Rural Development Handbook: A Guide to Personal, Organization and Community Development - 1995

Table of Contents

  1. Part I
  2. Part II
  3. Part III

Part I

Introduction/Components of Personal, Organization and Community Development

Our Commitment to Rural Living

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is committed to improving the quality of life for people in rural Ontario.

OMAFRA staff do this in many ways. They may help a farmer balance a dairy ration or help an entrepreneur do a business plan or help a new president chair a meeting. OMAFRA is committed to providing information and opportunities to people in rural Ontario so that they can learn and make effective decisions about their businesses, organizations and communities.

People: Our Greatest Resource

For the agricultural industry and rural communities to continue to succeed, there must be individuals who are able to make a speech, chair a meeting, motivate others and understand issues, etc.

This book is about the development of those individuals. It lists and describes the Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes that are required to be effective leaders.

The Handbook: A Guide to Personal, Organization and Community Development

The first edition was released in 1993. It was called the "Core Curriculum of Leadership." The document was divided into three sections: Personal Development, Organizational Development and Community Development. Each section described the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes required to achieve competence in the particular area. OMAFRA staff and clients used the document as a reference to prepare training programs, determine training needs and access resources.

You are now reading the second edition. It's format is similar to the first and now includes an enhanced Community Development section.

Please share the Handbook with clients and colleagues.

Staff that have been involved in developing and updating this document since 1991 include: Rob Black, Chuck Bokor, Ramona Cameletti, Amy Campbell, Katherine Hoffman, Sandra Lawson, (the late) Ruth Marcou, Helga McDonald, Joanne Newman, Carol Pupo, Bev Rawn and Jean Riddell. Adapted for electronic communication by John Shewchuk.

The Inter-Relationship of Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes

Knowledge: Awareness of self and the environment.

Skills: Techniques, expertise, abilities, talents, performance.

Attitude: Viewpoints, reactions. The way an individual thinks and acts according to his/her beliefs.

"Human Behaviour" describes the point where these three intersect.

Each component of the guide outlines the Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes required by individuals to develop leadership abilities.

Knowledge is readily available through educational institutions and other forms of learning such as reading, mentoring, networking, watching videos or listening to tapes.

Skills are developed when the individual reflects on his/her learning and commits to using the information to develop a new expertise or improve a technique, e.g. a person takes a course on effective listening and uses the facts learned to become a better listener.

While Knowledge is readily available and Skills are developed from acquired Knowledge, Attitudes are often difficult to change.

Attitudes are deeply rooted into values based on models, theories, beliefs, perceptions, assumptions and expectations. Changing an Attitude requires an individual to be consciously aware of his/her way of "looking at life." Through acquired Knowledge and life experiences (Skills), one will acquire new Attitudes, if he/she has the desire to. For example, as a child, a person was surrounded by negativism in the home; as an adult through a developed awareness of him/her self he/she acquires techniques of a positive thinker.

Everyone has leadership potential. Some people may be better than others, but each of us has a starting point to build on with training and practice. Desire and self evaluation are key to successful change towards the development of leaders.

Features, Benefits and Uses

The features and benefits of the Handbook are many:

The Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes are listed in one place to enable a comprehensive assessment of the training needs of individuals, organizations and communities.

It's user friendly, written and designed to be understood, so anyone with either a little or a lot of prior understanding of these concepts can use it.

It's flexible, versatile and adaptable, so it has different uses for different situations.

For example:

  • program development reference
  • needs assessment survey
  • resource development base
  • pullout pages for handout checklists
  • individual learning plans

The Handbook will be revised, so newly identified Knowledge, Skills and/or Attitudes can be added.

In the meantime, it is hoped that this effort proves useful in your future personal, organization and community development endeavours.

