Proving need

All funders like to know that their support is needed, not only by your group but by the wider community.

With increasing pressure on funders resources, proving the need has become one of the most important features of fundraising today.

There are many ways to prove a need – all require a bit of research by you.  There are two basic types of research:

Primary research – doing it yourself

Doing your own research may seem daunting, but it is really just about asking people questions.  If you have ever filled in questionnaires you have already taken part in someone else’s primary research. Primary research can include:

  • asking people questions for example in focus groups or handing out questionnaires at events
  • looking at what services are available or how people behave (observation)
  • recording referrals to your service and requests for help
  • community audits or feasibility studies (for large projects)

To be effective, your research needs to be appropriate to the people you are working with and the questions that you want to answer. 

To avoid things getting too expensive or time-consuming, primary research needs to be planned and where possible built into your ongoing activities.

Secondary research – using other people’s!

You don’t have to do all the research yourself – there is a lot of research already done, and the internet has made finding it  much easier.  You can show that your activity is needed by using:

  • research and reports by Government, universities, charities and think-tanks
  • statistics or reports from your local authority and local NHS
  • government statistics
  • funders’ own research
  • project evaluation reports

Using sources that are credible and reliable is important.

Always find the original source – that means using the actual government report rather than a summary in a newspaper. 

Keep a copy of any research you use, along with the author, the publisher - and the publication date – some funders will only accept it if you include this information too.


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