​Want to improve your community or organization's efforts but don't know where to start?

The Community Toolbox may be the answer.




What is the Community Toolbox?

The Community Tool Box is a free, Internet-based service, developed and maintained by the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS and other national and global partners, to assist individuals in addressing community health and development issues in your community. In addition to its availability in English, there are a number of tools that have been translated and are now also available in Spanish.

What practical information will I find in the Community Toolbox?

On the Community Toolbox Website, you will find many different resource materials for building healthy communities, including step-by-step guidelines, real-life examples, checklists and training materials—all in friendly language. It offers more than 7,000 pages of practical guidance in creating change and improvement.

The resources you will find in the Community Toolbox will give you the tools to:

  1. Learn a Community-Building Skill: If what you want to do is "Learn a Skill", a table of contents links you to 46 Chapters and over 250 different sections that provide training in specific skills of community work. Below is a list of skill areas that may be of interest to you. Please note that each link will take you to a Community Tool Box page and away from the OCR site.

    Some Skill Areas for which supports are available include:

    Models for Promoting Community Health and Development

    Community Assessment

    Promoting Participation

    Strategic Planning

    Leadership and Group Faciliation

    Designing Community Interventions

    Implementing Community Interventions

    Community Building and Cultural Competence

    Organizing for Effective Advocacy

    Evaluating Programs

    Accomplishing and Maintaining Success

    Generating and Managing Resources for the Initiative

    Social Marketing

  2. Do the Work: The Toolkits should help you get a quick start in doing key activities in community work. To find support, click on the type of work that is closest to what you are doing to see key tasks, examples, and link to how-to information for the following 16 core competencies involved in doing this work.

    Creating and Maintaining Coalitions and Partnerships

    Assessing Community Needs and Resources

    Analyzing Problems and Goals

    Developing a Framework or Model of Change

    Developing Strategic and Action Plans

    Building Leadership

    Developing an Intervention

    Increasing Participation and Membership

    Enhancing Cultural Competence

    Advocating for Change

    Influencing Policy Development

    Evaluating the Initiative

    Implementing a Social Marketing Effort

    Writing a Grant Application for Funding

    Improving Organizational Management and Development

    Sustaining the Work or Initiative

  3. Solve a Problem: The Community Toolbox's Troubleshooting Guide can be helpful in solving problems and dilemmas that are common with doing community work. To use this Guide, click on one of the 13 types of common problems that is closest to your situation. Use the reflection questions to help clarify the issue(s). Use the links to appropriate sections in the CTB to find support.
  4. Explore Best Processes and Practices: The Community Toolbox offers two types of support for using promising approaches for promoting community health and development:
    1. Support for implementing "best processes," or evidence-based mechanisms for promoting community change and improvement,
    2. Links to databases of "best practices," or evidence-based approaches to addressing specific problems or goals (e.g., preventing substance abuse or promoting physical activity).

    Here are 12 Best Processes or activities that have been shown to promote community change and improvement. Clicking on any of the Best Processes listed below will provide you with evidence and supports for putting it into practice.

    Analyzing Information About the Problem, Goals, and Factors Affecting Them

    Establishing your Group's Vision and Mission

    Defining Organizational Structure and Operating Mechanisms

    Developing a Framework or Model of Change

    Developing and Using Strategic and Action Plans

    Arranging for Community Mobilization

    Developing Leadership

    Implementing Effective Interventions

    Assuring Technical Assistance

    Documenting Progress and Using Feedback

    Making Outcomes Matter

    Sustaining the Work

    Click here for links to different sources of information about what works in addressing specific problems or goals related to community health and development. Evidence, examples, and links to tools help you make the case for a set of key mechanisms that advance your work. Other Best Practices resources, such as The Community Guide, can also help strengthen your efforts as you consider how to address specific problems and goals in your communities.

  5. Connect with Others: The Community Toolbox also allows you to learn from others. You can ask an Advisor a specific question to obtain responses from experienced community members and experts about issues relevant to your community work. You can also browse through an alphabetical list of other online resources and groups related to community health and development.

Where do I find the Community Toolbox and how do I start?

The Community Toolbox can be accessed on the Web at http://ctb.ku.edu Instructions for using the Community Toolbox are built right in. Enjoy it and make use of this wonderful resource!​


​Please note that the information contained within this page was extracted from the KU Work Group for Community Health and Development and Community Toolbox web sites. KU Work Group for Community Health and Development. (2007). Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas. Retrieved September 22, 2008, from the World Wide Web: http://communityhealth.ku.edu/ and http://ctb.ku.edu/