Personal Development

Communicating Effectively

All leaders must communicate with others. This area of leadership competency is perhaps most fundamental of all. Communicating may be divided into six components:

  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Viewing
  4. Speaking
  5. Writing
  6. Presenting

The Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes necessary for a person to be effective in each are:


Knowledge - A good listener understands:

  • the language
  • the group environment
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

Skills - A good listener is able to:

  • paraphrase information
  • synthesize information
  • discriminate and analyze information
  • organize information
  • clarify
  • question for further information
  • provide effective feedback
  • use available technology (e.g. word processor, modem, telephone, camera, film projector, flipchart, microphone, etc.)

Attitude - A good listener:

  • shows interest in subject
  • shows willingness to listen
  • shows empathy
  • is non-judgemental
  • is accessible

Knowledge - A good reader understands:

  • the vocabulary, jargon, grammar and spelling
  • literary styles and techniques
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

Skills - A good reader is able to:

use a dictionary


synthesize information

draw conclusions

discriminate and analyze information

share print messages with others (read orally)

acquire meaning from print (e.g. text, pictures, charts, graphs, etc.)

use available technology (see examples in Section 1: "Listening")

Attitude - A good reader:

  • shows interest in reading
  • shows interest in the subject
  • is willing to read

Knowledge - A good observer understands:

  • symbolism
  • language and culture
  • body language
  • range of visual media available
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

Skills - A good observer is able to:

  • operate audio/visual equipment
  • discriminate information
  • interpret body language
  • judge quality of viewed information
  • focus on both detail and the "big picture"
  • use available technology (see examples in Section 1: "Listening")
Attitude: A good observer is:
  • interested in the subject
  • sensitive to colour and shape

Knowledge - A good speaker understands:

  • the subject matter
  • the language
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

Skills - A good speaker is able to:

  • respond to audience comforts
  • look polished when speaking
  • use appropriate body language
  • be organized
  • use appropriate voice techniques
  • think quickly while speaking
  • use available technology (see examples in Section 1: "Listening")

Attitude - A good speaker:

  • shows emotion
  • shows commitment and sincerity

Knowledge - A good writer understands:

  • writing styles
  • the reader
  • the subject
  • the language
  • the fact
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

Skills - A good writer is able to:

  • use visuals
  • be concise
  • be creative
  • discriminate information
  • spell
  • use a dictionary
  • use grammar correctly
  • edit
  • use a thesaurus
  • write in the appropriate person
  • organize information
  • write for a specific purpose
  • write to a specific audience
  • use available technology (see examples in Section 1: "Listening")

Attitude - A good writer:

  • is interested in subject
  • relates to audience
  • shows empathy for intended audience

Knowledge - A good presenter understands:

  • effective room arrangement
  • methods of presentation
  • learning styles
  • needs of audience
  • the subject
  • the art of crafting a speech
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

Skills - A good presenter is able to:

  • use equipment
  • use the media
  • be sensitive to audience
  • act professionally
  • be flexible
  • think quickly
  • use humour
  • use correct vocabulary
  • manage nervousness
  • use available technology (see examples in Section 1: "Listening")

Attitude - A good presenter is:

  • energetic
  • flexible
  • confident
  • open-minded
  • responsive
Understanding and Developing Oneself

Each person is unique. Once we understand ourselves, we can begin to understand others and interact effectively with them.

Knowledge - To understand one's uniqueness and the process of personal development, a person recognizes the importance of:

  • values
  • guiding principles
  • traditions and habits
  • responsibilities to self and others
  • rights and freedoms
  • social styles
  • the expectations and limitations of self and others
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

Skills - To effectively understand and develop oneself, a person must be able to:

  • identify and clarify his/her values
  • identify and consider the values and perspectives of others
  • identify and consider other influences (e.g. economic, political, social, spiritual, environmental etc.)
  • identify and utilize resources for self improvement
  • objectively evaluate himself/herself as a part of society
  • dream/vision
  • plan
  • manage stress
  • manage time
  • solve problems
  • make decisions

Attitude - Someone who effectively understands and has developed himself/herself is:

  • introspective, yet proactive
  • self confident and has high self esteem
  • creative
  • ambitious
  • considerate of others
  • realistic
  • open minded
  • tolerant
Managing Meetings

A meeting is when two or more people get together for a common purpose.

