Location

Identification of community assets can be specific or generic. Given the possibility of identifying assets that are generic in nature, it is important that identified assets be specifically located through any means available to ensure the full extent of their potential. Location of assets can be done by performing a map search over the Internet using web-based search engines. Then, a member of the organization can verify in person or through other credible means.

This step is very important, because it will prevent an organization from mapping fictitious community assets, which would be a loss of precious time. For example, in brainstorming during an asset-mapping activity, members of a nonprofit organization may think that a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) exists in their community, only to find out that the closest one is located miles away, in a different city. This does not mean that such a SBDC cannot be considered as an asset for this nonprofit organization. It may well be that this SBDC has jurisdictions that extend over several nearby cities, including the city of the nonprofit organization. However, it would not be wise to consider it as a local asset until further research is done, through "verification."

Verification

As the word implies, verification is performed to ensure that identified and located assets are as reliable as the nonprofit organization anticipated. Verification will help find out whether the asset is available, and to what extent a nonprofit organization can tap into opportunities offered by a particular asset (Box 5.2).

Box 5.2 Asset Verification

Asset

Verified by Findings Date

Asset

Potential

Contact Information

Comments

Documentation

Documentation consists of recording all relevant information related to an asset that has been identified, located, and verified (Box 5.3). The documentation should inform about the nature of an asset, the gap that such asset can help fill, and the name(s) and information of key contact person/people related to such asset.

Compilation

Compilation is necessary to mapping assets into an organized framework based on their potential to generate in-kind and/or financial contributions. Compilation involves categorizing and cataloging the community assets that are documented. There is no one way to categorize and catalog documented assets. The needs assessment that preceded an asset mapping, however, may dictate the best way to categorize and catalog. For example, assets can be categorized under broad themes, such as individual, associational, or institutional. Further, an asset mapping that is performed as a strategy for financial sustainability might categorize assets as monetary based and nonmonetary based. Monetary-based assets are individuals, associations, or institutions who can make cash contributions or cash-convertible contributions to a nonprofit organization. Outcomes of monetary-based assets will include any donation that can be listed as a short- or long-term asset in the balance sheet of a nonprofit organization. For example, although a computer is not cash, it is cash convertible. Volunteer time is not cash, but it is cash convertible. Its monetary worth can be estimated. Estimation and computation of monetary worth of donations will help assess the extent of the contribution of asset mapping to the financial sustainability of a nonprofit organization. Non-monetary-based assets consist of individuals, associations, or institutions who can contribute ideas, information, influence, and other resources that are intangible, but contribute to further the mission of an organization.

 
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