Project—Assessing the Need (The)

6, 7, 8

Students will learn how to participate in a needs assessment for their local community.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo 60-Minute Class Periods

The learner will demonstrate their understanding of philanthropy, Academic Service-Learning, and volunteerism by selecting and assessing a perceived need in the local community.

  • Lists of local philanthropic organizations including phone numbers and/or contact persons.
  • Mailing lists of local residents (parents in the school system, registered voters, etc.).
  • Local Organizations Needs Assessment Form (Attachment One)
  • Sample of Community Needs Survey (Attachment Two)


  1. Anticipatory Set:Write "Human Wants" and "Human Needs" on the board and elicit student examples for each. Guide students' discussion to establish the difference between human wants and human needs (wants are unlimited and needs are necessities for survival). Repeat the activity using the terms: "Community Wants" and "Community Needs."

  2. Students, assigned into cooperative groups, will contact local organizations and agencies to conduct a need assessment in the local community.

  3. Students will develop a questionnaire to distribute to residents to further help them determine the needs of the community.

  4. Students will design a checklist of criteria for evaluating the needs identified by the local organizations and the community responses.


Observation of student participation and contact lists.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will examine the local community and determine those areas of need which should be met.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.