Needs (?) Assessment
- Friday, 21 October 2011 12:40
I don’t like to get into semantics. In fact, I love words…word puzzles, writing letters, reading novels, a good play on words…but I don’t like to debate words.
So when our recent needs assessment was publicized two months ago, I participated in a discussion with a few community leaders about what a “need” really is. One very vocal leader said that needs are negative, and there shouldn’t be anything negative announced regarding Frederick County because, well, because we are Frederick County! Another told me needs are relative. What may be a need to one person may not really be a value, or need, to another. And still another offered that our needs assessment should be re-titled to show that needs are really gaps in services, because gaps show the absence of something, not needs. I am still not sure exactly what this means or how gaps versus needs relative to our study are different. I guess it’s how one uses the word. Yep, that’s where we get into semantics.
Maybe we should have called our report an “opportunity” assessment, because every area identified in it is an opportunity to make positive impact. Maybe we should rename it the “pressing issue” report to show the urgency of areas that should be addressed. Better yet, maybe we should have called it an “assessment,” leaving out the word “needs” so that the debate over the semantics doesn’t cloud the importance of the information it contains.
Regardless of what you think we should have called the report, I can assure you the Community Foundation is working to address some of the needs identified in specific areas. Nonprofits are using the needs assessment’s information in their grant applications to the Community Foundation and other funding sources, and community philanthropists and service organizations are using the needs assessment as a base for their charitable activities. Our report is definitely not collecting dust on a shelf. In fact, you can access the report on our website at www.cffredco.org/impact/needsreport.
So let’s all agree to put aside the semantics and work together to identify areas that you can impact in ways that are For Good. Forever. For Frederick County.
- 312 East Church Street
- Frederick, MD 21701
- phone: 301-695-7660
- fax: 301-695-7775
- Directions to Our Office