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  • Conducting a Community Assessment
    assets you are ready to begin your community assessment Step 1 involves defining the scope of the assessment to be performed Because community issues are complicated and one issue is often related to many other issues it is easy to keep expanding the range of issues to include in your assessment A community assessment can address several issues and their inter relationships or it can focus on just one of the issues To define the scope of your community assessment you must clearly state the community needs to be assessed the community members who will be impacted the geographic area that will be addressed the key questions you want answered and the level of detail you want to include in the assessment Defining the scope means being clear about the issues to be addressed When starting to define the scope of your community assessment you should first determine the specific needs you want to address Choosing a focus can help develop a clear path to a successful assessment Many community issues are related to each other so you need to determine if you want to address several related issues or focus on just one of the issues See the interactivity at the right for an example of related issues and how to narrow your focus Narrow down the key questions you want answered When defining the scope of the community assessment to be performed it is important to narrow down the key questions you want the assessment to answer Here are some examples of key questions What are the basic demographics of my community Consider income levels races ethnicities number of youth Who are the faith based and community organizations serving people in my community What services are they providing and to whom What services are local public agencies providing and to whom Include law enforcement probation courts schools workforce development What organizations are funded by foundations and government agencies to address the community issue What do local residents see as the primary needs for this community What are the various intervention strategies being used in my community to address the issues Are these practices demonstrating any clear outcomes Who are the leaders in my community What key players in local government are concerned with the issues we want to address What local volunteer groups e g Rotary clubs serve the community Who are the people in my community who care about the issue What community organizations focus on the issue Are they delivering services in a meaningful way Are there partnering opportunities with other nonprofits or faith based and community organizations What are the gaps in service to people in the community What would a complete system look like Are community members ready for a change in the issue we are trying to address CHAPTER 3 Determine Collaboration Deciding the scope will highlight the choices available to you for conducting your community assessment You can decide to go solo and carry the entire responsibility for completing all of the community assessment activities or you can work with community partners as a collaborative project to complete the assessment Potential community partners include corporations nonprofit organizations local community organizations foundations who provide grants to your community universities and government entities There are many benefits to collaborating One of the most important factors to consider is the level of resources you have to conduct a community assessment Examine the time effort and human resources that are available from your various stakeholders including staff volunteers consultants and board members Establishing collaborations will increase the resources available to conduct a quality and useful assessment Benefits of collaboration Engages more community members in the assessment planning and implementation Increases access to more data sources to answer the key questions More resources are available to conduct the assessment and cover expenses Establishes relationships that will be important for leading actions identified in the community assessment findings Sign agreements with collaborative partners If you decide to work collaboratively with partners to complete a community needs assessment consider using a memorandum of understanding MOU between the involved parties to ensure that each organization fully understands and commits to the efforts involved An MOU outlines key responsibilities of the involved organizations Click the icon to the right to download a sample MOU Every MOU should include the names of the participating organization and the organization s representative what tasks or actions each party agrees to take what resources each party agrees to contribute and the deadlines or timelines associated with the partnership CHAPTER 4 Collect Data Now that you have determined the scope of your assessment and decided whether or not to collaborate with a partner you are ready to begin collecting your data In any data collection effort it is essential that you first set limits on how much data you will collect and analyze Consider the amount of time and resources you have available prior to selecting any specific method or combination of methods Prioritize your data collection needs according to what is essential to complete your community assessment and then document your data collection efforts along the way Using a tool such as the Creating a Data Collection Plan Worksheet which can be downloaded in this chapter you will be able to list your key questions that you have identified in Step 1 and then identify probable sources of information Start with secondary sources to collect your data Your community assessment will be based on two types of data sources secondary and primary Start your data collection with secondary sources data that has already been collected by others Other members of your community may have the information that you are looking for Start with local sources of information and then broaden your search as necessary Focus on quality of data as opposed to quantity so you can dedicate more time to other aspects of the community assessment Follow secondary data with primary data to complete your collection Primary data is data collected by the person or

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communityassessment/Print.aspx (2016-02-12)
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  • Interactivites
    collection of resources on building healthy communities Text version of audio here Define the Scope Watch and consider the ways these community issues are interconnected Watch and consider the ways these community issues are interconnected Text version of audio here Determine Collaboration MOU MOU Use a memorandum of understanding for defining your relationship with a partner organization Text version of audio here Collect Data Secondary Sources Secondary Sources Use this

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communityassessment/Interactivities.aspx?chp=99 (2016-02-12)
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  • Interactivites
    to hear the overview and pause at any time by pressing the Pause button on the bottom left of the player The buttons at the bottom right of the player allow you to control the volume and shift the video to full screen On Screen Text Below the player you will find on screen text This includes the detailed information you will need to know in order to meet learning

