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GRANTWRITING Nailing Your Needs Statement Tara Gohr & Aly Sanchez The Grant Plant, Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "GRANTWRITING Nailing Your Needs Statement Tara Gohr & Aly Sanchez The Grant Plant, Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 GRANTWRITING Nailing Your Needs Statement Tara Gohr & Aly Sanchez The Grant Plant, Inc.

2 Introductions What are needs statements? What should be included? How do you make your best case with data? Putting it all together Questions Presentation Topics

3 Tara Gohr, President/CEO Aly Sanchez, Director of Projects Introductions

4 What are needs statements?

5 Placement of the Needs Statement Needs StatementProject DesignGoals and ObjectivesOrganization & Partner InfoEvaluation

6 Function of the Needs Statement ProblemActionSolution

7 Function of the Needs Statement ProblemActionSolution Problem or need for an external constituency

8 Function of the Needs Statement ProblemActionSolution What you propose to do to address the problem

9 Function of the Needs Statement ProblemActionSolution Action OR

10 Importance of Needs Statements In short, you answer the question: Why care? Demonstrates that there is a problem that: Is important Is significant Is urgent Builds trust Relates to your mission statement Relates to the funders priorities

11 Takeaways Establishes the problem. Describes conditions outside your agency. Leads to the helpful actions you propose. Is your first impression.

12 Needs Statement Contents

13 Contents for needs statements Major Content Types Problem description Problem recognition Problem implications Problem hurdles Problem urgency What solving problems means Human interest story

14 Contents: Problem Description Major Content Types Problem description - The 5 Ws Who? What? Where? Why? When?

15 Problem versus Symptoms Cause: Flu Problem vs. Symptoms -- Leads to Solution Fever Dehydration Worsening of other symptoms AchesCough Sore Throat Secondary bacterial infection Symptoms

16 Cause Rabbit Hole …Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well…. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

17 Contents: Recognition Major Content Types Problem recognition Who else sees it? Community stakeholders views High profile views

18 Contents: Implications Major Content Types Problem implications What are resulting problems? If not resolved? What happens to community? What happens to target audience? Cost to society?

19 Contents: Hurdles Major Content Types Problem hurdles Gap Knowledge gaps Current Work What has prevented resolution/improvement Logjams and speed bumps

20 Contents: Urgency Major Content Types Problem urgency Why now? Order Now!

21 Contents for needs statements Major Content Types Human interest story Similar client Similar circumstances Positive resolution Demonstrates your interventions

22 Takeaways Orient: Covers the Five Ws Engage: Problem urgency and importance Narrow Solution: Challenges and gaps

23 Data and Statistics

24 Data and Statistics Intro There are lies, damn lies, and statistics - Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister Role: Supporting Rely on Context Objective Basic Rules Timely Unbiased Reliable

25 Example - Aspartame Activity Popular email Three reasons it works Three reasons it fails

26 Data Searches Example Sites US Census – FreeDemographics - USDA Economic Research Service - Department of Health & Human Services -, HHS Reference Collection - New Mexico Economic Development Department – AECF Knowledge Center: AECF Kids Count Data Center: NM Economic Development Department – NM Department of Health:

27 Statistics Wrap Up Describes Compares Trends Predicts Explains Demographic Sites Federal Agencies State Agencies Foundation Websites Article/Journal Collections News Outlets Data FunctionsKey Sources

28 Putting it all Together

29 Statement Process Define Problem Describe Implications Importance Relate to your Mission and Funders Show GapsBack it Up

30 Statement Structure Zoom In or Zoom Out Spatial Chronological Funder Bridge Symptoms to Roots Topical Impact Levels ?

31 Need Statement Weaknesses Not providing information requested in the RFP Proposing something outside the scope of the RFP Using outdated or suspect information Gathering insufficient data Statistical pile-up Unfamiliar concepts or terms Long, convoluted sentences

32 Need Statement Tips Address the 5 Ws Weighty Words Get em in the heart, get em in the head The 4 Cs Thoughtful wording of statistics Use formatting skillfully Check scoring, rating criteria

33 Finally… The bottom line is that to have a fundable project, it must potentially solve the problem your organization and the grantmaker are interested in and must generate results that can be measured in some way.

34 Questions

35 The Grant Plant is dedicated to providing superior and affordable resource development services to assist nonprofit organizations in enhancing the quality of life for New Mexico residents. We offer a range of services, including data and prospect research, grant writing, editing, and reporting. E-newsletter sign –up online. Grant calendar: Contact us at: 505-839-1464 (phone) 1-800-615-8557 (fax) E-mail:

36 Bibliography Black, M., Kagan S., Melaville, A., & Ray, K. Cooperation, Coordination, and Collaboration. 2003. Carter New, C. & Quick, J.A. Grantseekers Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Finding Funding. 1998. Clarke, Cheryl A. Storytelling for Grantseekers. 2001. Miner, L.E., & Miner, J.T. Proposal Planning and Writing. 2003. Morison, K. A Guidebook for Federal Grant Reviewers. 2002. Williams, C. Grantsmanship and Proposal Writing Seminar Manual. 2003.

37 Websites Consulted Annie E. Casey Foundation: Census: CFDA: Federal:, FirstGov: Federal Register: New Mexico Register: New Mexico Funding Directory: Foundation Center: GrantSelect: Guidestar: GrantStation: State:,

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