Assessing community needs is essential to effective and well-targeted grantmaking. There are several ways to assess needs in your community, including focus groups, interviews, first-hand observations and surveys. A needs assessment should be conducted on a regular basis to monitor if community needs change and should include a diverse group of respondents, representative of your community, to ensure that all needs in the community are addressed. The Michigan Community Foundations Youth Project Committee recommends that YACs assess critical issues of area youth at least once every three years.
Needs Assessment Overview – An excerpt from “Guidelines and Resources for Establishing a YAC,” this document provides valuable background information about the value and process of assessing needs.
Letter to School Principals – Developed by the Michigan Community Foundations Youth Project Committee, this resource provides sample language that can be used to seek permission from school principals to conduct a needs assessment survey in local schools.
Needs Assessment (Google)- This is an instructional guide developed by the Four County Community Foundation on using google documents to conduct a needs assessment.
Needs Assessment Survey – A resource from the Community Foundation of Muskegon County, this document outlines one method of collecting information about needs in the community.
Needs Assessment Survey – A survey used by the Southeast Ottowa Community Foundation, this tool provides one example of how YACs can gather information about needs in their community.
Needs Assessment Results – A PowerPoint Presentation from the Four County Community Foundation YAC, this resource demonstrates how needs assessment results can be compiled to help YAC members better understand the needs in their community.
Needs Assessment Results – Courtesy of the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, this document demonstrates how YACs can track how needs change in their community over time and can serve as a valuable resource for tracking effectiveness of targeted grantmaking efforts.