Needs Assessment Ideas [Free Download]

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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