Meetings are held to train others, collect information, solve problems, make decisions, develop teams, etc. An effective and efficient meeting makes the best use of time, people and money.

A meeting "manager" requires the Skills to focus on how the meeting is conducted rather than on what is decided. They should be able to plan, conduct and evaluate meetings which accomplish tasks while maintaining excellent group dynamics.

Knowledge - A good meeting manager understands:

  • types and purposes of meetings
  • participant availability
  • participant demographics
  • location accessibility
  • room layout
  • the use and value of audio-visual equipment
  • role of the chair
  • facilitation techniques
  • agenda planning
  • group dynamics
  • individual needs
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

Skills - A good meeting manager is able to:

  • Plan for Successful Meetings:
    • be flexible (works independently and/or collaborates with key players or executive members)
    • identify meeting purpose
    • gather agenda items
    • finalize agenda
    • schedule (who, what, where, when)
    • notify participants in advance
    • design room layout to enhance group dynamics
    • be familiar with operation of AV equipment
  • Conduct Successful Meetings:
    • chair/facilitate the meeting
    • affirm rules of meeting procedure
    • describe meeting objectives
    • facilitate discussion to probe, clarify and summarize
    • communicate and listen effectively
    • foster effective group dynamics
    • interpret non verbal communications
    • choose the appropriate time for decision-making, breaks, etc.
    • ensure tasks are delegated
  • Evaluate Meetings:
    • monitoring progress of agenda and time frame
    • acknowledging tasks accomplished
    • assessing participant satisfaction
    • planning and scheduling follow-up

Attitude - A good meeting manager:

  • respects the expertise and value of participants
  • values the accomplishment of tasks while maintaining good group relations
  • is sensitive to the values and perspectives of all participants
Understanding Leadership

Both theory and experience are necessary for a person to identify and use the most appropriate models and styles of leadership in situations they encounter.

Knowledge - An effective leader understands:

  • current leadership models and related styles
  • the difference between leadership and followership in groups
  • current theories of motivation of groups and individuals
  • the Core Curriculum of Leadership
  • the Skills and abilities listed below

Skills - An effective leader is able to:

  • apply leadership models
  • recognize opportunities
  • experiment and take risks
  • envision the future
  • plan small gains
  • enlist others
  • strengthen others
  • set the example
  • build coalitions
  • recognize individual contribution
  • obtain the confidence and trust of the group
  • help the group or individual develop and achieve their goals
  • document and celebrate small and large accomplishments

Attitude - An effective leader is:

  • congenial and has a pleasing personality
  • supportive of others' achievements
  • tolerant and sensitive
  • ethical
  • proud to tell others of the organization
  • able to see their own values as similar to those of the organization
  • loyal to the goals of the organization
  • willing to provide as much direction as needed, to delegate when appropriate
Facilitating Learning

Learning is a requirement for growth and development. All individuals are capable of learning. To facilitate learning is to enable people to learn, hence to grow and develop.

Knowledge - To effectively facilitate learning, a person understands:

  • learning principles
  • learning styles
  • teaching methods
  • the subject matter
  • the learner(s) - maturity, interests
  • learning disabilities (e.g. in reading, processing information, etc.)
  • motivation
  • evaluation of learner success
  • needs assessment
  • group development
  • individual change

Skills - To effectively facilitate learning, a person is able to:

  • establish goals and expectations with learner(s)
  • establish his/her credibility with learner(s)
  • assist learner to evaluate their progress
  • use different teaching methods to address the various learning styles of learners
  • assess the learning styles of his/her learners and adapt accordingly
  • create a motivating environment
Attitude - An effective facilitator of learning is:
  • enthusiastic about the subject
  • confident of his/her own abilities
  • supportive of learners
  • respectful of learner's ideas and challenges
  • willing to change
  • open to new ideas

Part II

Organization Development

Forming and Working with Groups

Changes in technology, social trends and government support are presenting new challenges to many groups and organizations. They require leaders who possess the Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes to help them organize to effectively meet these challenges.

