There are no two words in grant writing that evoke fear like ‘needs statement.’ It can be pretty daunting to have to explain to an unknown person/organization/thing why you are begging for – I mean, requesting – money. But, I promise you, it can be a simple task – especially if you are passionate about your project, as many of you are.
The needs statement is the first step in pulling together a concise project design and fully presenting your goals and objectives for your project. It is the first rung on the ladder to funding success. As we discussed in my first blog post, Writing Your First Grant, the needs statement is built from the planning and gathering information process.
First, identify the problem or need for an external constituency (e.g. 4-H youth, cattle, childcare providers.) It is important that the focus describes conditions outside the organization.
Then, state what you propose to do to address the problem (e.g. send homeless youth to 4-H camp, develop curriculum to teach childcare providers to implement healthy air environments in childcare centers.)
“So What?” “Who Cares?”
The needs statement will answer these questions and demonstrate that the problem is Important, Significant and Urgent, ultimately showcasing the project relates to your organization’s mission and the funder’s priorities. Use this time to show the gaps between the problem, your proposed actions and the solutions to resolve the problem. A human interest story of a similar client and circumstances with positive resolution will demonstrate the effectiveness of your interventions and win the hearts and minds of the funder.
Tips for your Needs Statement
- Address the 5 W’s
- Don’t use too many weighty words
- “Get ‘em in the heart, get ‘em in the head
- Thoughtfully word any statistics
- Check the scoring/rating criteria for the RFP
Don’t forget – I’m always here to help you at every step of the grant proposal process!!