HCD Project: Deliver – A Statement of Needs – Assignment #4

You have already…

  • Honed your design challenge;
  • Identified your most crucial, practical, knowledge needs and some ways to get answers; and
  • Tested / found out some real information about your challenge.

We will not be able to implement these projects in real life, but the last HCD step is one your would take toward Delivery. You will create a Statement of Need – a segment about your project that you would include into any project plan, project pitch, or grant application.

What Is It?

[Sources: https://livewell.marshall.edu/      https://www.washcoll.edu]

  • Also known as problem statement, need statement, or needs assessment
  • Statement of need establishes the focus and rationale for the grant proposal or project
  • The statement of need is a concise and coherent statement, supported by evidence, on why the project needs to be undertaken. “The statement of need drives everything else that is in your project proposal.”


What Should It Entail?

  1. Problem description: what is the problem? Be sure to answer the questions: Who? What? Where? When? and Why? Use the needs statement to illustrate your understanding of the problem; don’t just describe the symptoms.
  2. Problem recognition: why is it a problem? Who else sees it as a problem? What are the community stakeholder views?
  3. Problem implications: what will happen to the population served and the community if the problem is not resolved? Is there a cost to society?
  4. Problem hurdles: Clearly identify the challenges to addressing the problem. Describe the gap between what exists now and what ought to be? What has prevented resolution of the problem?
  5. Problem urgency: why does it need to be addressed now? What is currently being done about the problem? What solving the problem means: why should outside funding be used now to solve the problem or reduce the gap? Be clear about what can be accomplished, concretely, based on your proposal. Is the proposed action plan achievable and its success measurable?
  6. Human interest: provide a real example of how the problem is affecting someone’s life and how the proposed program will impact his/her life. Make it real.



  • Use concrete evidence to convince the reader.
  • Watch for circular reasoning. “There are too few shelters. We need to build more shelters.”
  • Don’t confuse your ideas with your target population’s needs.
  • Be concise and localize your need.
  • Be Clear, Concise, Cogent and Compelling.
  • Write both for the intellect and the emotions—contains both hard data and a human element.
  • The information should flow logically to build a case…


An Example

This is an expert and peer-reviewed   Statement of Need that I wrote at a Project Plan Bootcamp of the Foundation Center:

The Kota Project of the Finland Center Foundation:

“A World Center for Women in NYC”

Statement of Need

Gender policies, in particular in a global scale, are often complex and require collaboration of different stakeholders and expertise. That is why networking and capacity-building are especially crucial to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The New York City is the center for global policy making, and is especially central to not-for-profits working on gender issues: The city hosts the Headquarter of the UN Women, the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is also the site for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that reviews and researches gender equality. The active participation of non-governmental organizations is a critical element in the work of the CSW.

However, NYC is an extremely challenging location for many small and medium-sized, or growing women’s and gender-oriented NGOs, often due to the lack of concrete, practical support: affordable working spaces, housing for allies from abroad, and core support services such as office assistance, legal counseling, marketing and communications consultations, and so on.

As a result, many small and medium-sized organizations have very limited possibilities to strengthen their advocacy skills by capacity-building and by connecting with other NGOs. This in turn, results in these organizations missing important opportunities of participating in the UN decision-making, and of connecting with relevant funders.

The need for these organizations to have support, and get their voices heard, is becoming urgent, given that Intergovernmental and UN-led processes are currently underway to design a post-2015 development agenda and the so-called Sustainable Development Goals – as gender will be a significant theme in them. The years 2015 and 2016 will be especially crucial for NGOs working on gender, in terms of having presence in NYC to contribute to and to learn strategies for these new goals.

Our feasibility study, a survey of small – and medium-sized NYC-based women’s NGOs, confirms that biggest challenges are the lack of office and events space, as well as affordable lodging for allies and colleagues visiting NYC. The theme interviews, conducted with selected experts, further highlight that

“a joint space would promote networking and synergy between organizations while also filling a demand for accessible conference and meeting facilities in the vicinity of the United Nations”.

Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women.

The Kota World Center for Women in NYC will provide underserved organizations a physical space as well as virtual tools, and other services required by non profits working on women’s empowerment. A project of the Finland Center Foundation (FCF), it builds on and expands the Foundation’s work on, and support of, gender equality and women’s issues.


Due 5/1 by class time

  • 1 page – not longer.
  • Email to aslamam@stjohns.edu

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