Leadership and The Workplace

Nonprofit Spark

Renee McGivern

Nonprofit Spark – Writing an effective statement of need for a grant proposal – 09/17/12

Are you ready to write a grant proposal? Not without a statement of need that compels the grant maker to pay attention to why your organization matters in the community you serve! Here’s an example of a part of a simple but attention-getting statement of need about a new nonprofit serving youth after school.

The youth at the schools we serve come from predominantly disadvantaged households with 75-95% qualifying for free or reduced lunch. The majority of students in these schools, and in our programs, are African American or Latino. Additionally, at least 85% of the students in our programs live in a single parent household and 65% return to an empty home at the end of the day. Nationally, on school days, 3-6pm are the peak hours for teens to commit crimes, be victims of crime, and smoke, drink and use drugs. This statistic rings true for New York City as well – the highest rates of arrests of juveniles committing violent crime (20%) and youth victimized by crime (25%) occur during this time period. It is absolutely vital to have safe, productive and educational after school programs for middle and high school students in New York City; this is what we provide.

My guest this week is a grant writer who works with nonprofits throughout the US and a big part of his job is helping them articulate this statement of need. He says it is the most important component of the grant proposal. Aaron Rome has been a grant writer and even a grant maker for 17 years. His fundraising experience started in his mid-20s when he founded a nonprofit aimed at improving education at urban high schools. On this show, he talks about what you need to write a compelling statement of need and also, what to look for when hiring a grant writer for your organization. And no, you do not pay a grant writer a percentage of a grant you receive. You pay him by the hour or project as you would any other fundraising consultant.