Free: Community Needs Assessment Training for CalCAPA Members


FREE: Community Needs Assessment Training For Our Members

Dear Cal-CAPA members,

A core part of the California Community Action Partnership Association’s (Cal-CAPA’s) mission is to provide high quality training and technical assistance to our members, who include local Community Action Agencies and other entities who receive Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds. Part of the way for us to achieve that goal is to assess our members and work with other partners including the California Department Community Services Development (CSD), the federal Office of Community Services (OCS), our other state association counterparts in Region IX, the Arizona Community Action Association, the Nevada Community Action Association, and the Hawaii Community Action Partnership (HCAP) as well as national Partners including the Community Action Partnership (CAP), the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF) and NASCSP.

One of the items that has been consistently listed was training around community needs assessments for local agencies.To that end, we are glad to be able to offer to Cal-CAPA members free of charge the opportunity to participate in a webinar on Tuesday May 30th at 9:30 a.m. PDT.

There is a link below to join the webinar and to add it in your calendar. There is a call in number for the audio portion of the webinar and the meeting pass word. The conference call is being provided by Community Action Partnership and will be led by Courtney Kohler from their staff.

Among the the topics that will be covered on the Webinar

  • How to partner with other organizations doing needs assessment, which ones, and/or how to utilize their needs assessments;
  • How to recruit participants, how to increase the number of surveys returned, reaching members of the community currently not receiving a CAP service;
  • Toolkits and guides; survey platforms might be of interest;
  • Including needs at the three levels, i.e. family, agency, and community level needs;
  • How to utilize the needs assessment results in planning and program design, thinking ahead to community-level initiatives;

We hope that you can join us on the webinar on May 30th at 9:30 a.m. PDT but we also want to provide other resources to you as well.

There are links to nationally developed resources designed to help local agencies completing needs assessments. The first was developed by CAP and is around the needs assessment process and the way it ties to the organizational standards. The second is a guide that was developed by NASCSP for local agencies as well. There is also a link to a statewide assessment that was developed by the North Dakota Community Action Association as well as links to examples of blank needs assessments from local community action agencies. Some examples maybe helpful and others may not be, so feel free to adapt and utilize what works for your local community and disregard things that are not as effective for your individual agency.

As you work on your needs assessment process here are somethings to you may want keep in mind during the process:

  • You will probably want to organize a community assessment advisory/planning committee.
  • You should define the goals of your assessment.
  • Look to compile the agency data you already have to contribute to your assessment.
  • Beyond in house data, there are many good sources for local economic,educational, housing and other data around poverty related issues including the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS), performed by the US Census Bureau, employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports from think tanks like the California Budget & Policy Center just to name a few.
  • Set aside time and resources to collect poverty data and its how its related to gender, age, race/ethnicity in your community. Again the ACS is a good resource and its updated every year, usually in mid September.
  • Make sure that you also have methods and tools to survey the needs identified both by customers of the agency and others who may not receive your agency’s services and incorporate those findings with your data .
  • Schedule time for analysis and prioritizing of needs.
  • Organize your key findings and prepare a comprehensive community needs assessment report within a 3 year time period, as that is tied to the new organizational standards that agencies have to meet.
  • Disseminate the report to your Board of Directors, and include the item on the Board’s agenda
  • A good Community Needs assessment drives both the Community Action Plan but also informs the agency strategic plan.

In talking with local CSBG Directors in California, we have received feedback that the needs and trends can frequently change reflecting societal trends. An example of that agencies have expressed recently has been around the various issues of immigration and how these changes effect certain vulnerable populations and their ability to make their voices heard and to access services.

If you would like assistance with a Community Needs Assessment process or a training at your local agency, please email me at or call me at (859) 536-1368.

Special thanks to Jutta Ulrich from the Arizona Community Action Association in helping organize the webinar from the Partnership and to the Partnership for providing the training.

Cal-CAPA plays a core role in Region IX by serving as the liaison in the Regional Performance and Innovation Consortia (RPIC) grant from OCS. Last week Cal-CAPA submitted training and technical assistance plans from each of the four states in Region IX. The plan was part retrospective in reviewing what we have done since September 30, 2016 and part was prospective of what we were going to do goring forward for the remainder of the federal fiscal year.

These training sessions and sharing of resources are part of what the Partnership and OCS call the Learning Communities and we will seek to expand those offerings and information dissemination over the coming months.

In reviewing the training requests that we have received from local agencies, survey results from CSD, and in reviewing other state associations training and technical assistance plans, we have also seen that meeting new ROMA NG and CSBG Annual report data collection is a need that has been expressed in our state and across the region.

To that end, we are working with CSD to help bring leadership from NASCSP to Sacramento for a ROMA NG and CSBG Annual report data collection training session July 11-12. As we are working with other partners to coordinate this meeting, we will share the details soon as they are finalized. We encourage every agency to send at least one person to the training.

Again the link to the May 30th 9:30 a.m. PDT Community Needs Assessment is below



Needs Assessment
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
12:30 pm | Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00) | 1 hr 30 mins

Meeting number (access code): 660 128 654
Meeting password: Partnership
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1-650-479-3208 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)
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