Skip links

Starting An Organization From Scratch#9 Conduct A Needs Assessment

When we set out to start organisations, often times we assume to know what our beneficiaries actually need and we tend to be wrong. We spend so much time designing programs and interventions without seeking their opinions about the real need. In the end we design programs that don’t meet the actual needs of the people we seek to serve. When our interventions don’t meet real needs, they become optional for the people we are targeting.

A needs assessment will enable you identify the current needs and intervention gaps for your targeted beneficiaries in comparison to the desired outcomes your organization seeks to achieve. The difference between their current needs and desired outcomes can help you determine the most effective interventions to implement.
An Organization needs assessment can also be equated to a baseline survey that enables you establish the magnitude of the need at the start of the program and the impact at the end of the program. It is also beneficial to conduct these assessments periodically to ensure that your programs are still relevant for the target population that you serve.
A needs assessment is one of the first steps to any successful program design and is critical as part of impact assessment. Conducting this analysis allows an organization to focus it’s efforts on activities that are necessary to generate the desired impact. It should be noted that the team conducting the assessment must clearly understand the over all organisational goals and mission.
The results of your assessment should guide the program design and implementation plan. Be flexible as you design the programs to allow room for alterations without affecting the overall outcomes. Listen to your beneficiaries and be open to learning from them even as you seek their opinions. Note that often times what we assume to be the challenge is only a symptom so keep asking until you get to the core of the societal challenge you seek to address.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.