Grant Writing: Make a Strong Case in Your Statement of Need
When you're applying for a grant, you know what your organization or agency needs and how quickly or desperately you need it. How can you convey the urgency of that need to the funder? By integrating the appropriate statistics and other facts into your statement of need. Make sure your data is no more than 5 years old — unless of course you're doing decade-to-decade U.S. Census demographic comparisons (for example, comparing 2000 to 2010).
The following resources can provide you with reliable demographic data on your targeted communities and populations:
American Fact Finder (type your location into the search box)
State departments of agriculture for county and community-level data (type "department of agriculture" or "dept of ag" plus your state's name or abbreviation into a search engine)
State departments of education for accountability reports (type "department of education" or "dept of ed" plus your state's name or abbreviation into a search engine)
State departments of justice and/or state police or public services for most recent crime statistics (type your state's name or abbreviation plus "department of justice" or "department of public service" or your state name plus "state police")
State and County Quickfacts (select a state from the dropdown menu or click on the map)
If your project is in the area of serving the homeless or affordable housing, consider requesting a copy of your city's or county's community housing assistance plan or ten-year plan to end chronic homelessness. Both of these documents will be chock-full of recent citable statistics on your community. Typically, cities are required to have these plans if they receive grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
When you write about your community in the statement of need, start with the facts and then provide snippets of interest to potential funders. These snippets can be something as simple as the feedback from a community needs assessment or departmental survey from your colleagues or staff indicating a need for updated technology.
Funders want to see the "real" grant applicant and establish a virtual connection to your need, location, and the story (facts with gloom, doom, drama, and trauma entwined) that you share with them.