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 the community?

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
  1. 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 and type in the city name to gather information.
  2. 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.).
  3. 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 students).
  4. 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 changes!
New Club Resource Materials
City Profile Sheet
Community Needs Assessment

Previous (Step 1) Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Next

Home   Overview

Resource Materials
Do you have what you need to start a Club?

Rules for New Clubs

Certified Club Builders
Need a Certified Club Builder in your area?

Contact the New Club Department
Do you want to start a New Club?