Inspiring Communities’ thinking around noticing, measuring, and evaluating community-led action and change and it summarises ideas, tools and frameworks that are guiding our approach to indicator selection and evaluation.

Utilisation Focused Evaluation

Utilisation Focused Evaluation is an approach based on the principle that an evaluation should be judged on its usefulness to its intended users.  Therefore evaluations should be planned and conducted in ways that enhance the likely utilization of both the findings and of the process itself to inform decisions and improve performance. This link also includes other approaches such as Empowerment evaluation and Participatory Evaluation.

Frameworks approaches to Evaluation

This link compares and contrasts different approaches to evaluation, which includes Results Based Accountability, Empowerment, Evaluation, most Significant Change, etc. and it also provides explanations of the use of those approaches.

Kaupapa Māori

This link includes eight principles of a Kaupapa Māori ethical framework, which guides research and evaluation in a Kaupapa Māori context.

Learning and results in community change initiatives

In this report, communities can learn how to measure, assess and learn from their work, staying accountable not only to better long-term results for vulnerable children and families but to the community-driven vision and processes needed to generate those results. 

How Communities Heal

How Communities Heal tells the unique stories of a group of New Zealand social entrepreneurs, and their work to create systemic and sustainable solutions to our social and environmental challenges.

Complex Projects, Short Stories 

This recording helps to construct effective narratives and tell stories of success and outcomes.

Book : Learning by Doing – Community-Led Change in Aotearoa NZ (2013) by Inspiring Communities.

Inspiring Communities has been working since 2008 to grow the recognition, understanding and practice of community-led development and promote the difference it makes throughout Aotearoa. 

Learning by Doing  

A number of the book’s chapters are available to view and download or you can order and purchase a copy. The book provides a lot of practical advice based on an analysis of case studies from diverse communities.

Inspiring Communities also share numerous New Zealand community-led development local examples.

Book : J. Aimers & P. Walker (Eds.), 2013, Community development: Insights for practice in Aotearoa New Zealand  (Pages 185‐197). Auckland, N.Z. Dunmore Publishing.

 Looking back to move forward

'Looking back to move forward' is thoughts on taking a community-led development approach in Aotearoa, from Mangakino, Mt Roskill, North-East Valley and Whirinaki. 


Placemaking guide     

Placemaking can be used to improve all of the spaces that comprise the gathering places within a community so they invite greater interaction between people and foster healthier, more social, and economically viable communities. This article provides guide to neighbourhood placemaking in Chicago.

Placemaking Halifax: An HRM Pilot Project

Video (2:34): Placemaking Halifax: An HRM Pilot Project

Communities shaping their places 

This is another resource from Auckland Council about Community Placemaking.