A) Knowledge - When forming and working with groups and organizations, an effective leader understands:

  • stages of group development
  • what makes an effective group
  • the group's mission, directions and goals
  • needs assessment and evaluation methods
  • job descriptions
  • reporting relationships
  • funding sources
  • recruitment methods
  • networks
  • leadership styles
  • organizational development models and styles
  • group dynamics (individual roles and responsibilities and their relation to the group)
  • team building
  • strategic planning
  • relevant legislation
  • various group process facilitation techniques (e.g. problem solving, decision making)
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

B) Skills - When forming groups and organizations, an effective leader is able to:

  • recruit for appropriate personalities/tasks
  • assess and/or respond to community needs
  • orient new members
  • develop a constitution, by-laws and/or terms of reference
  • delegate responsibility
  • build rapport among group members

When working with groups and/or organizations, an effective leader is able to:

  • balance task and maintenance functions
  • motivate members
  • evaluate activities
  • observe the group and recognize the stages of its development
  • assess and accommodate the needs of all members
  • manage meetings
  • use parliamentary procedure
  • facilitate various group processes (e.g. problem solving, decision making, etc.)
  • keep records
  • plan and implement a public relations strategy
  • facilitate the development and implementation of mission, directions and goals
  • manage conflict
  • work as a team member
  • assess health of organization
  • manage change
  • delegate

C) Attitude - When forming and working with groups and organizations, an effective leader:

  • respects and adjusts for a diversity of personalities, opinions, needs
  • encourages team work
  • is enthusiastic and assertive
  • is patient, tolerant, open-minded
  • encourages use of all resources
Planning and Mobilizing for Group Action

An organization with a clear purpose can more effectively respond to the needs of its members. Determining the most important issues, setting goals, planning programs and taking action are key to an effective response.

A) Knowledge - To effectively plan and mobilize for group action, a person/organization understands:

  • purpose, goals and objectives
  • issues to be addressed
  • the organizations "place" in the issue
  • who the key decision makers are
  • the power systems related to the issues
  • strategic and business planning
  • program planning
  • social marketing
  • Forming and Working With Groups - Core Curriculum
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

B) Skills - To effectively build support and mobilize the group, a person/organization is able to:

  • develop long term strategies
  • develop and implement action plans
  • design a communication plan
  • develop and deliver concise presentations
  • network with decision makers
  • build group credibility
  • describe the issue and need for action to members
  • manage conflict
  • negotiate

C) Attitudes - A person/organization which effectively mobilizes for group action is:

  • committed to the issue and the organization
  • optimistic
  • enthusiastic
  • sensitive
  • persistent
  • confident that it can make a difference
Managing Projects and Activities

An organization's leadership ensures the Skills and Knowledge to manage its activities are in place. Effective management means programs and projects meet the organization's short-term objectives and long-term goals and strategies.

A) Knowledge - An effective manager understands:

  • the organization's strategies, goals and objectives
  • the organization's systems and operations
  • the organization's resources
  • the Skills and Attitudes listed below

B) Skills - An effective manager is able to:

1. Consult and Delegate:

  • use appropriate leadership styles
  • encourage participation in decision-making
  • incorporate the ideas of others in decisions
  • delegate appropriate responsibility and discretion to others in carrying out work plans and making decisions

2. Clarify Roles and Objectives:

  • assign tasks
  • provide direction in how to do the task
  • clearly explain job responsibilities, task objectives, deadlines and standards

3. Plan and Organize:

  • determine long-term objectives and strategies for adapting to environmental change
  • develop short-term objectives, program/project plans to meet long-term objectives
  • allocate human and financial resources to accomplish objectives
  • analyze and improve the efficiency of operations
  • coordinate the efforts of all parts of the organization
  • keep accurate records (minutes, financial statements, contracts, etc.)
  • budget financial resources
  • interpret financial statements

4. Inform:

  • disseminate relevant and appropriate information about decisions, plans, and activities to members, staff and the public
  • answer requests for information
  • market the organization's activities and products

