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Eliminating Problems in Your Problem Statement

The Problem Statement, sometimes referred to as a need or project statement in grant writing, is an articulate explanation of the problem, explaining how the problem arose, who it affects, why it needs to be addressed and indicates the solution.
by

Jennifer Polus

on 7 November 2016

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Transcript of Eliminating Problems in Your Problem Statement

Effective problem statements will...
Hook the reader
Demonstrate a community need
Compel the funding agency to action
Match funders "stated interest"
Justify funders involvement
What do Funding Agencies look for in a Problem Statement?
Why should they be involved?
Is the problem/need valid?
Does the nonprofit have the capabilities to solve the problem or satisfy the unmet need?
Problem Statements
By: Melissa Leen and Jennifer Polus
Problem Statements are both an art & a science
Win more grants by eliminating problems in your problem statement!
The most common mistake made by novice writers....
Problem Statement Defined
The Problem Statement, sometimes referred to as a need or project statement, is an articulate explanation of the problem, explaining how the problem arose, who it affects, why it needs to be addressed and indicates the solution. As one of the most critical components, the Problem Statement is the
hub
of any grant proposal.
Simply put...
A problem statement validates the need for a solution.
References
Explaining the need or problem from a general perspective instead of defining an exact and concise issue.
(Hall, 2010)
Key Strategies
Connect the agency's mission and purpose to the problem.
Link program to the funder's agenda.
Focus on the community's need, not the agency's needs.
Use quantitative and qualitative data as
evidence
of the problem.
Define the community problem by explaining
what factors contributed
to it.
Demonstrate the agency's competency at
solving the problem
.

Writing Tips
Use credible and comparative statistics.
Clear, concise and simple language
Touching stories
Graphic data or illustrations
Leave proper time for revisions
When projects are rushed and the problem is not fully researched or documented, the end product will lack clarity and result in a flawed problem statement.
Common mistakes may occur...
(Harris, 2014)
Hall, J.L. (2010). Grant Management: Funding for public and nonprofit programs. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Harris, M. (2015, November 16). What's the problem with your problem statement? Retrieved from http://granttrainingcenter.com/blog/whats-problem-problem-statement/

Harris, M. (2014) Ten mistakes to avoid when writing a grant proposal. Retrieved from http://granttrainingcenter.com/blog/ten-mistakes-to-avoid-when-writing-a-grant-proposal/

O’Neal-McElrath, T. (2013). Winning grants step by step: The complete workbook for planning, developing, and writing successful proposals (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Resource Associates. (2015, February 18). 5 elements of a winning needs statement. Retrieved from https://grantwriters.net/blog/2015/02/18/5-elements-of-a-winning-needs-statement/
Excellent problem statements balance hard evidence with empathetic language.
The Problem Statement is the hub of any grant proposal acting as the foundation and driver to all other components.
Don't get lost in the hard evidence. Make sure the Problem Statement shows heart by including emotional and compelling composition.
This is the grant writer's opportunity to make the funder
feel
for their cause and community.

"Solve the Problem"
After the problem has been clearly defined, close the Problem Statement with a solution. A concise and simple explanation on how the agency plans to resolve the problem provides a smooth transition to the next section of the proposal and should engage the reader to want to learn more.

Describing the factors contributing to the problem lend credence to the urgency and need for a solution.
"Paint a Picture
"
Successful grant writers "know" their audience. Find out about the funding agencies values, agenda, build a rapport and write a targeted proposal with them in mind.
Remember...
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