A needs assessment that is effective will take up time, but should correlate to the complexity of the project and the difficulty of accessing what is necessary to perform the needs assessment.
What would you expect to be the factors to consider and access to overcome the time factor drag on time? Whom might you involve?
I think this really depends on the focus of your needs assessment. I recently did a needs assessment on a small community based on an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) pilot study. The purpose was to determine the community needs based on the ACEs scores. This would be an example of a very targeted needs assessment. Once I had an idea of what the ACE-related needs were, I began interviewing the facilitators of programs and organizations that provided support programs for the community.
If you are doing a general needs assessment, say, by county, resources ...
This solution provides an example of a recently performed needs assessment as well as sources for researching the target population and ideas for community contacts to communicate with.