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Identifying need

The starting point for any project
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Need is the term we use to describe a problem, issue, or situation where something needs to change to make things better for a person, a group of people, an environment or an organisation.

It is important to identify need because:

  • having a clear vision of what your project will tackle is fundamental to designing your project's approach
  • being clear about the need helps you decide how best to address it or how to complement other projects
  • it keeps everyone involved in the project focused on the priorities
  • it helps you revise and adapt your project if necessary
  • funders want to know that you have good reasons for your project.

If you have a good idea why you want funding, you will be aware of problems or unmet needs as a result of your own experience, through research or through being involved with an organisation or a group. When you plan a project, it is an easy mistake to make to start by describing who you want to work with and what you want to do without first being clear about the need you are addressing. But careful analysis of the need is an important first step in project planning.

Need - key points checklist

  • What is the problem or issue you want to address with your project?
  • What evidence is there that this need exists?
  • What are the reasons for the need?
  • Have you carried out any research?
  • Why have you prioritised this need?
  • Why is your project an appropriate response to the need?
  • Have you consulted with the people your project will benefit and other relevant stakeholders?
  • Do you know about relevant local strategies or initiatives, or other projects working in this field and how your project will fit in?
       Cause     Problem    Evidence     Need    

Read more about ways of defining need and how to evidence need, get help defining need.