The lack of something is not equivalent to the problem. You cannot tell a funder that you lack playground equipment, money for the technology to do research, a symphony orchestra, or a swimming pool; therefore, please give money to correct this lack. This is circular reasoning.
You have to lay the groundwork to match the funder's interests. Let's see how this could be done with a few examples.
Playground equipment—The real problem is that children in your community play in the streets because there is no other place to play. The income level of families in the area where the playground is to be located is extremely low. Land was donated between housing developments to serve as the playground. Local volunteers cleaned up the property. Children of poverty need a safe, supervised place to play. Now you have a problem that will match an interest of a potential funder.
Technology to do research —Technology is not the issue. Your research is the issue. Technology is just a tool. You are studying Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) to determine if oxidative stress is a potential cause of the death of motor neurons. You now have a problem that will match funders who are interested in cutting edge medical research or in motor neuron diseases or specifically in Lou Gehrig's Disease. Technology appears as a tool in the budget.
A symphony orchestra—You want to introduce young people in your community to classical music and masters such as Bach, Beethoven, Handel and others. In your rural community there is no resource for hearing such music firsthand. You want to tour schools and community centers and teach children about the classics. You need funds to get the program started. Afterward public concerts in surrounding townships and funds from schools will sustain the operation. Funders interested in music education, the arts, or providing a quality education are potential sources for funding.
A swimming pool—Your community has a high crime rate among teenagers. There is nothing for them to do in the community—no gathering place and
2 Cheryl Carter New and James Aaron Quick, Grantseeker's Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Finding Funding (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 1998).
no fruitful activity. Since you are in a tropical environment, you believe that a community swimming pool with adequate supervision and special programs to attract teenagers will help eliminate the crime problem by providing a place to go after school rather than wandering the streets in gangs. You have opened a lot of territory to match funders who are interested in youth, in crime reduction, and in health and exercise programs.
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