5. Solve Problems:

  • identify work-related problems
  • analyze problems in a timely and systematic manner to identify causes; finding and decisively implementing solutions

6. Monitor Operations and Environment:

  • gather information about activities
  • check on progress and quality of work
  • evaluate the performance of individuals, committees and the organization
  • scan the environment for threats and opportunities

7. Motivate:

  • use influence techniques that appeal to emotion,values or logic to generate enthusiasm
  • set an example of proper behaviour
  • respond to requests for support and resources

8. Recognize and Reward:

  • provide praise and appropriate recognition for effective performance, significant achievements and special contributions

9. Support and Mentor:

  • assist, cooperate and support
  • facilitate others' skill development and position advancement
  • be patient

10. Manage Conflict and Team Building:

  • encourage and facilitate the constructive resolution of conflict
  • encourage cooperation and teamwork
  • facilitate team-building activities

11. Network:

  • socialize informally
  • develop contacts for support and information
  • maintain contacts through visits, telephone calls, correspondence, meetings and social events

C) Attitude - A good manager is:

  • committed to the organization and its objectives
  • cooperative, supportive, and helpful
  • friendly and considerate
  • open-minded, sensitive and tolerant
  • enthusiastic and assertive
Volunteer Management

People volunteer for non-profit organizations to meet their personal and professional needs. A good volunteer manager recruits, trains, and motivates people enabling both the volunteers and the organization to attain their goals.

A) Knowledge - An effective volunteer manager understands:

  • methods of recruiting volunteers
  • what motivates people
  • the importance of job descriptions
  • the qualifications necessary for the jobs
  • the need for orientation and training volunteers
  • that people respond to rewards
  • the importance of documenting volunteer performance
  • staff/volunteer relations
  • volunteer burnout
  • legal liabilities and volunteer responsibilities

B) Skills: An effective volunteer manager is able to:

1. Develop and Use Job Descriptions:

  • identifies jobs required
  • writes detailed job descriptions, including duties, qualifications and B) Skills required, time commitment, benefits and rewards

2. Recruit Volunteers:

  • identifies candidates for the tasks
  • schedules, designs and conducts interviews
  • matches volunteers with programs and jobs
  • negotiates fit between volunteers and organizations

3. Orient and Train Volunteers:

  • explains and describes the organization to the volunteer
  • defines the expectations of the volunteer and the organization
  • identify volunteer Skills and interests
  • matches volunteer Skills and interests to the tasks required
  • develops and delivers appropriate training programs to volunteers
  • matches training methods to volunteer learning styles

4. Recognize Achievements:

  • welcomes newcomers to the group
  • monitors volunteer performance
  • provides feedback on performance
  • recognizes the positive
  • designs and implements a formal recognition program
  • conducts exit and/or termination interviews

5. Keep Records:

  • documents interests, Skills, training achievements and progress of volunteers

6. Monitor Staff/Volunteer Relations:

  • uses conflict resolution techniques
  • listens
  • communicates
  • clarifies roles and responsibilities

C) Attitude - A good volunteer manager:

  • respects individuals
  • is sensitive to the needs and abilities of the volunteer
  • believes in a win/win situation
Understanding Change

Individuals, organizations and communities are affected by internal and external forces. Driving forces initiate change but resisting forces act against the change. Change can affect our economic, psychological or social well-being. Whether or not the change is welcomed it must be understood to be addressed.

