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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 needs assessment tools
Community Needs Assessment Tools

Charlie French

Community & Economic Development Specialist

community
“Community”

A body of persons having a common history, ethnicity, culture, geography, or interests.

  • Communities of Place: Defined by distinct boundaries and bound by a common political, economic and social system.
  • Communities of Interest: A group of individuals that share common interests, goals, or knowledge about something.
community needs assessment
Community Needs Assessment

A way of gauging opinions, assumptions, needs, key issues, and/or assets within a defined community.

slide4

Needs Assessment: Why do it?

  • Identify community needs, concerns and issues
  • Target outreach programs
  • Empower grass-roots Action around needs
  • Determine if needs have changed?
  • Collect communities’ hopes/dreams/desires
community assessment tools
Community Assessment Tools
  • Focus Group Interview
  • Public Issues Forum
  • Secondary Data Analysis
  • Community Survey Questionnaire
  • Interviews
  • Asset Mapping

http://ctb.lsi.ukans.edu/tools/EN/chapter_1003.htm

Source:

slide6
Focus Group Interview

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.

Advantages

  • easy to conduct
  • Provides detailed info
  • allows for issue probing
  • stimulates thinking and discussion

Disadvantages

  • ideas generated not necessarily prevalent
  • small sample for effort
  • difficult to analyze
  • quiet folks suppressed
  • requires participation
slide7
Public Issues Forum

Community forums are public meetings that involve residents to express their concerns about community issues, problems, and needs.

Advantages

  • Diverse members can share ideas
  • Provides quick look at community issues
  • involves local citizens
  • inexpensive

Disadvantages

  • requires skill/time
  • opinions obtained only from those who attend
  • may generate more questions or conflict
steps preparing for the forum
Steps: Preparing for the Forum
  • Form representative steering committee (5-15 people)
  • Identify pressing issue(s) to form the focus of forum
  • Select a trained facilitator

4. Set a time and place:

      • Seating arrangement should encourage dialogue
      • have appropriate acoustics (i.e., microphone)
      • make sure the location is neutral (school is a great place)
  • Publicize the forum
  • Hit all the major media outlets
steps conducting the forum event
Steps: Conducting the Forum Event
  • Facilitator outlines process, what the results will be used for, and their role as facilitator.
  • Do an ice-breaker to build trust.
  • Brainstorm: The purpose of brainstorming is to generate ideas (if issues have already been identified go to step 5)
  • Prioritize issues (you may want to do this via voting)
  • Once issues have been identified, next step is to mobilize action groups (allow time for groups to meet and plan).
  • Provide each group with action planner worksheet which gets them to write goal, objectives, planned activities, timeline, and persons responsible for activities.
steps followup after the forum
Steps: Followup after the Forum

1. Develop a written report

  • If action is the goal, the report may be used as the basis for a plan
  • If change in policy is the goal, the report should emphasize priorities or final decisions.

2.Disseminate the report using multi-media

slide11
Secondary Data Analysis

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.

  • .

Advantages

  • data already exists
  • fast & easy to access
  • data available for many geographic levels

Disadvantages

  • representative sample may not be accurate
  • gaps in data
  • requires inferences
  • Lack of Data Richness
general demographic data
General Demographic Data
    • http://factfinder.census.gov/ General data on housing, demographics, business...
    • http://www.nhes.state.nh.us/elmi/index.htmlLook here for Labor Market information for New Hampshire.
  • http://www.granit.sr.unh.edu/ NH natural resource info
  • http://www.ed.gov/topics/topicsTier2.jsp?top=Research+%26+Stats&type=T&subtop=StatisticsThis site contains national and state-level data on education and test scores.
    • www.nhhealthdata.org This website is an inventory of health data that is available to New Hampshire communities.
slide15
Community Survey

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.

Advantages

  • wide distribution
  • good for data analysis
  • strong sample of the population

Disadvantages

  • expensive
  • requires skill/time
  • suffers low return rate
  • poor qualitative tool
build a survey on the web
Build a Survey on the Web
  • The University of Illinois’ Laboratory for Community and Economic Development has a database of sample surveys/needs assessments as well as an an on-line survey-builder. Moreover, the website provides a flow chart clearly outlining every step of the survey process.http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~lced/main.html
slide17
Interviews

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.

Advantages

  • detailed information
  • allows for clarification/ followup on questions
  • personal contact builds rapport

Disadvantages

  • Time-consuming
  • requires skill/time
  • Information is hard to summarize
  • Little quantitative value
steps in an interview process

Steps in an Interview Process

Form a Steering Committee to guide process

Determine who is to be interviewed

Select a skilled Interviewer

Select questions

Decide on an interview format/delivery method

Formal or informal structure

Face-to-face, telephone, or email delivery

Inform the participants

Practice

Steer / guide the interview session (take notes)

Write a summary report

Thank the interviewees

steps in an interview process19
Steps in an Interview Process
  • Form a Steering Committee to guide process
  • Determine who is to be interviewed
  • Select a skilled Interviewer
  • Select questions
  • Decide on an interview format/delivery method
    • Formal or informal structure
    • Face-to-face, telephone, or email delivery
  • Inform the participants
  • Practice
  • Steer / guide the interview session (take notes)
  • Write a summary report
  • Thank the interviewees
developing and asking interview questions
Developing and Asking Interview Questions
  • Don’t ask defensive questions.
  • Avoid the two-in-one question.
  • Avoid complex questions.
  • Keep it short.
  • Focuses on most important findings
  • Don’t try to put too much in it
slide21

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.

Asset Mapping

Advantages

  • Focuses on what community already has.
  • Provides diverse look at community assets.
  • Involves multiple stakeholders.

Disadvantages

  • Community assets may not match key issues.
  • People tend to respond to crises rather than possibilities.
assets come in many forms
Assets Come in Many Forms
  • Human Assets
  • Associational Assets
  • Institutional Assets
  • Local Business Assets
  • Outside Resources
asset based community development
Asset-Based Community Development

Step 8

Identify Opportunities & Mobilize Community

Step 1

Form a Steering Committee

Step 2

Commit Resources

Step 7

Cross Reference Needs with Assets

Step 3

Identify your Community

Step 6

Develop Resource List

Step 5

Administer Asset Assessment Tool

Step 4

Decide on Inventory Method

asset mapping resources
Asset Mapping Resources

- Vitalizing Communities, 1999. J. Allen, S. Cordes, and J. Hart.

- The Center for Applied Rural Innovation (CARI) at the University of Nebraska.

  • Asset Based Community Development Institute, Northwestern University: http://www.nwu.edu/IPR/abcd.html

- Other Community Development Links: http://www.uwfv.bc.ca/commdev.htm

community asset inventory
Community Asset Inventory

1. Personal Skills Inventory

2. Institution/Organization/Business Inventory

3. Previous Efforts Inventory

4. Community Development Opportunities

5. Development of a Plan

factors for choosing your assessment tool
Factors for Choosing your Assessment Tool
  • Purpose of Assessment
  • Type of Data Needed
  • Time Commitment
  • Cost
  • Skills needed
  • Target Audience
  • Sources of Bias
review steps for conducting an assessment
Review: Steps for Conducting an Assessment

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

using the web to administer assessments
Using the Web to Administer Assessments

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.

presenting the data
Presenting the Data
  • Clear and Concise
  • Combine numbers with text and graphics
  • Focuses on most important findings
  • Don’t try to put too much in it
assessment tool guides
Assessment Tool Guides

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

Interviews: ftp://ceftp.unh.edu/Interviews.doc

Public Forum: ftp://ceftp.unh.edu/PublicForum.doc