A grant application becomes more credible if it has relevant data and statistics incorporated into the narrative. Not only will these support the problem you have presented, it will also show that you have done the necessary research to justify the existence of the need. You might as well not have written a grant application if you don’t provide this kind of information in it.
The challenge of every grant writer is to find the numbers, figures, and data when you need them. Sometimes, this can be quite challenging, especially if you are pressed for time. In this report, we will give you the 10 tips on how and where you can find the data and statistics you need. You won’t be able to use all the resources mentioned below for one grant application so just select those that best fits your need.
Without further ado, here are our 10 tips for finding grant writing information:
1. Websites and Offices of the Department of Labor.
If you are searching for data related to employment and/or unemployment, the best source of information is the Department of Labor website or office in your state or that of the federal government. You may also give them a call or visit their office personally. You can get hold of labor market reports and publications about such topics as employment/unemployment trends and in-demand occupations.
2. Websites and Offices of Public Health and Safety.
For information and research that has to do with public health—such as those about teenage pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiac diseases, among others—you can go to the public health department of your county or your state. Whether in print or online, you may be able to get hold of reports and data about communicable/infectious diseases data and epidemiology, community health profiles, and even environmental health reports. You may also obtain other vital data on health and reportable diseases as well as child fatality reviews and other health and safety surveys.
3. Websites and Offices of the Department of Education in your State.
The Department of Education website and office in your state is the best place to go for information. From yearly progress reports to enrollment figures to educational qualifications of faculty and staff and standardized testing results per grade level on various subjects—all these can be obtained from the websites and offices of your state Department of Education. These demographic reports are usually necessary for applications related to grants you are asking in behalf of a school or district.
4. The United States Census Bureau.
For statistics, research, and other data related to the population, housing, and income, the United States Census Bureau (www.census.gov) provides the most comprehensive information. Aside from giving you such data as the population by race and age for state, county, and city-level, the U.S. Census Bureau also allows you to search for the number of graduates in the high school and college level, the number of people with disabilities, homeownership rates, housing median value, per capita income, poverty rates, and even travel time to work. The website also gives other useful facts about business and geography. One way to see how your target population compares with other populations in similar cities or counties, write down the figures you are able to extract in tabular form so that it’s easy for you to see where your population stands in terms of various areas.
5. Community Needs Assessment.
Nowadays, funders usually want proof that there is indeed a need for the problem you present to them. This kind of proof can be seen in a community needs assessment survey, which unfortunately, can be difficult to find, especially if your target area is remote and not often studied. The survey looks at such areas as education, health, income, housing status, and drug and/or alcohol use. Be sure to use the most recent assessments in your narrative. Possible sources of these surveys include the United Way, your city council, and other bigger nonprofit organizations like the YMCA/YWCA.
6. Environmental Scan Reports
An environmental scan report is a document that is done by county boards of commissioners, mayors’ offices, and other social service agencies that provides a comprehensive picture of the issues faced by a particular community. You can search for the environmental scan for your particular community online. This report may also be available from the United Way or from a university located within your city or county.
7. Department of Justice, State Police, and the Department of Public Service from your State.
If your grant application has anything to do with crime or safety, you will most likely need crime statistics to back up your narrative. You can obtain the latest from your state’s Department of Justice, the State Police Department, or the Department of Public Service website or office. The number of murders, homicides, rape cases, DUIs, attempted killings, gang-related violence statistics, and the like can be obtained from these offices.
8. Internal Reports of your Target Population.
Your organization’s own data about the various projects you have already done for your target population can serve as a vast storehouse of information for your narrative. This kind of report is needed if you want to show the history of your organization, particularly statistics on how many people (usually broken down by gender) and families you have helped in your programs, their ages, incomes, and levels of education. Previous grant applications are a rich source of information. Work with the individual or office in your organization in charge of collating this kind of data. You may also talk with previous program directors to obtain the statistics you need. As you can see, your organization’s internal reports are crucial in future grant applications. Thus, you should make it a point to keep a well-organized mini-library of all your own surveys and reports for reference.
9. Dissertations and Studies.
Dissertations and studies done on your target population from previous years can be a treasure trove of information especially if you’re trying to compare issues or problems. It need not even be done on your target population but on another population with similar characteristics as your project seeks to address. These studies, done usually by graduate students as a requirement for their master’s or doctorate degrees, are available in the library or even online.
10. Evaluation Reports.
Just like your organization’s internal reports, the evaluation reports of previous projects done by your organization or even from a third-party evaluator can also be a rich source of information for your narrative. Here you can find statistics and more importantly, outcomes, of projects that were implemented in the past. If you can’t find the reports from your organization’s files, try asking previous program directors or anyone working in the organization who was involved with the project at that time.
Using Grant Writing Information: A Few Final Reminders
Whether you obtain the information you need for your narrative from one or all of these sources, it is important to be responsible when using them. Always see to it that you acknowledge the source of your data, statistics, tables, and other research. Failure to do so can result in points being deducted from your application—and that can mean failure to get funding as well.
You should also be selective on the kind of data you use. As much as possible use those that are no more than five years old. Be sure to pick only the data relevant to the project you are currently asking funding for.
If you can’t find the statistics you need from these sources, try newspapers and other publications. Usually, they have relevant research (complete with resources and references) for the data they cite on their reports. So if the deadline is looming, print or online publications are your next best bet. Just make sure you get statistics only from reliable sources and not from tabloids or other material known for their unverified content. Remember, the reviewers want hard data and facts, not gossip and hearsay.
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