A) Knowledge: Leaders/organizations which effectively understand societal change understand:

  • change theory and people's reaction to change
  • the impact of change on one's economic, psychological or social well-being
  • how new ideas are disseminated and adopted
  • the time required to initiate and achieve change

B) Skills - A leader/organization which understands change is able to:

  • identify driving and resisting forces
  • identify factors that will affect acceptance to change, e.g. peoples' education level; the idea's media exposure; and the popular appeal of change
  • anticipate possible reactions to change
  • apply an appropriate model for change to the situation
  • identify community networks
  • identify formal and informal communication systems in the community

C) Attitude - A leader/organization which understands change:

  • believes in the change/development process
  • is responsive
  • tolerant
  • open to new ideas
  • patient
  • willing to consider other points of view

Community Development

Community development is the process of the community coming together around its shared goals. It involves community members developing a sense of common vision. It is an inclusive process which reaches out to all segments of the community to ensure everyone participates in identifying their needs, making decisions and taking action. Community development is based on the following principles:

  • wide-spread participation
  • self-reliance
  • broad-based leadership
  • sustainable development with long-term perspective (25+years)
  • innovative partnerships between government, business and community groups, community planning and cultural, economic, social and environmental goals

Healthy communities have community spirit, adequate and affordable social services, a safe environment and opportunities for people to earn a fair living. Governments can no longer provide all of these conditions. More and more communities will rely on leaders who can work with other citizens to meet the needs identified by their communities.

Effective community leaders will have the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes outlined in the personal and organization development sections as well as a solid understanding and appreciation of the community development process.

The first two sections of the handbook identified the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes for each of the topics. In the community development section it was determined that the Attitudes were similar for the section as a whole and therefore they are listed below.

Attitudes for Community Development

Attitudes for successful community development include:

  • believing in the community development process
  • being proactive and inquisitive
  • being futuristic and visionary
  • being co-operative with and supportive of others
  • being respectful of the opinions, Knowledge and expertise of others
  • valuing creating partnerships
  • being committed to the well-being of the community
  • willing to work in an environment where the outcome is unknown (risktaking)
  • willing to fail and understand that failures provide opportunities to learn
Understanding Community Development

* See Understanding Change (from Organizational Development section)

Citizens are hesitant to participate in initiatives with seemingly intangible results. To some people community development is intangible because it involves diverse issues and groups. It has few immediate results, its outcomes are varied and it is a long-term process. By understanding the philosophy of community development citizens will learn to appreciate the process and become more involved in creating community wealth.

A) Knowledge:

  • learning styles
  • the social, cultural, environmental, political and economic factors that contribute to the well-being of a community
  • community development models and theories
  • the impact of change on communities
  • the importance of partnerships for resource and idea sharing
  • the principles of community development

B) Skills:

  • applying your preferred learning styles
  • researching
  • communicating
  • using computers for information access and sharing, e.g. Bulletin Board Systems, Internet
  • networking
Understanding Community and Society

In Ontario, communities are part of North American society. Every community is affected by societal change. Community residents must understand how this larger society impacts on community issues. Examples of societal change include: an increase in the number of single parent families, the aging population, a decrease in the number of farms, more women in the work force and technological advancements.

A) Knowledge:

  • social, economic, environmental and cultural issues of the North American society
  • community history and the historical events that have shaped the community's evolution
  • government structures and responsibilities (i.e. local, regional, provincial, federal)
  • politicians views on North American societal issues (i.e. free trade)
  • community organizations and agencies whose mandates relate to societal issues (i.e. rural day care, senior's clubs)
  • other communities' experiences

B) Skills:

  • recognizing societal issues and their impact on the community
  • accessing services and information that relate to societal issues
  • accessing local, regional, provincial and national levels of government
  • networking
Understanding Global Perspectives

Every community is part of a much larger community -- the global community. In order to anticipate community issues resulting from global happenings, citizens must be aware of and understand the big picture.

A) Knowledge:

  • how the global community affects your own community
  • the global economy
  • the evolution from an industrial to an information society
  • the importance of broadening your perspective, e.g. considering new opportunities for the community
  • money markets and their effects on community prosperity
  • world politics and their effects on the economic, social,cultural and environmental well being of community
  • cultural diversity
  • the environmental effects on the global economy
  • other communities/countries experiences

B) Skills:

  • identifying and analyzing how the global environment can affect your community's wealth/prosperity
  • accessing information regularly (e.g. newspapers, Internet)
  • interpreting data and information
Accessing Information

Information is power. Community development is based on shared power. Citizens who have current information on economic, environmental, social and cultural issues are better able to respond to community concerns.

