This book will benefit people and teams involved in planning and decision making. On the basis of their pragmatic value in guiding decisions, needs assessments are used in various professions and settings—from emergency rooms to corporate boardrooms—to guide decision making. Nonetheless, although needs assessments have many different applications, we focus in this book on needs assessments as they are applied in organizations to accomplish results, as opposed to their use in personal decisions or medical triage. Needs assessments are conducted in many diverse organizations, from steel mills to financial services firms, and their tools can be applied in private sector businesses, government ministries, municipality agencies, local nonprofit institutions, and organizations of all varieties. However, through discussion and examples, this book more specifically focuses on how needs assessments are applied in relation to international development efforts in the public sector (for instance, reducing poverty, improving access to clean water, or addressing gender inequality). This context offers many realistic and pragmatic opportunities to illustrate how various needs assessment steps, tools, techniques, and guides can be used to collect valuable information, to make informed decisions, to achieve results, and to have a positive influence on the lives of people around the world. People who can benefit from needs assessments could be community leaders and policy makers who oversee decision-making processes andimplementation. Agency employees or contractors who design and implement projects can also benefit from building needs assessments into their routine planning processes. Monitoring and evaluation practitioners or auditors can use needs assessments to measure and track results. Community members and other project stakeholders can and should also be involved in needs assessment processes—typically as informants, but increasingly as joint decision makers with policy makers.