6 things you NEED to know about need

6 ways to demonstrate the need for your project

If you are looking to apply to the Big Lottery Fund (or any funder really) it is important to show why the work, service or equipment you are applying for is needed. Whether you are looking for hundreds of thousands or less than £10,000, we have a few different tips to help you demonstrate the need for your project:

Provide statistics – local or national

This could be anything from showing a Scotland-wide increase in financial issues to demonstrate the need for a national debt advice project, to showing how low levels of physical activity in your area support a new cycling club. Just make sure to keep the level relevant for your project. National statistics may be less relevant for a small local-scale project, and vice versa.

Show how your project will fill a gap

If you are applying to run a project (particularly if it’s something new), it’s important to show that the need you have identified isn’t already being met by someone else. If you are applying to set up a new playpark, we want to know that there isn’t already a perfectly suitable one across the road! Likewise, if you are running a large scale counselling service, we like you to show us that you aren’t duplicating a service that already exists.

Show that demand outstrips supply

It’s also important to show that people will actually want to get involved in your project once it is up and running.  A waiting list of potential users for your project is good evidence of the need to expand your work. This is also another way of showing how you will fill a gap. For example, if other organisations providing similar services to yours have far more demand than they can manage, then this is also evidence of the need for your work.

Tell us about any additional need highlighted by learning from your previous work

If you have run the project before, or have just worked in this area for a while, you have probably learned more about what need exists than if you were just starting out. For example, perhaps piloting your project on a smaller scale highlighted some additional needs that your users were experiencing. For smaller projects (e.g. £10,000 or less), this could just be your experience, but for projects looking for larger grants it is worth formalising any past learning into some kind of report.

Consult with your users

Speaking to your users or local community about what they need is a great way to show why your project as a whole is needed. It can also help you shape the project before you apply, so that you best meet their needs. This can be anything from a small informal survey to a large scale community consultation. It’s also a good way to show demand, gain learning, and even generate your own statistics to back up your application.

Reference existing policies and research

Particularly with larger projects, it is also useful to show us how your project will address need identified in the likes of government policy or national research, and how it will fit in with approaches suggested by such policy. However, this approach can also be used at more local levels too. For example, a local community plan for your area highlighting the need for more physical activity in your area could be referenced to show the need for a community fun run event.

For more information on identifying and evidencing need, check this page on our website:

If you have any questions for the BIG Advice team in Scotland, get in touch by email at enquiries.scotland@biglotteryfund.org.uk

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  1. […] While we certainly consider levels of deprivation when targeting our funding, it is definitely not the only thing we care about. We want to fund projects helping people most in need. Therefore, we are interested in funding any projects where you can show strong evidence of why they are needed! For tips on how to show your project is needed, check this blog. […]

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