The Problem Statement: Stating the Purpose at Hand

Grant Application Training

The Problem Statement: Stating the Purpose at Hand

The problem statement (or needs assessment) is a key element of a
proposal that makes a clear, concise, and well-supported statement of
the problem to be addressed. The best way to collect information about
the problem is to conduct and document both a formal and informal needs
assessment for a program in the target or service area. The information
provided should be both factual and directly related to the problem
addressed by the proposal. Areas to document are:

  • The purpose for developing the proposal.
  • The beneficiaries — who are they and how will they benefit.
  • The social and economic costs to be affected.
  • The nature of the problem (provide as much hard evidence as possible).
  • How the applicant organization came to realize the problem exists, and what is currently being done about the problem.
  • The remaining alternatives available when funding has been
    exhausted. Explain what will happen to the project and the impending
  • Most importantly, the specific manner through which problems might
    be solved. Review the resources needed, considering how they will be
    used and to what end.

There is a considerable body of literature on the exact assessment
techniques to be used. Any local, regional, or State government planning
office, or local university offering course work in planning and
evaluation techniques should be able to provide excellent background
references. Types of data that may be collected include: historical,
geographic, quantitative, factual, statistical, and philosophical
information, as well as studies completed by colleges, and literature
searches from public or university libraries. Local colleges or
universities which have a department or section related to the proposal
topic may help determine if there is interest in developing a student or
faculty project to conduct a needs assessment. It may be helpful to
include examples of the findings for highlighting in the proposal.

Project Objectives: Goals and Desired Outcome

Program objectives refer to specific activities in a proposal. It is
necessary to identify all objectives related to the goals to be reached,
and the methods to be employed to achieve the stated objectives.
Consider quantities or things measurable and refer to a problem
statement and the outcome of proposed activities when developing a
well-stated objective. The figures used should be verifiable. Remember,
if the proposal is funded, the stated objectives will probably be used
to evaluate program progress, so be realistic. There is literature
available to help identify and write program objectives.

Leave a Reply