Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Community Change Initiatives (CCI) 5: Community Assessment

An assessment is conducted in partnership with relevant stakeholders to identify the community's characteristics, assets, needs, and priorities.
NA The organization only provides technical assistance to community change initiatives.
2020 Edition




Community Change Initiatives mobilize the community for action, strengthen the capacity of residents and organizations to effect and sustain change, build and improve neighborhoods, and lay the groundwork for future progress.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Assessment procedures
  • Copy of assessment tool(s)
  • Copy of most recent community assessment(s)
  • Evidence of collaboration with stakeholders (i.e., meeting notices, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, correspondence, documentation of decisions)
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Stakeholders


CCI 5.01

A culturally and linguistically responsive assessment is conducted using planned, diverse strategies to systematically identify and analyze the community’s: 
  1. demographics and characteristics;
  2. protective factors, including the assets, skills, capacities, and resources of its residents, organizations, and institutions; and 
  3. needs, issues, and concerns.


Evidence-based assessment strategies should be used whenever possible.


COA recognizes that, in some cases, the organization might not conduct the community assessment directly and instead might utilize the results of an assessment already conducted by another party. For example, if the state department of health conducted an assessment which revealed that a certain problem existed in the community, the initiative might have been launched in response to that identified need. When this is the case, the organization is not expected to complete another community assessment. However, it should be prepared to provide evidence of the assessment it draws upon in order to demonstrate that the initiative has been built based on real data.

Regardless of who conducts the community assessment, the information should be up-to-date, ideally collected within the last three years.
Examples: A variety of strategies may be used to gather this information. Strategies may include, but are not limited to: surveys; one-on-one interviews; focus groups; reviews of existing demographic information, research, and literature, including environmental scans and needs assessments; informal outreach through door-to-door canvassing or visits to community centers and other gathering places; media analysis; and power mapping.

Examples: Community demographics and characteristics can include things like population statistics, age, marital status, household size, racial and ethnic background, language spoken, educational levels, employment rates, income, and health statistics.


CCI 5.02

The organization works with relevant stakeholders to set the initiative’s priorities based on the findings of the assessment and a shared vision for the community.


In some cases an initiative’s primary priority may have been established in response to an already-identified concern. However, the organization should still work with community stakeholders to get their input about the pre-determined priorities, and stakeholders should be involved in establishing future priorities whenever possible.