A) Knowledge:

  • educational opportunities and resources (e.g. Ontario Training and Adjustment Board (OTAB), Television Ontario (TVO), correspondence courses)
  • information provided by communities, agencies and government (e.g. Community Information Centres)
  • the media as a source of information
  • information professionals
  • electronic communication tools (e.g. bulletin board systems, CD ROM, electronic mail, databases)

B) Skills:

  • obtaining, interpreting, analyzing and applying information
  • using electronic communication tools
Understanding the Role of Economics in Community Development

* See Understanding Community and Society (from Community Development section). * See Understanding Global Perspectives (from Community Development section).

Communities are being affected by forces beyond their control. Examples are:

  • economic downturns and global economic restructuring
  • government decentralization
  • international trade agreements
  • environmental concerns
  • rapid technological change

Economic development is often pursued as the focus in a community development process because of the impact economics has on the social and environmental well-being of a community.

Typically, a goal for economic development is to create appropriate jobs and raise the incomes of community residents. In the long term, economic development is concerned with the efficient use of a community's resources.


Community economic development means locally-initiated activities which seek to develop the economy of a community and to improve the quality of life for the benefit of its members. It is the community helping itself and investing in itself. It is a participatory process involving all community interests, founded on the development of a long-term plan and commitment of community resources.

Community economic development must involve all groups and stakeholders, including those traditionally excluded from existing power structures and economic activity. It is a way to bring all community members into the social and economic life of the community. It incorporates social and environmental goals defined by the community, as well as economic matters such as investment and business development.

A) Knowledge:

  • the local economy
  • support structures for business
  • wealth creation
  • entrepreneurship
  • business structures, e.g. corporations, sole-proprietorship, partnerships/co-ops
  • business management techniques
  • business plans
  • marketing principles
  • feasibility studies
  • the process of community strategic planning
  • the community's priorities
  • the interdependence of economics to social and cultural factors

B) Skills:

  • working with consultants and organizations (e.g.Economic Development Officers, Economic Development Committees and, Chambers of Commerce)
  • interpreting and analyzing social and economic data
  • applying business planning
Responding to Community Issues

* See Understanding Community and Society (from Community Development section).

* See Planning and Mobilizing for Group Action (from Organizational Development section).

* See Communicating Effectively (from Personal Development section).

Healthy communities have citizens, organizations and leaders able to respond to community concerns, needs and changes. The effectiveness of their response determines the vitality and worth of the community.

Every individual has a responsibility to their community. Citizens cannot rely on existing power structures to provide responses to community needs. Through active participation in planning and decision-making, citizens can determine the future of their community.

A) Knowledge:

  • community based strategic and operational planning
  • community priorities and issues
  • the importance of wide-spread community participation
  • the roles of organizations, agencies, business and government in the community development process
  • the change process
  • the media
  • communication planning

B) Skills:

  • accessing relevant data
  • interpreting and analyzing issues
  • determining priorities
  • identifying and bringing together all stakeholders
  • team building
  • planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating community projects
  • communicating
  • resolving conflict
  • problem solving
  • working with the media
  • lobbying elected officials
Identifying Individual Roles in Community Development

* See Responding to Community Issues (from Community Development section).

* See Understanding Community Development (from Community Development section).

* See Understanding and Developing Oneself (from Personal Development section).

* See Communicating Effectively (from Personal Development section).

Community development is a process dependent on a number of players. Individuals need a sense of their personal strengths in order to identify where they fit. An awareness of key issues in your community and a well-defined community profile can serve as a starting point.

A) Knowledge:

  • your individual strengths and weaknesses
  • your role and responsibilities in the community
  • community leaders
  • issues in the community
  • concerns and current status of the community, e.g. a community profile

B) Skills:

  • developing and maintaining a community profile
  • networking effectively with key individuals (e.g. local media, elected officials)
  • building trust and rapport with key players and communities
  • interpreting and analyzing information
  • marketing personal B) Skills and expertise
  • identifying opportunities
  • developing a team approach to community development
  • mentoring and supporting

Part III

Glossary of Terms


Community is self-defining, based on a sense of shared purpose and common goals. It may be geographic or a community of interest, built on heritage and cultural values shared among community members.

