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Developing a Repository

Why You Do What You Do

Your Repository & Case Statements

Well-written statements of needs and case statements can be used to perfect a grant application. These documents contain essential information for any grant application narrative and describes an organization’s or project’s direct needs.

In some cases, these words are used interchangeably. However, it is important to note that a Statement of Needs can be a few sentences, a paragraph or a page long, and this is the phrase you will see in most applications.

Once grant season picks up speed, Case Statements will help you maintain a repository of current information on your organization’s programs/projects and even your funding goals for that specific fiscal year. These Statements are detailed documents used in the grant writing process so that, as a writer, you aren’t starting from a blank page each time with every application.

This document communicates vital information to potential funders about what you do, why, and who exactly is served. Many sources state these four things that must be included in a cohesive Needs Statement.

  1. Describe the most urgent need and what your project will address.
  2. Describe the solution to the urgent need.
  3. Describe how and in what ways the world (your org’s sphere of influence) will look like after your project is completed.
  4. Connect your project back to the funder’s objectives and funding priorities.

Below is an example using Pen of the Beloved:

Pen of the Beloved is an organization that provides nutritious food to families and individuals in South Dallas through its client-choice pantry to combat food insecurity.

This example embodies a concise Statement of Need that can be added to in more detail in a one-page Statement of Needs, but also serves as a quick description of the organization, who is served, and what urgent need is being met. To make this Statement more thorough, I would add specific details pertinent to my organization, such as the year established, how many clients are served each year, why food insecurity is an issue in South Dallas, and in what practical ways the issue food insecurity being solved by Pen of the Beloved that makes it unique, necessary, and fundable.


Write your Statement of Needs for your organization, highlighting all the above points. Think of this exercise as a longer and more detailed version of an elevator pitch.

What Grant Funders Want To Know: Integrating Storytelling and Statistics

The best grant application hits all the points a grant funder wants to fund. Grant funders want to give money to organizations aligning with their mission and priorities. They want to know how their monetary support will be put to use and in what ways it will make an impact that changes the lives of those served. Sometimes, it can feel like a competition between you and other nonprofits needing funding for their programs. In short, it is. You have to convey your need to a potential funder in a way that makes your application stand out among a sea of 200+ applications.

Placing your work before a grant reviewer/funder can be intimidating. However, your belief in your mission and the people you’re serving must be communicated to the funder in a way that makes them want to believe in and financially support your organization. This is why engaging in storytelling throughout the grant application is essential.

Storytelling and Statistics

Although writing grants relies heavily on statistics and highlighting a specific need that a funder’s monetary support can relieve or eradicate, your community is human, and it is imperative to communicate that humanization within your grant applications.

Lakewood University published an article on the narrative components of grant writing, stating, “Not only do the stories you tell in your proposal engage your funders and give them a reason to keep reading, but they also give them a reason to care about your non-profit and the people you’re trying to help. Your stories highlight the people in your community and why you need to receive the grant. They humanize problems that, in many cases, are global and faceless. And they show exactly how you – and your funders – can help.”

In developing your case statements and repositories, it is always a good idea to integrate stories of how your organization’s work has impacted a particular individual or family into an application. It does not have to be lengthy, but placing a name within the scope of your work gives a grant reviewer an opportunity to connect with your work beyond the numbers.