First Impressions: A Community Assessment and Improvement Program

First Impressions is a community assessment and improvement program developed by Andy Lewis and James Schneider. This program matches “sister communities” and uses a “secret shopper” approach to evaluating communities. This simple yet effective tool helps people identify and assess their community’s strengths and weaknesses. Initially developed in 1991, First Impressions has been used in hundreds of communities in the U.S. and Canada.

Several sample final reports are available. Indicative of its widespread application and success is the fact that the First Impressions program has been adapted for a variety of uses by several universities and agencies including: the University of Minnesota, Kansas State University, Mississippi State University, Ohio State University, University of Illinois, and the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.

A free users guide is available both as a PDF and in a digital format. Please see all Program Materials.