5 strategic uses of statistics in grant applications

Statistics can build credibility in your funding request while demonstrating your organization’s understanding of how to meet those needs


Articulating your agency’s need for grant funding is a difficult task. It requires a clear understanding of the target population and its needs, along with challenges your agency is facing to meet those needs.

Reliable statistics can propel your application and provide objective support to a strong narrative. Effective use of statistics can build credibility in your funding request while demonstrating your organization’s understanding of how to meet those needs.

1. Determine if there is a need

Collect agency response data including call volume, priority calls, and community data to determine the greatest need you can address for your community. For instance, a car seat safety grant application might not make sense if your community is primarily geriatric, or you may find you have a high incidence of back injuries through an audit of incident reports, and these statistics are critical for funding power stretchers and ambulance lifts.

Perhaps your agency is lacking training manikins. While you inherently know there is a need, that need must be related to a potential funder through statistics of medication errors, failure to follow protocols, and poor outcomes on high-priority patients.

2. Find and access data

Consider these references for reliable and up-to-date statistics for your next grant application:

Population demographics: The American Fact Finder and QuickFacts has Census 2010 statistics on communities, economies, and populations.

Traffic incidents: Visit NHTSA for state traffic safety information, fatality analysis reporting, and crash stats. NHTSA even offers to do customized data queries.

EMS response: The National EMS Information Systm (NEMSIS) helps to unify EMS response data. Contact them to request data.

Local data: Your state’s department of public health may have local data based on the electronic patient care reports (ePCRs) submitted by all of the EMS agencies in the state.  

3. Compare your agency to others

By comparing your agency’s statistics to state, regional, or national statistics you can demonstrate the essential need for grant funding to address a specific problem.

Recently I wrote a grant to fund safety equipment for motor vehicle collisions (MVC) for a small rural fire department in Virginia. Below are the Virginia Department of Transportation statistics I used:

  • In 2013 there were 95 occupants killed in commercial vehicle crashes or 12.8 percent of all traffic fatalities
  • 59.8 percent of all motor vehicle crashes involve more than one vehicle

4. Carefully use statistics in the narrative

The grant application narrative needs to be more than a litany of statistics. Use them carefully and appropriately to support your reason for funding. For example, the following narrative is from a grant request that was completely funded through EMSGrantsHelp.com.

“In 2013, Louisa County had 523 MVCs resulting in 12 fatalities and 284 injuries. This equipment will be used on every MVC that TVFD responds on, all of which are in Louisa County. These MVCs involve farm machinery, heavy trucks, and tractor trailers due to the major highways that we respond to including Rt. 33, Rt. 22, Rt. 15, and I64. Our current equipment only allows us to stabilize vehicles less than 2,205 lbs. Due to the rural area, major highways, and agricultural population base this equipment is obsolete for approximately 75% of MVC incidents. In 2013 there were 95 occupants killed in commercial vehicle crash or 12.8% of all traffic fatalities. A commercial vehicle by definition has a gross vehicle weight of greater than 10,000 lbs. We currently have no equipment to perform safe stabilization measures on any of these vehicles.  Additionally, we only have one piece of stabilizing equipment; therefore on all multiple vehicle collisions we are unable to stabilize multiple vehicles delaying extrication, safety, and medical care to patients. According to Virginia DOT 59.8% of all motor vehicle crashes involve more than one vehicle.”

A blend of statistics with a heartfelt narrative make for a strong proposal that leads to essential funding for your agency and community.

5. Set benchmarks for evaluation

Use statistics to set the benchmarks for the evaluation phase, which happens after funding has been attained. For instance: “If funded we expect a decrease in patient extrication time by 10-20% and an increase in safety compliancy of stabilization by 100%. Additionally, we expect to see a 5-10% decrease in traffic fatalities in Louisa County with responses by TVFD.”

These clear goals show an opportunity for measurable improvement in public safety or overall health.

How has your agency used statistics in a successful grant application?

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