Introduction to Needs Assessment

Needs and Resources Assessment is a way of gauging opinions, assumptions, needs, key issues, and/or assets within a defined community. It serves as a foundation for planning and action.

Why do we conduct community needs and resources assessments?

A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods is often used in needs and resource assessments. Common qualitative methods are focus groups, key informant interviews and public issue forums. Quantitative methods often include secondary analysis of numerical data (like the U.S. Census).

Another way to approach the assessment of needs and resources is by conducting a community readiness assessment. The Community Readiness Model developed by the Tri-Ethnic Center at Colorado State is an innovative method for helping to understand a community’s level of readiness of a community to develop and implement prevention programming.

Assessment of readiness is done for six key dimensions

A:  Efforts
B:  Community Knowledge of Efforts
C:  Leadership
D:  Community Climate
E:  Community Knowledge of the Issue
F:  Resources

A level of readiness, from 1 to 9, is assigned to each dimension. Strategy development then relies on these community readiness scores, with dimensions with the lowest levels of readiness typically being addressed first.

This toolkit contains a separate page on community readiness assessment that can be found here.