CONDUCT A Needs Assessment

With limited resources, knowing how to prioritise who to support is important. In consultation with other organisations, we’ve compiled a sample needs assessment.

Creating a Needs Assessment and Eligibility Process 

Given the limited resources of the charity sector, it is unlikely organisations will be able to meet all of their clients' needs, or at least not immediately, and so it may be necessary to prioritise people.

Phones, tablets, laptops and data top ups are high value items. Having a clear policy to follow will minimise risk of confusion and tensions between clients and the organisation and any referring organisations if you are working in partnership. 

Your eligibility criteria will vary depending on your client group, funding and resources available. These are ideas to help decide how to assess the needs of clients and create an eligibility criteria.

What devices they have

  • Phone
  • Smartphone
  • Tablet
  • Laptop
  • Mobile Broadband WiFi Router

Their level of connectedness

  • 24/7 broadband access to the internet 
  • 24/7 3G-4G access to the internet 
  • Limited broadband access to the internet 
  • Limited 3G-4G access to the internet 
  • Pay as you go top-up access to the internet
  • No access to the internet 

Individual circumstances and needs 

  • Destitute or experiencing financial hardship
  • Experiencing loneliness 
  • Insecure accommodation - eg. sofa surfing
  • Unable to engage with your organisation’s activities
  • Struggling to keep in touch with people in their support network
  • Have lost or struggle to maintain contact with family members overseas
  • High vulnerabilities (eg. around health or mental health) or safeguarding concerns that could be improved by connectivity 
  • The number of children in the household
  • Children in the household needing entertainment 
  • Children struggling to access and complete college / school work 
  • Shielding or caring for shielding family members 
  • Have Covid symptoms, are self-isolating or in hospital 

Prioritising support

  • Some organisations use a system of awarding a scale of ‘points’ for different eligibility criteria. The total number of points is used to determine priority for that client.
  • Some take length of time waiting for support into account. 
  • Some just say clients need to meet one or a certain number of criteria to be eligible.
  • For data top-up some organisations don’t have any criteria and acknowledge that those who ask are in need. 

Collecting Needs Assessments Data

Using a Google Form is a simple and effective way to collect lots of responses. Needs assessments in this format could be filled in by individuals themselves or workers.

Responses are automatically added to a spreadsheet - an easy way of managing requests and having oversight of everyone who needs support.