Conducting a Needs Assessment

What do you and your neighbors need? Needs are likely to vary depending on your age and circumstances.

  • Seniors may need assistance with meals, transportation, getting out of house, companionship.
  • Young families may need babysitting or childcare help.
  • Commuters may need rides to work or public transportation.
  • Teenagers need places to hang out.
  • And there are needs shared by almost everyone:

  • Everyone wants a safe and pleasant environment: Are there pockets of trash, or ugly spaces that can be improved?
  • Everyone wants to live in a place free of crime, vandalism and violence.
  • Most people value a sense of community -- block parties, a general sense of friendliness.
  • Some neighborhoods face challenges to their cohesiveness and their future from outside -- maybe a new planned freeway or new mall -- that are best addressed through advocacy or a collective response.
  • Tools

  • The University of Kansas Community Toolbox provides a guide to assessing your community needs and resources. The guide is extensive and will show you step by step how to assess the needs of your community.
  • The Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University has compiled a list of articles community needs assessment. The articles provide guidance in conducting a community needs assessment and provides case studies.
  • IDEO has created the Human Centered Design toolkit, which introduces new strategies in assessing the needs of the community. HCD focuses on gathering qualitative data from community members and uses rapid prototyping to test and improve on program design.

  • Added 05/12/2010 by asblackwood


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