This month we have been focusing on grant writing skills that will increase the likelihood of funding success! Thus far, our topics have included “Being Grant Ready,” “Funding your Mission,” “Writing your Program Description,” and “Establishing Program Goals.” This week, we will wrap up our focus with a discussion of the Needs Statement.
The Needs Statement, or Issue Statement, provides your organization with an opportunity to discuss the need in your community that you are seeking to address. It is important to paint a picture with your needs statement to help the funder understand what is going on in your community and what will happen if the need is not met. The grant proposal is not the place for you to discuss what your organization needs to continue functioning; frankly, the funder doesn’t care what you need. Instead, they do care about the needs that exist in your community. Yes, your organization may need funds for staff positions; however, your focus needs to be on the work being done by those staff…how do they serve, what will happen to those you serve if the staff are nonexistent? The information contained in the needs statement should be relevant to the program description that you are including in the proposal. In other words, the program description should be a way to solve the needs you are discussing.
So, where do you get the information to include in your needs statement? Census data provides a good background about your community. You may also want to include data about school students; for this information you will want to review the School Report Card for your district. Unemployment statistics can be obtained by accessing Department of Labor data and health related information can be found by visiting the Healthy People 2020 website. Remember as you are gathering data to use data that is relevant to the problems that you are seeking to address. And, know that the information to include in your grant proposal is generally not information found in the Tourism Office or the Office of Economic Development.
Finally, as you develop your needs statement, consider including information about a specific individual or an anecdote about the work your organization does. While data and statistics connects with the logical part of the brain, stories about individuals connect with emotions and the heart.
Best wishes to you as you write your Needs Statement.