By Megan Hill
Every grant has a need statement — and every winning grant has a great need statement. This part of the grant proposal is one of the most important. It describes the problem the grant will address in great detail, setting up the argument for the grant award.
Without firm legs to stand on in the need statement, the rest of the grant application is worthless. A weak need statement will likely get your grant thrown into the rejection pile.
When setting up the argument in the need statement, it’s imperative to find credible sources to back up your assertions. You need research to help your assessment of the problem at hand — the need of the population you’re serving — stand up.
This research may include demographics, poverty statistics, or health and disease information. It may also include quotes from experts or citing conclusions from reports and presentations.
You’ll want to cite your sources in a footnote or in-text citation. Find the original source if possible — for example, don’t quote a website that quotes a World Health Organization report. Find the WHO report and link directly to that source material.
The internet is a great place to start looking. From there, you might also call experts in your subject area or visit your local library, where a research librarian might be able to lend a hand. Program staff at the nonprofit you’re writing for might also be good sources; they’re typically dialed in to the latest research in their field.
(photo from D Sharon Pruitt)