When applying for grants and funding, increasingly, organizations are required to show evidence of how their project actually meets a need. Need Assessment can be conducted in any setting. They can be conducted when developing a growth plan for a business, they can be conducted when developing a solution for a community, they can be conducted when introducing a new product or service into the market.

Need Assessment is a systematic process of determining if there is a need in an area and the most important need. Need Assessments help you acquire valuable insights that allow you to function more effectively and efficiently. Need Assessment is the ‘what’ – what your project will do – that precedes the ‘how’ – your project will do it.

So how exactly do we conduct a Need Assessment?

Step 1: Initiation

  • Identify the team within your organization/community/target audience that your project/solution/product or service will address
  • Identify stakeholders within the above groups or out of these groups
  • Visit and observe the team/community/target audience and understand the way they operate
  • Conduct in-depth interviews with the various stakeholders
  • From your observations and interviews, you would be able to identify a list of problems

Step 2: Data Collection & Analysis

  • Analyze the macro-level factors that make up your team/community/target audience’s environment – this is similar to a Political, Economy, Social, and Technology (PEST) analysis
  • Analyze the micro-level factors that make up your team/community/target audience – this is similar to a Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis
  • In this stage, you are arming yourself with information that will help you make an informed decision in the next stage

Step 3: Final Product

  • During this stage, you are summarizing your findings, selecting specific needs to prioritize, and justifying your selection

Need Assessment boils down to data! Data and understanding of who the solution is for, the reality they live and their capabilities. Combining this all together, you will identify the problems and prioritize the problems that need addressing.

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