United Way of Wisconsin Midwinter Institute


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This presentation explains to thos enew to needs assessments just exactly what they need to be aware of, what they need to make sure is part of atheir needs assessment, and what SHOULDN'T be part of one.

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United Way of Wisconsin Midwinter Institute

  1. 1. Community Needs Assessments What a good one can get for you What a bad one can do to you Prepared for: The United Way of Wisconsin’s Midwinter Institute February 2009
  2. 2. How do you get your information?
  3. 3. How do you get your information?
  4. 4. The Most Important Thing to Know… <ul><li>Understanding the signals in your community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where to look for information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What are you looking for? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you ask the right questions? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To whom do you ask these questions? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do your reach out to get honest answers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can you tell an “answer” from an “ANSWER!” </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. A Community Needs Assessment Should Be… <ul><li>A custom research tool, designed specifically for your community </li></ul><ul><li>Each community has its own characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Weaknesses </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Economic conditions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>History </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Make sure your CNA is designed along with your community and for your community </li></ul>
  6. 6. A Community Needs Assessment Shouldn’t Be… <ul><li>A cookie-cutter project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You get answers to someone else’s questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Something done by a marketing company </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They specialize in messages, look, and feel, and not information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Held hostage by getting favorable information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How can you act on community needs if your information isn’t real? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Something awarded to the lowest bidder </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes low bid is a bad thing…look behind the curtain </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. What a Community Needs Assessment Should Consist of <ul><li>Multiple phase research program </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Qualitative and Quantitative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase I —Secondary Data Analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase II—In-depth Interviews of Community Leaders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase III—Quantitative Study of the Residents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase IV—Service Provider Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focus Groups </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Quantitative-type study </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Isn’t Research Something Just Short of Voodoo? (Not that there’s anything wrong with voodoo…) <ul><li>Helping everyone understand not just what the information is, but what it means </li></ul><ul><li>Correctly interpreting the information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientific rigor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistical significance versus directional analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can make the information say what you want it to…but what does that get you? </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Isn’t Research Something Just Short of Voodoo? (Not that there’s anything wrong with voodoo…) <ul><li>The correct presentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How will your audience “hear” and “read” the results? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making sure a presentation isn’t just a data dump </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Did it lead you to other areas of research? </li></ul><ul><li>Did it statistically confirm something you already had numbers on? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Groups a Community Needs Assessment Should Reach <ul><li>Community Leaders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elected officials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corporate and Non-profit executives or board members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spiritual leaders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leaders in educational institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leaders in the area of diversity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The General Public </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening to what’s happening on the streets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hearing from the silent majority </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Groups a Community Needs Assessment Should Reach <ul><li>Service Providers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Representing the breadth of service in the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The lead individuals “where the rubber meets the road” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The “Kitchen Cabinet” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The central group responsible for coordination of services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leaders from the organizations tasked with carrying out recommendations </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Don’t You Think I Know My Community? <ul><li>You may know the people, but you may not the community </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t know what you don’t know </li></ul><ul><li>Research…the ugly, bad, and good of research and data collection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Everybody says…” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Word on the street…” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aisle conversations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary research </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Community Needs Assessment-Timeline <ul><li>1 week — Project definition meeting to Secondary Data Analysis to In-depth Interview instrument preparation </li></ul><ul><li>2 weeks —Execute In-depth Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>2 weeks—Analysis and report preparation </li></ul><ul><li>1 week—Quantitative study survey instrument preparation </li></ul><ul><li>2 weeks—Execute Quantitative study </li></ul><ul><li>2 weeks—Analysis and report preparation </li></ul><ul><li>1 week—Focus Group or Service Provider study instrument preparation </li></ul><ul><li>2 weeks—Execution of either option </li></ul><ul><li>1 week—Analysis and report preparation </li></ul><ul><li>2 weeks—Consolidated analysis and report preparation </li></ul><ul><li>TOTAL—Up to 16 weeks </li></ul>
  14. 14. Can’t We Just Do This Ourselves? <ul><li>The differences between self-conducted CNA’s and Third-Party conducted CNA’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relative costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Staff time, training and opportunity costs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expenditure on outside consultant </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cost of lost time on other projects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Going it alone… </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Can’t We Just Do This Ourselves? <ul><li>Going it alone… </li></ul>
  16. 16. Putting Together the Right Team <ul><li>United Way </li></ul><ul><li>Chamber </li></ul><ul><li>City/County </li></ul><ul><li>K-12 + Colleges </li></ul><ul><li>Health care </li></ul><ul><li>Human Service provider </li></ul><ul><li>Community Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Utility/Bank </li></ul><ul><li>Faith-based organization </li></ul>Share the cost and the information…
  17. 17. Who Benefits From a Community Needs Assessment? <ul><li>Your entire service area—but how? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A body of research designed specifically for your community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A body of research held, owned and maintained by the community </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Looking forward </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritizing </li></ul><ul><li>Programming </li></ul><ul><li>Budgeting </li></ul><ul><li>Grant writing </li></ul><ul><li>Areas that may need further research </li></ul>
  18. 18. What Deliverables Should You Get from a Community Needs Assessment? <ul><li>Individual reports from each phase </li></ul><ul><li>Consolidated report at the conclusion of the project </li></ul><ul><li>Data sets </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Actionable recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple report presentations in the community </li></ul><ul><li>Crosscuts of the data </li></ul>
  19. 19. A Community Needs Assessment <ul><li>Understand there’s a need </li></ul><ul><li>Gather the right stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Select the right form, format and research organization </li></ul><ul><li>Stay involved through the entire process </li></ul><ul><li>Understand that some findings may be uncomfortable </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the community knows what you plan to do with the information </li></ul><ul><li>Follow through </li></ul><ul><li>Repeat regularly </li></ul>