Funding applications must contain a clear and credible statement of the need or problem to be addressed. You must establish that a problem exists and that it is not being addressed elsewhere BEFORE you present your proposed solution.
DO NOT ASSUME the funding body knows the importance and urgency of the problem. If you do, you may:
- Lose the opportunity to demonstrate your intimate knowledge and understanding of an issue
- Reduce the credibility of your organisation
- Undermine confidence in your proposed response.
This section outlines the types of information and methods you might use to demonstrate community need.
The Importance Of Identifying Need
Identifying the needs of your community and consumer groups is important to:
- Secure funding
- Ensure your organisation provides quality services
- Clarify and maintain your organisation's position and relevance
- Build opportunities for collaboration.
Regular needs assessments are an essential part of your organisation's:
- Strategic planning and review processes
- Continuous quality improvement and evaluation methods
- Sustainable funding strategies.
How To Identify A Community Need
There are many tools available to help identify community need (see the table below). While some approaches may involve traditional research methods (e.g., literature reviews), most require you to establish and build relationships with your broader community.
You will need to collect relevant information to:
- Demonstrate that a problem exists in the community
- Highlight your organisation's strategy or proposal to address the problem.
Consider what information will best demonstrate the existence and nature of the problem. Use more than one type of data and clearly link the problem with your proposed solution.
Use reliable and transparent data collection methods to support your proposal.
- How does this data demonstrate the problem or community need?
- How does this data justify or support the solution you propose?
Make the link sufficiently clear so that anyone, even those unfamiliar with your proposal, can see the relationship between the problem identified and the solution proposed.
What Should You Use In Your Funding Application?
Your funding application should include a simple explanation of:
- The community's needs
- How you established this
- What you propose to do about it
- Why your proposal is best suited to deliver positive outcomes.
Key Informant/Key Stakeholder Interviews: May be used to demonstrate that your proposal is addressing concerns held by respected community members.
|Demonstrates concern and potential support from respected community members||
||Informant interviews are relatively easy to undertake and you control the type of information that is sought||Key experts and stakeholders may be able to write a letters of support for your application||Read the UCLA Centre for Health Policy Research paper about how to conduct key informant interviews:
|Community Forums: May be used to demonstrate that there is an identified need in your local community.|
|A record of community needs and support for your organisation||Consult with your local community by holding a forum or focus groups with your organisation's targeted population group/s||
Organising a community forum takes time and commitment:
|Key community members can provide support for your proposal||For more information go to the Community Toolbox website: http://ctb.ku.edu/en|
National and State Surveys and Datasets: May be used to demonstrate the extent of the problem or issue.
National surveys report the prevalence and incidence of a problem
National datasets provide a description of the extent of a problem or an issue
National Drug Strategy Household Survey
AOD National Minimum Dataset
National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing
Draw comparisons between population data and local data to demonstrate the significance of a problem in your community
An example: 10% of the Australian population have recently used cannabis, but in XXX 50% of XXX have recently used cannabis
|When developing a survey, try to use the same/similar questions used in validated surveys||Obtain any local relevant statistics from local councils, police, schools, hospitals or other community organisations|
|Literature Reviews: May be used to demonstrate ‘how big’ the problem or issue is in your local community.|
A synthesis of the evidence on a specific research question or topic
Provides insights on what others have done to solve similar problems
Identifies factors you need to consider when designing and implementing your proposal
|Demonstrates to potential funders that you have a broad understanding of a topic and that you are aware of current practice and gaps in knowledge||If you conduct a literature review it needs to be complete and current using up-to-date secondary and primary international, national, and local data sources where possible||
Read the article:
Greenhalgh, T. (1997). How to read a paper: Papers that summarise other papers (systematic reviews and meta-analyses). BMJ, 315(7109), 672-675.
Routine Information: Can be used to demonstrate the key aspects of your service provision.
|Information your organisation routinely collects for current reporting and funding purposes||
Number of NSP clients, new service clients, gender, age, marital status
Activities held for mothers with children
|Identify and clearly state the key aspects of your service provision that are relevant to a particular funding application||Information can also be used to highlight unique aspects of your organisation (e.g., specific activities, particular location, targeted issues)||List the type of information that you currently collect for funding purposes|
|Assessments/Evaluations: Demonstrate you know what works and what doesn’t work.|
|Illustrate the success and achievements of previous initiatives||
Quality assurance assessments
|Can be used to document evidence-based practice in service delivery, intervention tools, and access and equity in community interactions||Use information that your organisation routinely collects as part of evaluations and quality improvement activities||List the type of information that you currently collect for funding purposes|
|Case Studies: May be used to demonstrate need and successful client outcomes.|
|Illustrate the challenges and successes of your clients||
||Clients' confidentiality and privacy must be maintained||Identify your organisation's procedures and protocols for writing up case-studies|
|Government Policies and Strategies: Can be used to demonstrate that your proposal aligns with the potential funders’ broader program of work.|
|Establishes the significance of an issue at a global, national, state or local level||
National Drug Strategy
National Mental Health Strategy
|Identify the components of government policies and strategies that are directly relevant to your organisation and proposal||If applying for funding through a private body, consider the strategies and policies they have on their websites and ensure your program goals align with theirs||
Identify relevant government-based policies and strategies
Identify the policy or strategy of a charitable trust from whom you would like to apply for funding
|Protocols and Guidelines: May be used to demonstrate that your proposal follows standard clinical, community practices.|
|Establishes the significance of an issue at a global, national, state or local level||
NHMRC Alcohol Consumption Guidelines
National Guidelines for Managing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
Clinical guidelines and procedures for the use of methadone in the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence
|Identify the components of government policies and strategies that are directly relevant to your organisation and to your proposal||Elsewhere in your proposal (e.g., under Risk Management) you can highlight how staff and volunteers adhere to these protocols and guidelines||Identify relevant protocols and guidelines|
- First describe the problem, not your solution.
- The identified need is not the services to be provided.
- Use evidence, not assumptions or undocumented assertions, when establishing community needs.
- Use relevant statistics to support the problem and proposed solution.
The websites and resources below will help you to conduct a community needs assessment:
Sample community needs assessments may be found on the websites below:
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