Needs Assessment Ideas [Free Download]

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Why nonprofits need to invest in marketing

This is the first installment resulting from a collaboration with HandsOn Network and their parent org, Points of Light, to create a guide for creating a volunteer management program.  The finished product will be available as a single download, however we wanted to create a series of stand alone resources as well.

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Needs Assessment Ideas

What: The concept behind a needs assessment is to collect information about expressed or implied needs within an area or community.

When: Initial needs assessments should be conducted early on in the exploratory phase of a program or project. A community’s needs will change with time so it is always beneficial to periodically revisit this as well.

Who: Ideally this will includes seeking input from a diverse sample of the stakeholders within that community. It is also possible to conduct basic needs assessment by yourself or within a team setting as well.

Why: There are a number of reasons you should consider conducting a needs assessment. Here are just a few…

  • Building a program or service that isn’t needed/wanted is a waste of time & money
  • Helps keep the focus on the needs of those being served, not just on what you want to do
  • Can uncover things that an outsider might easily miss
  • Helps to test assumptions and reduces the risk of doing more harm than good

The following worksheet contains ideas to help get you started on assessing the needs of the area or population being served.

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About author

Craig Van Korlaar

Craig specializes in strategy, systems, and metrics. He enjoys cross-pollinating ideas from the nonprofit, government, and business sectors (all of which he's worked in). In addition to heading up topnonprofits.com, his passions include technology, books, social causes, and the global church.

2 comments

  1. Starting a Charitable Organization 17 October, 2014 at 05:08 Reply

    […] Do your research. Just like any other type of business, you need to make sure there’s a true need. Your passion may be strong, but if there isn’t a niche for your cause, you might be wasting your time.  Check out TopNonprofits’ Needs Assessment Worksheet. […]

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