Within a non-for-profit organization, there are many dynamics which bring the organization to a whole and create for a financially stable, functioning unit in which the non-for-profit organization’s long term goals and mission can be achieved. As part of this financial success, many non-for-profit organization’s lean to corporate funding organizations to supply much needed financial support in daily administrative duties and completing a mission. Within the dynamics of a non-for-profit organization lies a key team player; the Grant Writer. As a Grant Writer, either salaried or working as freelance, the function of this personnel is to gather, write and present quality and timely grant proposals to various corporate organizations in hopes of securing the funding so desperately needed by the non-for-profit organization they represent.
Within the grant writing proposal process, there are many key components which, when organized correctly and according to the requirements of the grantor, creates the perfect breeding ground for funding awards not only in the current year but, potentially, in years to come. One such component, the Needs Statement, is a crucial piece of the grant proposal package that must be written in clear and concise formatting. Let’s examine the Needs Statement and the various elements that are crucial to making the Needs Statement a rewarding piece of the grant proposal package leading to an award of funds by grantors.
The Needs Statement, in general, is a document, within the grant proposal package, which will supply an overview of the non-for-profit organization’s recognition of a specific community based issue, or problem, and supplies the research and statistics on this community issue.
The Needs Statement, in terms of research and statistics should not only outline the community issue but also provide details with regard to the benefits of grant dollars on the impact to the community issue or problem. The Needs Statement should not, however, discuss the solution and specific application of grant funds as this, if needed, is outlined elsewhere within the grant proposal package. Instead, include a well written narrative which outlines the social issues which continue to impair the community without the proposed grant funding and provide for the risks associated with the community based issues such as trends and community wide socioeconomic impacts. Statistics and trends regarding the community based issue can be gathered from local, state or even federal sources; always define or origin and location of the statistics to ensure the grant reviewing committee has a clear understanding of the credibility of the statistics and trends.
Another key area of the Needs Statement, in a grant proposal package, involves the use of a pilot study. While a pilot study can be costly, depending on the dynamics of the study, some non-for-profit organization’s work to complete pilot studies in an effort to provide a basis for more concrete results which only further support a community need and the potential outcome and risks associated with the proposal at issue. In a non-for-profit organization’s grant proposal package, the Need Statement often addresses cultural and health initiatives considered social conflicts to the community.
Successful Need Statement documents are grounded in specifics. Remaining focused on the need of the community, with key specific facts, will ensure optimal outcomes when the proposal is gathered and placed into hands of the grantor. The basis for providing such detailed specifics within the Need Statement lies in the information which comes after this; The Measurable Objectives. It is during the Measurable Objectives that key timelines and objectives are outlined based on the Need Statement. In other words, the specific community based needs outlined in the Need Statement will then be outlined within a solutions program in the Measurable Objectives section, including timeframes, dollar amounts needed and specifics, again, as to how those needs and objectives can be measured for completeness and success.
For many non-for-profit organizations, finding the perfect wording is often a challenge, if not, time consuming when creating proposal packages. For this reason, hiring a professional who specializes in grant writing programs, commonly referred to as a Grant Writer, can ensure a more efficient and streamlined grant proposal process. Without a proper Needs Statement, the grant proposal package may often be overlooked as improperly written and, therefore, lead to many missed opportunities in obtaining grant monies in support of the non-for-profit organization mission and goals.