WHEN SHOULD NEEDS AND ASSETS BE IDENTIFIED?
Identifying needs and assets can be helpful to your organization at almost any point in your initiative. If your group has a specific goal, such as reducing teen pregnancy, identifying local needs (better communication between parents and teens, education programs, etc.) and resources (youth outreach programs, peer counselors) related to the issue can help you craft a workable, effective goal. On the other hand, if your organization is more broad-based — if you’re dedicated to helping the health needs of under-served people in your city, for example — identifying assets and needs can help you decide which aspect of the problem to tackle first.
ASSESSMENTS OF RESOURCES AND NEEDS SHOULD BE DONE REGULARLY THROUGHOUT YOUR INITIATIVE:
- Prior to planning the initiative. This gives coalition members, community leaders, and those being served an idea of how to improve their circumstances.
- During the implementation of an initiative. It is important to make sure that you are on target not only at the beginning and the end of a project but also during its implementation. If car companies only did quality checks on the steel before the parts are constructed and the paint job after it rolled off the line, you might not be inclined to trust the engine. Identifying needs and assets during the life of the initiative helps you use your own resources well, and ensures that you’re addressing the right issues in the right way.
- On an ongoing basis. During monitoring and evaluation, either ongoing or after the completion of a project, it is important to celebrate successes and to learn from setbacks to further community development.