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communityassessment/Help.aspx?chp=99 (2016-02-12)
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  • Overview - Conducting a Community Assessment
    our findings and decisions with community members Also you will learn each of the six steps involved in conducting a community assessment define the scope go solo or collaborate collect data determine key findings set priorities and create an action plan and share your findings There are many benefits to conducting a community assessment The following are ways an assessment can benefit your community you can work with other organizations in your community to identify additional benefits as an exercise to build consensus and buy in for the process There is increased understanding within the community about its needs why they exist and why it is important for the needs to be addressed Community members have the opportunity to share how the needs impact the quality of life for the larger community Community engagement is increased because members from different parts of the community are included in discussions about needs assets and the community s response The community s strengths and weaknesses are identified There is an inventory of the resources currently available within the community that can be leveraged to improve the quality of life for community members Communities identify the asset gaps that exist in their communities Community members have an increased awareness of how they can contribute to their community s assets Community organizations can use the information about community needs to assess their service delivery priorities There is data for making decisions about the actions that can be taken to address community needs and how to use the available assets Data can be used to inform strategic planning priority setting program outcomes and program improvements There are six steps to conducting a community assessment The six recommended steps in the process of planning and conducting a community assessment are Step 1 Define the Scope Step 2

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communityassessment/default.aspx?chp=0 (2016-02-12)
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  • 1 - Needs and Assets - Conducting a Community Assessment
    needs are the gaps between what a situation is and what it should be One goal of a community assessment is to develop an informed understanding of the gaps or needs that exist within a community and their impacts upon the community s members Low high school graduation rates mean that there is need to find effective ways to keep kids in school Senior citizens are living longer but that may mean that many need more assistance to pay for medical bills or prescription drugs In communities where pet owners want more park space but sports leagues want the same park space for playing fields there is a need to balance competing interests Community needs can affect a large or small number of a community s members This may include families individuals youth seniors parents businesses community organizations faith based organizations essentially anyone who claims membership in the community If community needs affect a large number of community members there will likely be more support for addressing the needs Sometimes community needs are referred to as community problems This reference should be avoided in community assessments Framing a need as a problem immediately establishes an us versus them relationship that prevents collaboration and community building The Community Toolbox Visit the Community Toolbox for a collection of resources on building healthy communities You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site Community assets are those things that can be used to improve quality of life Another goal of a community assessment is to develop a detailed analysis of community assets or resources that currently exist in the community and can be used to help meet community needs Community assets include organizations people partnerships facilities funding policies regulations and a community s collective experience Any positive aspect of the

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communityassessment/default.aspx?chp=1 (2016-02-12)
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  • 2 - Define the Scope - Conducting a Community Assessment
    or it can focus on just one of the issues To define the scope of your community assessment you must clearly state the community needs to be assessed the community members who will be impacted the geographic area that will be addressed the key questions you want answered and the level of detail you want to include in the assessment Defining the scope means being clear about the issues to be addressed When starting to define the scope of your community assessment you should first determine the specific needs you want to address Choosing a focus can help develop a clear path to a successful assessment Many community issues are related to each other so you need to determine if you want to address several related issues or focus on just one of the issues See the interactivity at the right for an example of related issues and how to narrow your focus Watch and consider the ways these community issues are interconnected You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site Narrow down the key questions you want answered When defining the scope of the community assessment to be performed it is important to narrow down the key questions you want the assessment to answer Here are some examples of key questions What are the basic demographics of my community Consider income levels races ethnicities number of youth Who are the faith based and community organizations serving people in my community What services are they providing and to whom What services are local public agencies providing and to whom Include law enforcement probation courts schools workforce development What organizations are funded by foundations and government agencies to address the community issue What do local residents see as the primary needs for this community What are the

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communityassessment/default.aspx?chp=2 (2016-02-12)
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  • 3 - Determine Collaboration - Conducting a Community Assessment
    all of the community assessment activities or you can work with community partners as a collaborative project to complete the assessment Potential community partners include corporations nonprofit organizations local community organizations foundations who provide grants to your community universities and government entities There are many benefits to collaborating One of the most important factors to consider is the level of resources you have to conduct a community assessment Examine the time effort and human resources that are available from your various stakeholders including staff volunteers consultants and board members Establishing collaborations will increase the resources available to conduct a quality and useful assessment Benefits of collaboration Engages more community members in the assessment planning and implementation Increases access to more data sources to answer the key questions More resources are available to conduct the assessment and cover expenses Establishes relationships that will be important for leading actions identified in the community assessment findings Sign agreements with collaborative partners If you decide to work collaboratively with partners to complete a community needs assessment consider using a memorandum of understanding MOU between the involved parties to ensure that each organization fully understands and commits to the efforts involved An MOU outlines key

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communityassessment/default.aspx?chp=3 (2016-02-12)
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  • 4 - Collect Data - Conducting a Community Assessment
    the amount of time and resources you have available prior to selecting any specific method or combination of methods Prioritize your data collection needs according to what is essential to complete your community assessment and then document your data collection efforts along the way Using a tool such as the Creating a Data Collection Plan Worksheet which can be downloaded in this chapter you will be able to list your key questions that you have identified in Step 1 and then identify probable sources of information Start with secondary sources to collect your data Your community assessment will be based on two types of data sources secondary and primary Start your data collection with secondary sources data that has already been collected by others Other members of your community may have the information that you are looking for Start with local sources of information and then broaden your search as necessary Focus on quality of data as opposed to quantity so you can dedicate more time to other aspects of the community assessment Secondary Sources Use this guide to secondary sources to help locate the information you need You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communityassessment/default.aspx?chp=4 (2016-02-12)
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