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What Is a Statement of Needs?
A grant proposal is composed of several sections: statement of needs, description of the project, business goals, organization, and market analysis. The most important part is the statement of needs. It establishes the rationale of the business idea you are trying to pitch to a funder. The purpose of a needs statement is to identify the conditions, problems, or issues existing in a specific community, leading you to propose a plan (business plan) to address those needs.
Why Is It Important?
When you write a proposal to a potential investor, it is important to know the need why you are seeking investment. You can pitch in your great idea to a funding organization but in the process you stutter once they bluntly ask “So what?” Well, a statement of needs directly answers that question. Let your funders know how your business idea is relevant and timely. How it will have an impact on people’s day to day lives. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about giving the people what they want. A needs statement helps you identify the problem that needs addressing and ultimately help you and the investors understand the need for establishing the business project or program.
Tips in Writing a Compelling Statement of Needs
The statement of needs plays a huge role in grant proposals. It can either make or break it. It is the section of your business proposal that paints the picture to the funders. It will help them understand that there is an ongoing problem or need in your community and you are offering to provide a solution. To help you create a strong needs statement, here are some tips we’ve gathered.
How to Write a Convincing Statement of Needs
Starting your own business can be a challenge especially when you don’t have the funds for it. That’s why we go to funding organizations with hopes they will grant us financial assistance to start our business. Big-time investors and funding organizations get hundreds of business proposals each day. This leads us to the question: what is the probability of your grant application getting approved? Foundation Center reports that there are more than 60, 000 grantmaking foundations in the US that offer over $30 billion a year to startup businesses. A key element of having your proposal stand up from the rest is a convincing statement of needs. Below are some guidelines you can follow to make a compelling needs statement.
Step 1: Provide an Introduction
Keep it short and precise. The introduction should only contain a brief explanation of why you are offering a proposal. It can also contain a short background of your company, project, or program to give the reader some context on what to expect. It’s best to exclude unnecessary narrations as it will bore the potential funder. This is a business document so keep it formal and professional.
Step 2: Define the Problem or Need
It should answer the question: What do people want and what do they need? For example, there is a need for bookstores near your local high school. Your proposed business would help solve that problem. Narrow down and focus on a geographical area where you will set up your business. Keep in mind your target customers. Who are they and where are they from, this will make it easier for you to conceptualize to the funder who the business model is catering.
Step 3: Offer a Possible Solution
This part of the statement of needs is where you introduce your proposed business in extensive detail. Talk about your services and products. Similar to a sales pitch, you need to be convincing in selling your business idea. Be creative and make it personal. Utilize anecdotes to spark the interest of the reader. Make sure that you give an impression of your business to the potential investor.
Step 4: Back Up Your Claims With Evidence
Research is important! Consider gathering relevant statistics, studies, and other facts that will help support your claims. Make sure that all the information is up-to-date, accurate and relevant. Once you provide the evidentiary support, you can discuss how your business idea will contribute to helping solve the problem.
Step 5: Conclude
End the needs statement with a banger closing statement. Choose a sentence that sticks. It can be a famous quote from a great utilitarian philosopher, statistic, or a statement that appeals to emotions.
Step 6: Include An Appendix
Attach charts graphs, scholarly assessments, costs analysis, a summary of research, news articles, and other important and relevant documents. Make potential investors believe that you are serious about this business venture by doing prior market research.
How do you start a statement of needs in a proposal?
The most important thing to consider when writing the needs statement in a proposal is to make the reader care about your problem. Start with an attention grabber introduction. The intro is the first thing the investor looks at and it could end up being the only thing he reads. It could either make or break the entire proposal. You can start by talking about your business, your mission statement or you can open with a sales pitch—after all you are trying to sell yourself and the business to a potential investor.
Why is a needs statement important for a startup business?
The needs statement presents the facts and evidence that will serve to support your business proposal. It demonstrates to the potential investor why your company is needed in the community and why he should fund it. The needs statement lays down an existing problem and how your organization can offer a solution. It also provides research data and statistics to further back up the assertions made. With that said, carefully stating and organizing the needs statement is crucial to have your startup business funded by potential investors.
How do you identify relevant needs in your business?
A statement of needs is usually the first thing an investor reads in a business proposal. This is where you, as a startup business owner, should present a compelling case to appeal funding. When identifying the needs statement, the goal is to pinpoint what the general population wants and needs. Consider this example: you are the owner of a local internet cafe shop near a university where tens of thousands of students reside. Your shop only has less than fifty functioning computers and cannot cater to the daily traffic of students coming in and out of the shop. The statement of needs would be the lack of computers.
Do I need to include a statement of needs in my grant proposal?
Yes. It is, to a great extent, necessary for grant proposals to include a statement of needs. It provides compelling reasons why your business, project, or program should be funded. The funding organization or business investor, first and foremost, would want to know why he should grant your fund application. It is through the needs statement you can present the facts and evidence that can help persuade potential investors to grant the funds necessary to start your business operations.
Where should I write my statement of needs?
You can start drafting the statement of needs in Microsoft Word or any other writing program. Keeping an electronic copy of important documents can help you save time. It is more convenient than the manual write and file method. Not to mention it’s easier to manage and eco-friendly.
Having a great idea for a business is not enough to get approval for your grant application. Business investors like to have a thorough understanding of the business model before signing a check. Hence, writing a stellar business proposal with a compelling statement of needs is a great way to leave a good impression on them. If you don’t know how to start writing one, check our website for sample templates.