Organisations are increasingly being asked to give an account of their work in terms of outcomes and outputs. Churches are no different. The presence and actions of a church have an impact on those around them, but such effects very often go unnoticed and can easily be undervalued. Community Needs Assessments, or Community Audits are a useful way in which churches can find out about their communities so that they can better serve them - as well as evaluate the impact they already have on their locality. They can also be a useful tool in support of grant applications and when negotiating with local and church authorities.
The following resources and links can help your church in carrying out a Community Audit:
Churches Community Value Toolkit
Created by the Church Urban Fund, the Churches Community Value Toolkit is a way of highlighting the ways in which churches contribute to their community, as more and more organisations are asked to give an account of their work in terms of outcomes and outputs. This Toolkit enables churches to estimate the financial value of their contribution to the wider community – as this is the way things get valued in wider society – as well as enabling churches to note some of the ways in which their contribution to their neighbourhood might be distinctive, for there are unique contributions that faith can make to the well-being of a community.
This document details how the Diocese of London encourages their parishes to develop and periodically revise a Mission Action Plan. It gives some useful pointers as to what parishes should consider when carrying out an audit and demonstrates how a parishes final document should outline strategies for mission and ministry so that parishes grow into vibrant, healthy communities of witness and service to their local communities.
Rotary Club Community Needs Assessment
This document outlines questions that organisations should consider when trying to carry out a community needs assessment.
Rural Ministries – Community Surveys
This series of survey suggestions developed by Rural Ministries to help churches become better acquainted with those who attend them, and more carefully understand their locality.