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Strenthen Your Grant Proposal with Demographic Data

The people that you serve may not notice the differences among them and their peers, but if you are writing grants on their behalf, you should make an effort to do just that. By focusing in on different demographic groups within your target population, you can better identify their needs and qualify for a greater number of grants.

There are several demographic groups that may be relevant to the types of grants for which you are applying. You may break down the entire target population by age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, marital status, family size, or education level. To determine which demographic categories are most relevant to your work, keep abreast of trends and current research from your field. Focus on articles that address the ways that certain groups are disproportionately impacted by certain risk factors. For example, if you are coordinating a healthy screening and your research reveals that children of single parents are twice as likely to skip regular physicals, focus your energy on analyzing family income categories rather than race or ethnicity.

One clear benefit of looking at subsets within your larger target population is the ability to identify existing gaps. For instance, if you are looking at college readiness programs for high school seniors and find that 85% of the entire grade has above average SAT scores, you may struggle to make a case for drastic change in your grant applications. However, if you look at the subgroups and discover that only 56% of students in poverty and 33% of English Language Learners have scores that qualify them for admission, you will better understand where you need to target your services.

In grant proposals, describe how and why you broke down the target population. This demonstrates your willingness to go the extra mile to be sure you are targeting real needs and it will gives funders a reason to believe that your program will use their money effectively to create positive change in your community. Outside research and data will further strengthen your case.

Dissecting your target population will not only help you pinpoint the needs among the people you serve and identify effective strategies to meet those needs, but will also widen the spectrum of available grants. Many Foundations specifically target certain demographic groups. When you present how your program will affect these various groups, you can then apply for grants that focus on any or all of those groups.

About Katie

the editor of Find Funding. Her writing about grants & nonprofits has been published in Charity Channel's Grants & Foundation Review and NONPROFIT WORLD.

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