How to Write an Effective Needs Statements for Grant Proposals

All nonprofits are created to serve the needs of a target audience.

Funding organizations want to know what these needs are in grant applications. The money a funding source will allocate for projects and services will be determined by how effectively nonprofits can convey these needs in the grant proposal process and how they will use the requested funds to meet the need. 

All grant applications must always include a needs statement. The purpose of a needs statement in a grant proposal is to present both facts and stories to support the needs for a project or program. How well the applicant addresses those needs will determine the success of the proposal.

Prior to writing a needs statement, the grant writer should understand what the problem is and its nature, reasons and causes. The needs statement should define why this problem is both important to the applicant and of interest to the funding source. Compelling needs make for compelling projects worthy of funding. 

According to Libby Hikind, CEO and founder of, "A grant writer works with the organization to determine the needs of the target audience and research the current data to support the need within the application. The need may be supported through newspaper articles, data sources, surveys, maps, literature, published research and or interviews."

An effective needs statement must grab the attention of the funding source and communicate the urgency of the problem in terms of human interest anchored by hard facts. To do so, a needs statement should

  1. clearly relate to the mission and purpose of the applicant;
  2. describe the problem and the people who would be served;
  3. and be supported by evidence including statistics, expert views, and current events.

Libby Hikind explained, "The grant writer should review their draft needs statement with the organization's Board.  While the grant writer may be happy painting the dimmest picture of the target community to increase the chances of being awarded the grant, the Board may not want the application to be as severe.  There is a fine line between stating the urgency and defining a population in the grimmest of terms.  Be careful what you write and how you write it!"

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In High-Demand: GrantWriterTeam Connects Proven Grant Writers to Job Opportunities

The city’s first splash pad isn’t scheduled for completion until June, but Candy Jones can’t wait to see the kids’ faces when the water playground becomes operational.

Jones has been the city of Conway’s grant administrator for less than a year, yet, she’s already knocking projects out of the park including the proposal she wrote that won a $165,000 matching grant from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to build the splash pad in Laurel Park. Writing with a purpose has been gratifying for Jones, who has helped the city acquire almost $900,000 for projects that will help to improve the quality of life for the community. Proven grant writers, like Jones, are in demand.

Bonnie Houk, the director of grants management for the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center at Greenbush, says her history background prepared her with the essential research skills she needs to perform her job. As a grant writer, Houk said she tells the story and history of the organization she is writing for to the funding source. Her work has obtained more than $70 million in grant funding for school districts, municipalities and organizations.

Grant writers come from all backgrounds. Nicole Ambrosio told a skeptical audience at the Westerlo board meeting that she had been working in education before she was hired on as the town’s first grant writer.

Although success is never guaranteed, grant writers have a better chance of writing a good proposal if they’re passionate about the causes for which they seek funds.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of, says she built GrantWriterTeam in response to the steady stream of requests from grant seekers who are looking for grant writers to help secure funds for their projects from public and private foundations, government sources and corporations.  Not all government agencies or nonprofits have the time, experience, staff or skills needed to prepare a winning proposal. Our clients include nonprofits, charitable organizations, museums, schools and small businesses.

Grant writers at GrantWriterTeam are sometimes required to do any of the following: assist in creating a nonprofit, nonprofit grant research, draft and submit proposals, write curriculum and or create a crowdfunding fundraiser.  Hikind said,, is a service of GrantWatch.

Joining the GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, sign your contract with us, pay your membership fee and enter your PayPal email (to receive payments),  When all is complete, you will be able to bid on as many jobs as you want as long as your membership is current. Whenever a grant seeker chooses you, be it while you are a paid member or a few months down the road, the job is still yours.  Membership is only required to bid, and your contract, however remains in effect.

Like all self-employed occupations, finding enough work can be challenging and it disrupts the writing process. Hikind said GrantWriterTeam consolidates the imposing search-for-work process and the need to market yourself.




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