What to include in your statement of need?
A well-made statement of need template should immediately grab the interest of the funder through quantitative data in the form of facts and qualitative data in the form of stories. The need you plan to address in any statement of financial need example should relate to the purpose and mission of your nonprofit organization clearly.
When creating your business need statement, you should also support it with concrete evidence like trends, statistics, and expert views. The information in your document must directly support and connect to the ability of your organization to respond to the need. You must also make it in such a way that it’s easy to understand.
When composing the document, try to avoid using circular reasoning. This is a common mistake people make when creating such a document. This type of reasoning claims that the absence of the solution you have is, in fact, the real issue. Then the solution you have is the way to solve this issue.
Make use of supporting and comparative statistics in your statement of financial need example along with other relevant researched information. You may even cite an example of a community which benefitted from something similar to the need in your statement. This provides you with a strong case for your proposal.
While researching, you must document all of the data you collect. Make sure that all of the information you research comes from reliable and reputable sources. Also, make sure to take the most current information to support your claims. The cite all of your resources no matter where you’ve taken them.
Finally, you should also make sure that the needs which you address on your document align with the goals of the funder. Think about the main issue you need to address and don’t allow yourself to get distracted by the smaller issues.
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Basic features of a statement of need
Anyone who wants to become a successful grant writer must first understand the problem they’re trying to solve clearly. This and the supporting information make a statement of need template crucial to the whole process. The statement of need drives the whole proposal.
In the document, you define the problem, describe its implications, and identify the needs in your community. As you start the process of grant writing, the best place to start is with the business need statement. Here, you would have to do a lot of research, especially if you want the document to serve its purpose.
If your statement of need template is poorly-written, this places your whole proposal at risk mainly because it leaves the funders and reviewers with too many questions. Therefore, you must learn how to compose this document properly. To guide you, here are the basic features of a statement of need you must include in your document:
- The main issue
All communities have their own issues and concerns which need addressing. If you have a plan or project that’s tied to more than a single issue, that’s okay. But it’s important for you to create your business need statement which focuses on one main issue. This makes it more effective.
Also, make sure to link your project to the objectives of the funder you plan to ask for funding from. The funder must find your main issue compelling which is why you should align your statement of need template with those objectives. If it doesn’t, you may want to think of approaching a different funder for your financial needs.
- Comparative statistics and data
The document you create must logically resonate in the mind of the funder. To do this, use relevant, recent, and local data you’ve gathered from research. This provides the funder with an overview of your community’s current situation. Statistics and data can provide strong support to the need for the solution you’re offering.
But using such data, you’re giving the funder a better idea and understanding of the true impact they can make through their investment. This is especially true when you use the most recent data and statistics you can find. The more specific your research is, the more effective your document will be.
- Connection with the Heart
All of the concrete logic and reliable data you include in your statement of financial need example are essential. But keep in mind that the funders you plan to approach are human beings too and they have real emotions. Therefore, you must also provide a connection to their heart for them to understand the whole situation.
You must explain how the issue impacts the lives of the people in the community. To do this, you may want to share a real story or two from interviews, surveys, and real-life interactions with the people in your community. Keep the balance between quantitative and qualitative information in your statement.
- Emphasize the hurdles
Finally, you must also include clear identification of the challenges or hurdles associated with addressing the main issue. As you compose your statement of need, leave some room where you provide a description for the gap which exists between your community’s current state and the possible state it can be in after implementing your solutions.
You may also present some of these hurdles you faced in the past and which have prevented the issue from getting resolved. Include this information so that the funder understands that there exists a sense of urgency related to the gap you’ve identified. You must provide details on the consequences of not solving the issue right away.
This is very important because if the funder doesn’t see the urgency in the need you’ve raised, the funder might start looking for other projects which require immediate funding. Therefore, you must show how important your project is by including this information.
Tips for writing a great statement of need
As aforementioned, the most important part of the grant writing process is the statement of need template. In this document, you can clarify the impact and urgency of your project. The description you create of the need drives the whole proposal, therefore, you must think of this carefully.
Here are some tips for you to compose a great business need statement:
- Tell a story
Rather than just sharing simple stories, include a personal touch to your stories to make them better. Doing this changes the issue from an abstract idea to a story which involves real people. Although the charts, facts, and other data support your statement, personal testimonials which have been well-written will have a more significant impact on funders.
After providing a clear description of the need, include a simple statement which makes it more personal. Then start addressing your planned solution. Finish off the section with a statement which demonstrates the need for your solution. Keep in mind that people always want to give to others.
If you want to provide an effective personalized narrative, take some time to consider the story you want to tell. Sit down and think of questions before you start writing the document. You don’t have to worry about the clarity or level of professionalism of your answers, write the answers down anyway to help you in your writing.
- Balance pragmatism with passion
As you build your case, you might feel tempted to create an image of dire despair to highlight the relevance of your cause. However, this isn’t a good idea. Although you want to make the contents more personal in nature, try to avoid creating appeals which are too exaggerated or emotive.
A lot of organizations believe that they must frame their work in terms of superlatives and crisis. Although some work does fit this category, if your own project doesn’t, it negated the need you’ve identified. Demonstrate the urgency without making your document sound too dramatic.
- Make sure it counts
If the need you plan to address isn’t linked to the interests of your funder, there’s very little chance that you’ll secure the grant you want. A company or foundation whose main interest doesn’t align with your project won’t show interest in it. No matter how eloquent you create your document, it won’t matter.
Therefore, you must do your research from the beginning. Even before writing the statement of need, you must have an idea of the funder to approach. Research on that funder and find out all that you can. That way, the document you create will surely make an impact.
- Proofread and edit your document as needed
Finally, you must also invest in the process of editing. Just because you’ve put a lot of thought into the statement you’ve created, it doesn’t make it a perfect one. Before you print, send or submit the document, make sure to proofread and edit it as needed first.
As much as possible, try to avoid using “lawyerese,” technical language, and jargon. Remember that this is the first document in the grant writing process. Therefore, you must make it as clear and understandable as possible. By proofreading and editing your document, you’re also making sure that it doesn’t contain any grammatical or spelling errors.
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