How to Describe the Need in Your Nonprofit’s Grant Application

By Stan Hutton, Frances Phillips

When you begin to write your nonprofit grant proposal, the most important part is what you need the grant money for. That’s the reason you went into nonprofit, right? You need to provide help for a cause that you have identified. A grant writer begins to shape the argument behind the proposal plan in a statement of need sometimes called a problem statement.

This section brings forward the reasons behind the program for which your organization is seeking money. It does so by describing the needs of the constituents the project will serve. It should incorporate some data or statements from experts to back up the needs or problems it describes. You want your reader to clearly see why your cause is a problem that needs support.

Remember that your grant proposal should capture its reader’s attention — making him want to read on and become interested in your cause.

You shouldn’t describe your “need” as a lack of money but rather as a situation in the lives of the constituents, whether they’re spruce trees, retired adults, or former race horses. Don’t start to solve the problem in your statement of need.