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Avoid the Hustle

What you and your organization plans to do to solve the problemWriting the Need Statement

Use the Strategic Planning Exercise which is on the uploaded materials , begin by defining and describing the problem for which your non-profits’s project idea is a solution. Also, determine who is affected by this problem. Who will benefit forma a solution to this problem? Take time to “problematize” the problem and being your need statement with a definition or description of the problem. You many still not have all the information you need to write a good need statement, but you should start working on a draft. Use the following outline to help you write this draft of the need statement.

Your need statement should consist of three major elements:

1. Description of the problem (1-3 paragraphs).
2. What you and your organization plans to do to solve the problem (a few sentences or 1 paragraph and might include a list of objectives or methods).
3. State of your instrumental purpose or what you want the sponsor to do after reading your proposal (one or two sentences).
The need statement should be proportional to the length of the proposal and should serve as a foreword or introduction to the problem and your project. The entire need statement could be anywhere from a paragraph to a page long.


Description of the Problem

Context of the problem
Describes the problem in just enough detail to make it important to the reader(s).

You will need to define or describe the problem so that other people can understand it, identify with it, and recognize its importance.

You will also need to be explicit about what larger societal problem or organizational problem your proposed project contributes to solving. Putting your problem in context helps the reader recognize its importance.

Remember that you proposal is a solution to this problem, so you have to tell us what the problem is, first, so we can determine how important it is and evaluate the effectiveness of your solution.

Justification and Scope

Why is this problem important to solve? And what is the scope of the problem?

Here you will want to interest your readers in the problem by convincing them that it is timely, compelling, and urgent!

You must demonstrate why it is important to solve this problem now and justify spending time, money and energy on it.
The scope lets the readers know how large a problem it is, how wide ranging it is, or how many people are affected by it.

Aspect of the Problem

If your organization chooses to work on a large, complex societal problem, you will not try to solve the entire problem, but rather a part of it---an aspect of the problem---which will help your organization achieve some of its objectives.


Your Solution to the Problem

The second part of the need statement tells the sponsors what you pan to do to solve the problem. You will want to indicate what approach, strategy, or the methodology you plan to use. You might simply list your primary goal and your objectives.

EXAMPLE

…we are proposing a program to train parents and teachers to recognize the sighs of abuse and refer abused children to treatment. This training program will involve developing training materials and training the trainers in the community to conduct workshops.

EXAMPLE

The goal of this project is to improve the emotional and physical well-being of the handicapped community in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area through the use of therapeutic horseback riding and cart driving lessons. The objective of this project is to reduce the waiting list by a minimum of 25 individuals for next year’s riding season.

The tasks necessary to complete this project and meet our objectives follow:

1. Send three current volunteers to NARHA training for certification as program instructors.
2. Schedule meetings with facility managers to negotiate additional facility use time.
3. Build next year’s riding schedule, incorporating new instructors and increasing the total number of classes.
4. Review the waiting list candidates.
5. Schedule program participants.
6. Seek additional volunteers.
7. Report on the success of the program.


As these two examples illustrate, the explanation of what these organizations were proposing to do to solve the problems they described can vary from a few short phrases or sentences to a list of goals and objectives. In the last example, this list extended even to tasks. What is important in this part of the need statement is that you make clear your solution and plan of action in a succinct manner. You will have an opportunity to go into detail on your strategies, methods and approaches in the body of your proposal.


Stating Your Instrumental Purpose

Rarely more than a sentence long.
This is a statement of what you want the sponsor to do after reading the proposal.
Be specific and explicit as possible.
Your instrumental purpose is to obtain from the sponsor a certain amount money for a certain period of time or to get equipment or other resources to be used for your project.
EXAMPLE

We already have funding to train the trainers and develop print materials. However, we are still seeking funding to develop a training video; therefore, we are requesting &6,700 from your organization to develop this video

EXAMPLE

To improve the emotional and physical wellbeing of the handicapped community o f the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area through the use of therapeutic horseback riding and cart driving lessons, We Can Ride, Inc., is requesting $8,175 to send three current volunteers to NARHA training for certification as program instructors in Summer 2000. The total cost of increasing participation in the program by 110 participants over the next four years is $30,235. We already have $22,060 in combination of pledges and in-kind services. The total annual operating budget of We Can Ride, Inc, is $220,000.



Mapping Out a Plan

Who specifically, will benefit from your idea?
How would these people or groups benefit?
If you do not have the expertise to implement your ideas, is there anyone else in your organization that could do it?
How will this idea fit into the mission, goals, and objectives of your organization? Will it enable you to fulfill part of your strategic plan?
What would you or your organization need to implement your idea:
People
Facilities
Equipment
Money
Other:
Why should your or your organization be funded to solve this problem or address this need?
What makes you think you can succeed?
How important is solving this problem or undertaking this project to your organization? Explain
What would you or your organization be willing to contribute to implement your idea/project?


