Writing a Compelling Need Statement

The success of your proposal depends on persuasively presenting the need for your project. This is done in your need statement, which must be concise, coherent, and supported by evidence. If you make a robust case, the reviewers will want to read the rest of your proposal with enthusiasm. If the argument is weak, however, your chances for being funded will be bleak. You should use the voice of the beneficiary to paint a picture for the reviewers, ensuring the research on the subject is accurate, crafting sentences that stick, shaping the path, and using a well-conceived mix of logic and emotion.

The Voice of the Beneficiary

If you want funding to build an exercise facility, your request should focus on what this facility will do for your target population. If you want to develop a cure for cardiovascular disease, speak about the outcomes for the patients and the broader impact your research will have on the population.

Accurate, Extensive, and Timely Research

You must conduct a thorough literature review before you write. Your research should be accurate, extensive, and timely. Statistics and data from the most authoritative sources in your area will demonstrate that your proposed project or research is needed. Once you know the field, you can discuss how your idea will contribute to what is already being done, and could lead to a much-needed model that has been lacking.

Sentences that Stick

Your first sentence should address the “so what” question in a memorable and impactful way. This sentence should grab the attention of your readers in the first few seconds to entice them to read more. Some examples that speak to the importance of a problem are:

  • Research has demonstrated that the chances of dying from a heart attack even before the age of 42 increase exponentially, if people do not exercise at least 3 times per week.
  • Proteins in food and the environment are responsible for allergies, which are overreactions of the immune system.
  • The argument is not about changing approaches to medicine, but saving 100,000 lives.

These sentences speak to the importance of the issue and at the same time, address the changes that will make the difference.

Shaping the Path

Your request should focus on what you need to solve the problem. How you work out a solution for the issue and effectively achieve change depends on how you shape the path. Making the switch from what exists to what you propose will address innovation, give your proposal a clear direction, and deliver an understanding of how to deal with obstacles along the way.

Mixing Logic and Emotion

A healthy balance must be reached between a clear, well-researched argument grounded in rational thinking, and a compelling story that engages the emotions of the reader. In Switch, Chip and Dan Heath effectively reason that when presenting ideas related to change, both the emotional and rational arguments need to be made. Many times the emotional side governs, leaving behind the intellectual justification. According to the Heaths, the emotional facet of your argument needs to parallel and support the intellectual facet for maximum persuasive effect on the reader.

Your need statement sets the stage for a successful proposal. Using precise, measured, and colorful strokes of the beneficiary’s voice, you can captivate the reviewer. Researching the needs of your population, and illustrating a clear and direct path to success will ensure you fulfill the donor’s need for an organized and rational approach to the problem.

Mathilda Harris

Over the past 18 years, she has written grants, conducted capital campaigns, developed strategic plans for grant procurement, and assisted individuals and institutions to write winning proposals for various donors.

3 comments on “Writing a Compelling Need Statement

  1. Good discussion . I Appreciate the information – Does anyone know where my assistant can locate a template Adult Application Boy Scouts Of America example to fill in ?

  2. Really love your insight.I have some proposals I want to start on.Are there online courses and if so,how much?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.