Evaluating needs and opportunities

What is a needs assessment and who needs to consider one? A needs assessment helps discover unmet needs and discover new opportunities to best serve constituents. It’s a crucial part of decision-making in terms of allocating funds for communities and counties around the country.

SRA has been conducting needs assessments for more than 20 years to help government and community coalitions understand where there are gaps in their market to serve their communities. These studies are designed to assess what problems residents experience in assessing services that support a good quality of life, health, and well-being.

Our needs assessments help nonprofit organizations and government agencies understand where the greatest needs exist among their constituents. A complete social services needs assessment collects primary information from surveys and focus groups and combines it with existing data from the government, various agencies, and academic resources. The overall objective for these needs assessments is to identify the social, health, and public safety needs of an area which can be used to assist in delivering effective services in the future.

SRA delivers needs assessment research for a wide variety of clients which:

  • Highlight problems with products or services which can be leveraged to fill gaps in the market.
  • Identify the social, health, and public safety needs of a community to create a community profile that will assist agencies in delivering effective social, health, and public safety services in the future.
  • Determine the social, health, and public safety services currently available in a community and identify gaps which exist.
  • Identify the underserved areas that are not currently receiving needed services.
  • Collect information from surveys and focus groups concerning needed services, gaps in services, and underserved areas.

On the for profit side, SRA works with business-to-business and business-to-consumer audiences when conducting needs assessment research, including:

  • General consumers
    • Customers
    • Prospects
  • Lapsed customers
  • Business owners and managers
  • Healthcare professionals

In the social services arena, we mine indicator data which is available from government, university, and agency sources. We combine those data with primary needs assessment research conducted among:

  • Residents
    • Adults
    • Parents
    • Seniors
  • Community leaders
  • Government leaders
  • Law enforcement leaders
  • Educational leaders
  • Religious leaders
  • Social service providers
  • Business owners and managers

SRA has helped organizations in a variety of areas understand where the greatest needs exist among their audiences. Some of the areas where we conduct needs assessment research include:

  • Communities, counties or regions
  • Government organizations
  • Not for profit agencies
  • Banks and financial services companies
  • Hospitals and healthcare organizations
  • Builders and developers
  • Retailers
  • Manufacturers
  • Consumer packaged goods
  • Educational institutions


SRA’s needs assessment research work has helped many organizations determine the best places to focus their resources.

  • A needs assessment conducted by SRA showed that 25% of residents in a particular county did not have health insurance. A community-wide telephone survey, which was an integral part of the needs assessment, also showed that many families (41%) said that affording medical care was a major issue, and a similar percentage (45%) said that being able to afford health insurance for themselves and their families is a major issue. These findings led to the development of a free healthcare clinic to help residents in the county.
  • After the hurricanes which ravaged Florida in 2004, a national insurance company was interested in bringing about changes to the rules which govern the industry and the impact these regulations have on consumers. A needs assessment was conducted to determine the optimum balance between the protection consumers need from insurance policies and the necessity of keeping the insurers solvent. One of the outcomes of this research included changes to insurance offers including wind mitigation inspections which provide lower rates to homeowners while giving insurers greater confidence in the ability of a home to survive hurricanes.
  • A county needs assessment determined that the primary service gaps relate to child care, affordable housing and rental assistance, and summer recreational programs. SRA identified lead agencies and recommended strategies on ways to address these issues as part of the five year comprehensive plan designed for the county.
  • An international express shipping company was looking to expand their domestic operations within a Latin American country. SRA conducted a needs assessment among domestic shipping customers to understand what aspects of their shipping were not being met by existing carriers. This allowed the client to design a unique niche service offering to capture market share in this country.
  • A wide majority of voters in Florida voted in favor of an amendment which brought about voluntary universal pre-kindergarten for 4 year olds. A needs assessment SRA conducted among parents throughout Florida led to development of the standards and requirements for the program including national standards for quality, teacher certification, and teacher to student ratios. The program has been successful in terms of having children better prepared when they enter kindergarten.
  • SRA conducted a community assessment for a major funder of agencies which serves residents. The findings were used to develop a community level action plan which brought together funders and agencies to provide services in an area which lacked health and human services.

For further information, please call us at 561-744-5662.

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