Community Needs Assessment Tools Charlie French Community & Economic Development Specialist “Community” A body of persons having a common history, ethnicity, culture, geography, or interests.
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Community & Economic Development Specialist
A body of persons having a common history, ethnicity, culture, geography, or interests.
A way of gauging opinions, assumptions, needs, key issues, and/or assets within a defined community.
The focus group is a way to gather the opinions/ ideas from a small, targeted group of citizens. The intention of focus groups is perhaps more to build a synergy of thoughts and ideas than it is to make projections about the community.
Community forums are public meetings that involve residents to express their concerns about community issues, problems, and needs.
4. Set a time and place:
1. Develop a written report
2.Disseminate the report using multi-media
Secondary data is data that is collected about a particular audience without having direct contact with that audience. It can often provide insight about emerging trends or issues in a particular community.
Community surveys help one to gather info about local attitudes regarding precisely defined issues, problems or opportunities. Surveys may be open ended or multiple choice.
An interview is a conversation with a purpose, designed to help you gather information about peoples assumptions/perceptions of activities in your community. They are useful when looking for in-depth information on a particular topic.
Form a Steering Committee to guide process
Determine who is to be interviewed
Select a skilled Interviewer
Decide on an interview format/delivery method
Formal or informal structure
Face-to-face, telephone, or email delivery
Inform the participants
Steer / guide the interview session (take notes)
Write a summary report
Thank the interviewees
Asset mapping is a technique for cataloguing local community assets/resources to meet community objectives. The goal is to identify and utilize assets to better the community rather than to focus on problems and needs.
Identify Opportunities & Mobilize Community
Form a Steering Committee
Cross Reference Needs with Assets
Identify your Community
Develop Resource List
Administer Asset Assessment Tool
Decide on Inventory Method
- Vitalizing Communities, 1999. J. Allen, S. Cordes, and J. Hart.
- The Center for Applied Rural Innovation (CARI) at the University of Nebraska.
- Other Community Development Links: http://www.uwfv.bc.ca/commdev.htm
1. Personal Skills Inventory
2. Institution/Organization/Business Inventory
3. Previous Efforts Inventory
4. Community Development Opportunities
5. Development of a Plan
1. Form a Steering Committee
2. What need(s)/issue(s) are you addressing?
3. Determine the community you are assessing.
4. Determine assessment tool
5. Develop a plan (who, what, when, where, how).
6. Implement the assessment tool (see next page)
7. Analyze the results
8. Report the results
9. Implement or instigate follow-through
The internet is increasingly being used to administer surveys and other types of needs assessments. Programs, such as Cold Fusion, enable one to build interactive web interfaces. In other words, as people fill out surveys on the web, the information is sent directly to a central spreadsheet where it can be analyzed on an ongoing basis. Web surveys are ideally suited to statewide or national assessments where on-the-ground techniques might be difficult.
Asset Mapping: ftp://ceftp.unh.edu/AssetMap.doc
Concerns Survey: ftp://ceftp.unh.edu/ComConSurv.doc
Needs Survey: ftp://ceftp.unh.edu/ComNeedSurv.doc
Focus Groups: ftp://ceftp.unh.edu/FocGroups.doc
Public Forum: ftp://ceftp.unh.edu/PublicForum.doc