Step 1: Needs Assessment
A needs assessment is exploring the way things are versus the way
they could be within a community. This first step is simply identifying
the purposes of the New Optimist Club. What are some opportunities for service
within the community? How could a Club help bring this about? Can a Club
achieve the desired result? What are the costs and benefits of a Club to
We are often in a rush to start New Clubs but fail to identify how each
Club fits within a community. As a result of our haste, the Club often fails
shortly after chartering. If Optimists plan carefully, however, they can
help to establish strong Clubs that provide great community service for
a long period of time.
Conducting a Needs Assessment
New Club Resource Materials
Community Needs Assessment
Perform an analysis
Conduct a demographic profile of your community. Ask questions. Who lives
here? What kind of community is it? What businesses and industries are
present? What are the schools like? Identify what other organizations
exist and what they do for the community. Remember, while there may be
other service organizations in your area, Optimist Clubs are unique, so
do not let that discourage you. Use the internet to help. Go to www.google.com
and type in the city name to gather information.
- Identify priorities and importance
What issues are particular to this town? What do local children
need? What is being done now? There will always be opportunities for
helping others; the key is identifying them (for example, old playground
equipment, no after-school programs, etc.).
- Identify opportunities
After you have identified the needs, the next step is to identify
relevant problems that a Club can help solve. This creates a purpose
and focus for your New Club. It also helps the New Club form an identity
within the community. Remember, every need is a priority and nothing
should be overlooked. Nothing is too big or too small (for example,
raise money to build new playground, develop after-school programs for
- Identify a solution
The solution? The service opportunities in this city can be fulfilled
by starting an Optimist Club! It's up to you to show the new community
how an Optimist Club can solve the needs you’ve just identified.
Work with the residents of the town, and get their input and suggestions.
Show them how they have all the resources to better their community,
and an Optimist Club is the vehicle through which they can make those