Emphasizing Your Needs in a Grant Proposal

A simple truth: your grant application must be a persuasive proposal for support, backed by a well-documented need. Just because you are a provider serving a population of interest to the funding source doesn’t mean merely mentioning this in a grant application will scream out… “I’m the one, fund me.” 

‘Need’ begins with an unaddressed, important issue or problem your primary customers face, which you feel is important to act. If other people’s money is needed to accomplish your goal, its impact must also represent a proven solution currently beyond your organization’s capacity. 

An approved grant request addresses a problem that merits someone else paying for a pilot, start-up, enhancement, or expansion. Why? Because you provide evidence of the urgency and importance of your proposal. Understanding this is illustrated first by a familiar task management tool, The Eisenhower Matrix, which Stephen Covey developed in later years. (The Eisenhower Matrix) 

When entering the highly competitive grant-seeking market, a documented urgent and important ‘need’ facing your target population, is a primary criterion to get through the door of a funding source. 

When crafting a statement of the problem, it should reflect your target community’s diversity and special characteristics. But first, current and trending data supporting the need you seek to address should come from evidence-based experiences and official and credible sources. With this, you craft a compelling picture for the reader about your grant request. Key indicators and negatively trending data describe clear needs. For example, serious deficiencies in health, poverty, education, culture, employment, availability of expert personnel, physical plant, equipment for improvement, or housing for your target population. Most important, you must align your target population and area risk factors, with the priorities of each potential funding source. 

The Bottom Line: Have a plan for what your organization’s future may hold. Develop next steps based on research and best practices that address your customer needs. Define your problem or need specifically about who it affects and offer evidence of why it’s important and urgent to act now. A persuasive need statement illustrates that you clearly understand the problem and the target population. It’s even better when funders view you as a ‘best athlete’ provider, and your proposal represents evidence-supported services and interventions. When you show a funding source all this, you are not only through the door, but also speaking their language. 

Empower Business Strategies offers a wide range of grant readiness, preparation, and management services.

This includes grant writing, strategy, and implementation management, plus expert coaching and review of draft proposals before submission. We help you and your organization be more successful.  

Contact us today


Bruce A. Brodsky
Empower Business Strategies, 
Grant Consultant | Learning Group Presenter | Proposal Reviewer