Community defined in this way is not always synonymous with municipality. In some cases, communities may cluster together beyond their municipal boundaries, based on their assessment of the value in working together. A community might also identify itself on a smaller scale, such as a neighbourhood.

Community of Common Interest/Common Bond...

Generally, a community of common interest are persons who voluntarily associate with each other due to self-identified common concerns/purpose (i.e., social justice, environmental protection). A community of common bond are persons who have inherent commonalities (i.e., same sex or age group, ethnicity, disability, etc.)

Community Development...

Community Development is the process of the community coming together around its shared goals. It involves community members developing a sense of common vision and priorities for action. It is an inclusive process which reaches out to all segments of the community to ensure everyone participates in community decisions and actions. Community development is based on the following principles:

  • wide-spread participation
  • self-reliance
  • broad-based leadership
  • sustainable development with long-term perspective (25+ years)
  • innovative partnerships between government business and community groups
  • community planning
  • cultural, economic, social and environmental goals
Community Economic Development...

Community economic development means locally-initiated activities which seek to develop the economy of a community and to improve the quality of life for the benefit of its members. It is the community helping itself and investing in itself. It is a participatory process involving all community interests, founded on the development of a long-term community plan and commitment of community resources.

Community economic development must involve all groups and stakeholders, including those traditionally excluded from existing power structures and economic activity. It is a way to bring all community members into the social and economic life of the community. It incorporates social and environmental goals defined by the community, as well as economic matters such as investment and business development.

Community Profile...

Community profile is a complete description of the location, population, services, climates, facilities (financial, medical, education, utilities), and contact names and numbers of municipal and economic development personnel and community development practitioners.

Community Strategic Planning...

A community with the capacity to guide its own development will be able to do the following:

  • assess its economic, social and environmental conditions and challenges
  • define a vision for its future
  • assess the resources available in the community
  • determine priorities and set social and economic goals
  • take action within the community to achieve its goals
  • evaluate its progress and make adjustments to both actions and goals as the need arises

These are the steps commonly understood to be a strategic planning process with a special emphasis on the participation of all community members. By participating in such a process, individually and collectively, community members build their own capacity for development and that of the community as a whole.


The ability of individuals to come up with a business idea and to assemble necessary resources and factors of production to translate the idea into a viable business.

Learning Styles...

The way an individual approaches the learning process based on hereditary equipment, life experiences, and the demands of present environment.


Networking is the facilitating of linkages between individuals and organizations. Community networking involves both individuals and groups working together and sharing their knowledge and skills with one another. Network vehicles include conferences, seminars, workshops, newsletters and bulletins.

Operational Planning...

Operational planning is a comprehensive planning system that establishes goals and objectives for the day to day operational aspects of a community. Operational plans are based on the community's strategic plan and usually have a one year time horizon.

Sustainable Community Development...

Sustainable community development involves community residents shaping their own environments to enhance their quality of life by developing and undertaking strategies that are:

  • compatible with the natural environment
  • acceptable socially and culturally
  • economically feasible

When a community becomes deeply involved in a project(s) there is the potential for the project to have a long-term lasting impact. Therefore the project is sustainable.

Wide-Spread Participation...

Wide-spread participation relates directly to sustainable community development (see above). It involves the cooperation and of all community residents, local corporate representation and all levels of municipal government (if required - provincial and federal governments also).

Wealth Creation...

This is the end result of inclusive, broad-based community development as a result of effective community strategic planning and action. The term wealth goes beyond the traditional economic focus. It implies welfare or prosperity in the holistic sense with respect to all elements of community; the economy, the environment, and social and human resources.

Pour plus de renseignements :
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Local : 519 826-4047
Courriel :
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 1993
Last Reviewed: 1995