Social Capital

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Social Capital and the Faith Community: 

Social Capital and the Faith Community Eric Swanson

Social Capital: 

Social Capital Define Social Capital and its benefits Where faith communities fit in the larger community What individual congregations can do How to deepen the engagement of your congregation

Life without Social Capital: 

Life without Social Capital Your corn is ripe today; mine will be so tomorrow. ‘Tis profitable for us both, that I should labor with you today, and that you should aid me tomorrow. I have no kindness for you, and know you have as little for me. I will not, therefore, take any pains upon your account; and should I labor with you upon my own account, in expectation of a return, I know I should be disappointed, and that I should in vain depend upon your gratitude. Here then I leave you to labor alone; you treat me in the same manner. The seasons change; and both of us lose our harvests for want of mutual confidence and security. David Hume (1711-1776)

Social Capital is…: 

Social Capital is… Social capital refers to the collective value of all "social networks" (who people know) and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other (norms of reciprocity).

Benefits of Social Capital: 

Benefits of Social Capital The benefits of social capital spill beyond the people immediately involved in the network and can be used for many other purposes. The more neighbors who know one another by name, the fewer crimes a neighborhood as a whole will suffer. A child born in a state whose residents volunteer, vote, and spend time with friends is less likely to be born underweight, less likely to drop out of school, and less likely to kill or be killed than the same child—no richer or poorer—born in another state whose residents do not. Society as a whole benefits enormously from the social ties forged by those who choose connective strategies in pursuit of their particular goals.[i] Robert Putnam

Two types of Social Capital: 

Two types of Social Capital Bonding capital is the strength of the relationships between the members of a group of people—a family, an affinity group, ethnic group, club or church. Bridging capital is the strength between the diverse segments of society.

What are the diverse segments of a community?: 

What are the diverse segments of a community? Business Arts & Media Science & Technology Non-profit organizations Congregations Government Education

Where is the energy focused?: 

Where is the energy focused? Children Schools Neighborhoods Families Business Arts & Media Science & Technology Congregations Government Education Non-profit


Collaboration Do you believe what I believe? Bounded Set Centered Set Do you care about what I care about?

The difference faith can make: 

The difference faith can make 350,000 “congregations” Spend $36 billion providing services in America each year Each congregation averages $184,000 in helping others 93% of religious congregations provide at least one program of service for the community

What can congregations do?: 

What can congregations do? Children Reading Programs—Hope Pres Schools Adopt a school—Embrace Teachers Neighborhoods Adopt a neighborhood--Arlington Families—Mariners Motel families

Levels of engagement: 

Levels of engagement Money & Things Projects People

Begin with the willing : 

Begin with the willing Innovators 2.5% Middle Adopters 34% Laggards 16% Late Adopters 34% Early Adopters 13%


Depth of Engagement Money & Things Projects People Yearly Quarterly Monthly Weekly Frequency of Engagement

Social Capital and the Faith Community: 

Social Capital and the Faith Community Eric Swanson

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