Four easy ways to improve your need statement

Your grant proposal’s need statement is crucial because it lays the foundation as you argue in favor of funding your project or organization. If the funder doesn’t understand why you need the money, they won’t cut the check.

Luckily, with a few minor tweaks, you can quickly improve your need statement and make your proposal more credible.

  • Be specific. Don’t bog down the proposal with tons of statistics about the community. Rather, focus on a handful of compelling problems to be addressed by your program. Avoid the “spaghetti on the wall” approach that involves tossing everything out to see what sticks.

  • Be relevant. Does every facet of the need/problem described clearly relate to your program’s activities? If not, cut it out.

  • Be up to date. If your stats are getting old, they’re no longer relevant. Go back to the source of each to make sure it’s the most current available.

  • Be contextual. Place your region’s statistics within context of the wider community. If you’re working with one city, how does it compare to the state, the county, or the country? Show prevalence and severity by comparing your community’s problems to a wider group. This is especially important in a federal grant, where you’ll be competing with organizations from around the country.


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