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Section 1. Developing a Plan for Assessing Local Needs and Resources

What do we mean by needs and resources?

___Needs can be defined as the gap between what is and what should be

___Resources, or assets, can include anyone or anything that can be used to improve the quality of life

Why develop a plan for assessing local needs and resources?

___It will help you gain a deeper understanding of the community

___An assessment will encourage community members to consider the community's assets and how to use them, as well as the community's needs and how to address them

___It will help you make decisions about priorities for program or system improvement

___It goes a long way toward eliminating unpleasant surprises down the road

___It allows you to involve community members from the very beginning of the process

___An assessment is a great opportunity to use community-based participatory research, further involving community members and increasing community capacity

___A good plan will provide an easy-to-follow road map for conducting an accurate assessment

___A planning process will give community members the opportunity to voice their opinions, hopes, and fears about the community

Who should be involved in developing a plan for assessing local needs and resources?

___Those experiencing needs that should be addressed

___Health and human service providers

___Government officials

___Community leaders

___People whose jobs or lives could be affected by the eventual actions taken as a result of the assessment

___Community activists

___Businesses, especially those that employ people from populations of concern

When should you assess needs and assets?

___Prior to planning the initiative

___During implementation of an initiative

___On an ongoing basis

How do you develop a plan to assess local needs and resources?

___Recruit a planning group that represents all stakeholders and mirrors the diversity of the community

___Design an evaluation process for the assessment, including the development of the plan

___Decide why you want to conduct the assessment

___Determine what data is already available

__ Figure out what other information you need

___Decide what methods you'll use for gathering information

  • Using existing data
  • Listening sessions and public forums
  • Interviews and focus groups
  • Direct, and sometimes participant, observation
  • Surveys
  • Asset mapping

___Decide whom you'll gather information from

___Decide who will collect data

___Decide how you will reach informants

___Decide who will analyze the data and how they'll do it

___Plan whatever training is needed

___Decide how you'll record the results of the assessment and present them to the community

___Decide who will perform what assessment tasks

___Create a timeline

___Present the plan, get feedback, and adjust it to make it more workable

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