News & Views

A blog for those interested in what affects, motivates and drives the New York City Nonprofit Sector — written by CRE’s crackerjack consulting team. We hope you use this space to share your thoughts, ask questions and engage in conversations about our city, social justice and the nonprofit sector.

Why do a Needs Assessment?

 In plain language, a needs assessment will help you determine whether your proposed work is truly necessary.  It is important to know this before you begin: fundraising is a challenge under any circumstances, but it will be impossible if your organization does not address a real need that other groups do not. A needs assessment is an opportunity to ask yourself (as others will ask you later): Why now and why you?


The purpose of a needs assessment is to:


  • Understand the extent of the problem.
  • Gather the information about all the services that are available to your target population.
  • Identify the gaps in the services available to your target population.

A needs assessment is also a great opportunity to involve current or potential program participants in the planning process. Ask them about their needs and about what gaps they see in the services available to them.  This will help you design a program that is truly responsive to your target population.


Whether your data collection is formal or informal, at the end you should be able to answer four questions:

  • What do the individuals who are part of your target community identify as their key needs?
  • What needs are not being met by other organizations serving this target population?
  • Does the need you have identified fit within your organization’s mission or statement of purpose as captured in your incorporation papers?
  • Do you have within your group of skills, experiences, and connections to the target audience that will enable you to address this need effectively?

Use this chart to guide you through the process of a needs assessment. The completed chart should be used to inform your group’s choices about its programs and to form the basis for its case statement for funding.


Find us on:  CRE on Twitter CRE on Facebook  

News and Views


Nonprofit News Jeff Ballow publications CRE POV CRE News announcment 30th Anniversary Funding Updates Fran's Corner nonprofit leaders I.T. without I.T. handling the unexpected New York Daring to Lead guest blogger mergers computers harvard business school CRE Executive Search Rashid Littlejohn Harvard Kennedy School board and staff relations Barbara Blumenthal Data Board of Directors Alliance for Nonprofit Management grantmakers Needs Assessment Pavitra Menon strategic alliances NYCCCOC NYS Budget New York Community Trust Advocacy Nonprofit Sustainability RFP Hurricane Sandy President Obama foundations Michael Hickey CRE Tips civic engagement National Committee of Responsive Philanthropy What is Core? arts Randall Quan Maria Mottola board leadership Governance as Leadership capacity building Featured Items Neighborhood Based Capacity Building Initiative bookkeeping House Party generative collaborations HIV/AIDS services providers Ero Gray Volunteers Nonprofit Tools website, resources, announcements nonprofit mergers Philanthropic Collaborative leadership media community Valyrie Laedlein Sector Research Mohan Sikka accountability Nonprofit jobs Louisa Hackett Karen Erdos Mark Light record keeping case statement executive transition Pamela Dicent grantmakers for effective organizations Albany Holly Delany Cole queens Government Updates Client News New York City Government Huffington Post United Way of NYC staff HR Without HR Nonprofit Quarterly cre postponed event Fran Barrett Interns Bill Ryan Data Starved New York Times rockaways Peter Block Beth Kobliner government hard times Coaching nonprofit start-ups Barbara Turk Stanford Social Innovation Review internal controls evaluation proposal writing Ximena Rua-Merkin nonprofit management nonprofit ownership executive National and Community Service IT New York Foundation fundraising nonprofit accountability Rona Taylor Useful Links Jean Lobell Government News tips Development Survey lower Manhattan MAC AIDS Fund