Why should you conduct a needs assessment?

  • To learn more about what your group or community needs are.
    A good survey can supplement your own sharp-eyed observations and experiences. It can give you detailed information from a larger and more representative group.  For example, you can gather information on the oral health needs of children in your community and determine oral health disparities and inequities in groups such as children from low socioeconomic households, rural children, undocumented children, disabled children and children in minority populations.
  • To get a more honest and objective description of needs than people might tell you publicly.
  • To become aware of possible needs that you never saw as particularly important or that you never even knew existed.
  • To document your needs as is required in many applications for funding, and as is almost always helpful in advocating or lobbying for your cause.
  • To make sure any actions you eventually take or join in are in line with needs that are expressed by the community.
  • To get more group and community support for the actions you will soon undertake.
    That’s because if people have stated a need for a particular course of action, they are more likely to support it. And, for the same reason….
  • To get more people actually involved in the subsequent action itself.

The Community Tool Box is a public service developed and managed by the KU Work Group for Community Health and Development and partners nationally and internationally. This tool provides excellent guidance for conducting assessments of community needs and resources.