You will not use ALL this information in the need statement, but these are all the things you will want to consider in framing your need. Based on your answers to these questions and a little brainstorming, you should now have enough information to write your first draft of your need statement

What you and your organization plans to do to solve the problemWriting the Need Statement

Use the Strategic Planning Exercise which is on the uploaded materials , begin by defining and describing the problem for which your non-profits’s project idea is a solution. Also, determine who is affected by this problem. Who will benefit forma a solution to this problem? Take time to “problematize” the problem and being your need statement with a definition or description of the problem. You many still not have all the information you need to write a good need statement, but you should start working on a draft. Use the following outline to help you write this draft of the need statement.

Your need statement should consist of three major elements:

1. Description of the problem (1-3 paragraphs).
2. What you and your organization plans to do to solve the problem (a few sentences or 1 paragraph and might include a list of objectives or methods).
3. State of your instrumental purpose or what you want the sponsor to do after reading your proposal (one or two sentences).
The need statement should be proportional to the length of the proposal and should serve as a foreword or introduction to the problem and your project. The entire need statement could be anywhere from a paragraph to a page long.

Description of the Problem

Context of the problem
Describes the problem in just enough detail to make it important to the reader(s).

You will need to define or describe the problem so that other people can understand it, identify with it, and recognize its importance.

You will also need to be explicit about what larger societal problem or organizational problem your proposed project contributes to solving. Putting your problem in context helps the reader recognize its importance.

Remember that you proposal is a solution to this problem, so you have to tell us what the problem is, first, so we can determine how important it is and evaluate the effectiveness of your solution.

Justification and Scope

Why is this problem important to solve? And what is the scope of the problem?

Here you will want to interest your readers in the problem by convincing them that it is timely, compelling, and urgent!

You must demonstrate why it is important to solve this problem now and justify spending time, money and energy on it.

The scope lets the readers know how large a problem it is, how wide ranging it is, or how many people are affected by it.

Aspect of the Problem

If your organization chooses to work on a large, complex societal problem, you will not try to solve the entire problem, but rather a part of it—an aspect of the problem—which will help your organization achieve some of its objectives.

Your Solution to the Problem

The second part of the need statement tells the sponsors what you pan to do to solve the problem. You will want to indicate what approach, strategy, or the methodology you plan to use. You might simply list your primary goal and your objectives.

EXAMPLE

…we are proposing a program to train parents and teachers to recognize the sighs of abuse and refer abused children to treatment. This training program will involve developing training materials and training the trainers in the community to conduct workshops.

EXAMPLE

The goal of this project is to improve the emotional and physical well-being of the handicapped community in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area through the use of therapeutic horseback riding and cart driving lessons. The objective of this project is to reduce the waiting list by a minimum of 25 individuals for next year’s riding season.

The tasks necessary to complete this project and meet our objectives follow:

1. Send three current volunteers to NARHA training for certification as program instructors.
2. Schedule meetings with facility managers to negotiate additional facility use time.
3. Build next year’s riding schedule, incorporating new instructors and increasing the total number of classes.
4. Review the waiting list candidates.
5. Schedule program participants.
6. Seek additional volunteers.
7. Report on the success of the program.

As these two examples illustrate, the explanation of what these organizations were proposing to do to solve the problems they described can vary from a few short phrases or sentences to a list of goals and objectives. In the last example, this list extended even to tasks. What is important in this part of the need statement is that you make clear your solution and plan of action in a succinct manner. You will have an opportunity to go into detail on your strategies, methods and approaches in the body of your proposal.

Stating Your Instrumental Purpose

Rarely more than a sentence long.
This is a statement of what you want the sponsor to do after reading the proposal.
Be specific and explicit as possible.
Your instrumental purpose is to obtain from the sponsor a certain amount money for a certain period of time or to get equipment or other resources to be used for your project.
EXAMPLE

We already have funding to train the trainers and develop print materials. However, we are still seeking funding to develop a training video; therefore, we are requesting &6,700 from your organization to develop this video

EXAMPLE

To improve the emotional and physical wellbeing of the handicapped community o f the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area through the use of therapeutic horseback riding and cart driving lessons, We Can Ride, Inc., is requesting $8,175 to send three current volunteers to NARHA training for certification as program instructors in Summer 2000. The total cost of increasing participation in the program by 110 participants over the next four years is $30,235. We already have $22,060 in combination of pledges and in-kind services. The total annual operating budget of We Can Ride, Inc, is $220,000.

Mapping Out a Plan

Who specifically, will benefit from your idea?
How would these people or groups benefit?
If you do not have the expertise to implement your ideas, is there anyone else in your organization that could do it?
How will this idea fit into the mission, goals, and objectives of your organization? Will it enable you to fulfill part of your strategic plan?
What would you or your organization need to implement your idea:
People
Facilities
Equipment
Money
Other:
Why should your or your organization be funded to solve this problem or address this need?
What makes you think you can succeed?
How important is solving this problem or undertaking this project to your organization? Explain
What would you or your organization be willing to contribute to implement your idea/project?

You will not use ALL this information in the need statement, but these are all the things you will want to consider in framing your need. Based on your answers to these questions and a little brainstorming, you should now have enough information to write your first draft of your need statement