Suggestions for creating a needs assessment prior to facilitation

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Suggestions for creating a needs assessment prior to facilitation

Q:  I want to do a pre-questionnaire to prepare for facilitation to get at how I can make facilitation more useful for participants. What are the goals and needs, any suggestions? What kind of questions?

A:  On my website you can review the Knowledge Base, a free resource of video clips of my thoughts on design & facilitation questions from my Q&A calls:

There are several additional live call answers about needs assessment. A couple of things to consider. I would talk with the leaders/whoever brought you in and ask things like:

    • What are your intended outcomes?
    • What do you want people to be able to do? How do you want them to feel differently? What do you want them to know when they leave?
    • What are some of the current dynamics going on that have you wanting Inclusion workshops? What’s the current context whether it’s national, local, or international?
    • What DEI terms are used at your organization?
    • How comfortable are people talking about how everybody has a responsibility to learn and grow?
    • How would you assess the current level of competence of the participants?  A way to do this is using a 0-10 scale:  0 not at all, 10 completely. And then use a list of some of the following:
      • Understanding the full breadth of differences,
      • Understanding how privilege and marginalization contribute to exclusionary dynamics and common microaggressions?
      • Understand the skills to respond, i.e. how much do they have the courage and capacity to speak up and intervene during microaggressions?
      • Know how to analyze policies, programs, practices, and services with an Inclusion Lens as they’re writing or revising them? With a Race Lens?

Now, I added Race Lens specifically because we need so much more racial justice in organizations and in society: dismantling racism, dismantling whiteness/white supremacy everywhere. So, the more we know the more we can do.  *See below for a recent report from American Council on Education about current issues in higher education.

You might also use a 0 to 10 scale to ask, “How inclusive is the organizational culture and climate in general?” And consider breaking out for individual categories of folks in different marginalized identities, e.g.: folks who are gender queer/transgender, who are immigrants, who do not have documented immigration status, who are queer, who are cisgender, who are folks of color. And I would break that into all racially minoritized groups:

    • Native American
    • Indigenous
    • Middle Eastern
    • multiracial
    • biracial
    • African-American
    • BlackLatino/a/x
    • Asian-American
    • Pacific Islander
    • White 

NOTE: The data from the ACE Report clearly shows that if you desegregate the data, climate and culture has a differential impact for people who are Asian-American descendants from twelve to fifteen generations. E.G. the Asian-Americans that were allowed in for one immigration policy around the 1960’s were clearly only people with significant capacity by class and maybe even English proficiency – so, it was not a full representation of different cultures and nations. That historical lens helps us understand why today there’s so much differential life experiences because we’ve had lots of different immigration dynamics.

To survey the workshop participants, these questions may be useful:

    • What are three ways you already infuse equity and inclusion?
    • What are 2-3 situations that you think you handle pretty well? (That will give you an idea of some of the microaggressions.)
    • What are one or two situations that you or your colleagues need or want some skills to better respond to?

These work for the foundational workshop that most people need before going into depth either into a single identity and/or looking at privilege and systemic change. But you could adapt these if you’re doing a 201 around whiteness and white supremacy:

    • What are five examples of how whiteness and white supremacy show up in the organization.
    • Talk about a time (if applicable) you were in a white caucus or a POC caucus and what worked, what was useful, and was there anything that was not useful.

You can take the 0-10 scale and ask people to anonymously rate themselves on tools/skills/knowledge. For instance, is you are teaching about sexism, history of sexism, and how sexual harassment and sexism are still prevalent today?   If it’s more of a knowledge workshop that will help you determine if it’s new information and/or reinforcing what people already know.

*Recent Resource: American Council on Education (ACE) Webinar and report by Drs. Millie Garcia, Shaun Harper, and Julie Park – 

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