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The Need Statement: Lay the Groundwork for a Compelling Case

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:3, 5, NLT)

The Need Statement: a #devotional for writers based on John 2:5 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #Grants

A Word For Writers

A need statement leads off a grant application or business proposal. It reveals a problem that a certain group of people face … and why the problem must be solved.

The rest of the grant or proposal outlines a solution to the problem.

You can see why a need statement lays the groundwork, allowing the writer to make a case for support.

Mary, Jesus’s mother, offers a concise need statement example in John 2. She was attending a wedding. Jesus and his friends were there. Mary approached Jesus and explained, “They have no more wine.” And she told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

  • The problem: the wine had run out.
  • The people affected: the bridegroom and his family, who could potentially be humiliated.
  • Why the problem needed a solution: In first century Israel, hospitality was more than good manners. It was a central cultural tenet. And during a wedding, it was the bridegroom’s responsibility to make sure guests had plenty to eat and drink. Running out of wine broke the Jewish code of hospitality.

As in any persuasive need statement, Mary’s laid the groundwork for a solution. She presented a compelling opportunity for support to Jesus.

Jesus had the ability to solve the problem. His mother’s argument was convincing. He turned water into wine.

A compelling need statement is convincing.

A Wise Word

A compelling need statement lays groundwork for support.

A Word To Pray

Loving Father,

You know our every need. Yet you encourage us to articulate those needs so you can meet them. Show me how to write an effective need statement for projects that need support.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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