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Lesson Details

Part 5: Conducting a Needs Assessment

Unit: Understanding Your Community
Category: Working with Jesus

Demographics, interviews with community leaders, published reports all give suggestive information from which to infer the needs of the people in your community, but they do not provide hard, primary data about how people actually see their needs. What do the people in our community feel they need? What needs are the focus of their lives? What values drive their lives? It is this kind of hard information that is ultimately necessary to shape a ministry so that it has significant impact in the community, and to get the funding, mobilize the volunteers and other resources necessary to sustain it. A needs assessment is an intentional effort to get that information. A needs assessment—as the term is usually meant by professionals today—involves more than simply gathering some information. It is more than a specific survey about a specific topic. It is more than bringing together two or three kinds of information. A “needs assessment” is a balanced, comprehensive look at human conditions in a specified population, and includes both the gathering of data and a careful analysis of what the information means.

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