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Grant Seeking: Needs Statement

Grant Proposal Development for Libraries

The information in this tab is summarized with permission from a four week online course, Grant Proposal Development for Libraries, taught by Grace Agnew, Special Advisor for Strategic Initiatives, Associate University Librarian, Rutgers University Libraries, June 4-29, 2018.

Create a needs statement.

Data in the form of raw numbers, percentages, and ratios give strength to a needs statement.

Specifically, data can be used to answer critical needs statement questions such as:

  • Who is in need?
  • Where are they?
  • When is the need evident?
  • What is the need?
  • Why does this need occur?
  • What are the consequences of meeting the need?
  • How is the need linked to your organization?

Advice from a grant reviewer

Dr. Grace Agnew has reviewed grants for the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. She has also served as a site visitor and consultant to the National Science Foundation since the late 1990s.

Dr. Agnew offers these specific suggestions for a needs statement. They are the omissions that raise big red flags for her in a proposal. 

  • Statistics should preferably be within the most recent two years, and never older than five, unless you are demonstrating a longitudinal need.
  • Always cite the sources of your statistics.
  • Do not make assertions unsupported by cited statistics.