In the first Community Needs Assessment to be conducted since 2010, those in leadership roles who influence the type of social service programming offered locally want to know two key perceptions among local residents.
First, what is your assessment of the performance of community service initiatives currently operating in Cleveland and Bradley County?
Second, what new programs would you like to see funded for the benefit of community residents who have unmet needs?
Those who have opinions about the above are invited to complete a new Community Needs Assessment offered through United Way. But hurry. As published in the Sunday, Jan. 29, edition of our newspaper, responses are being accepted through Wednesday, Feb. 29.
Participants have two options — electronically by going online and visiting the United Way website or by paper. Obviously, the preferred method is online because of its efficiencies, accuracy and accessibility.
Because United Way understands not all Cleveland and Bradley County residents have embraced the computer age, a limited number of copies of the assessment have been printed. These may be picked up at the United Way office at 85 Ocoee St. in downtown Cleveland in the former Princess Theater across from Johnston Park.
Why a Community Needs Assessment?
One, the Bradley Memorial Health Endowment Fund agreement with United Way calls for such a biannual tool to evaluate existing programs and to obtain ideas for new initiatives that might best support unmet needs in our community.
Two, even beyond any Endowment Fund collaboration, keeping a finger on the pulse of the community and its needs is a mandate by organizations like United Way whose operations accept donated dollars and transform them into services that benefit the total community. In some cases, service beneficiaries are the very donors who support United Way through their generous donations. This is a strength of United Way which points to the agency’s growing value to our hometown.
Another benefit of the Community Needs Assessment is it helps United Way to identify how, when and where to strengthen public awareness. The 2010 assessment identified a few areas that responders’ perceived as “unmet needs”; yet, in truth such programming already existed. Assessment participants just didn’t know it.
Survey participants will rate existing services in one of five ways — “Very Important Unmet Need,” “Somewhat Important Unmet Need,” “Important Unmet Need,” “Need Is Adequately Met” or “No Opinion/Don’t Know.”
Participants will be asked demographic questions like occupation, education level, age and gender, but the survey is completely anonymous. Responders are asked to submit only one completed form.
Those wishing to participate should visit the United Way website at www.unitedwaybc.com where a link will steer users to the assessment. For those who are not computer savvy, a limited number of printed copies are available at the United Way office.
Questions may be directed to United Way at 423-489-2020 or by sending an email to Matt Ryerson, United Way president and CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org or Patrick Long, vice president of Community Impact at email@example.com.
We urge the community’s participation.