Finding and Using Data

The data that you use to support your grant project is very important to the success of your proposal. You  must be able to verify that the data comes from a reputable source and that it is current.

The data provided by the US Census is very important and widely accepted as a valid source of community, state and national statistics.  The majority of the data is updated every 10 years so it is important that Census data is not the only source used when developing the needs statement. There are other resources that can be used to update the census statistics.

This section will help you find data and give some tips on how to use it and how to document the source in your application.

Step 1: The first step is to decide what data you need for your project.

Step 2: Locate relevant data for your area and then compare it  regionally,  in your state and nationally.  For example, a stat for unemployment might be 11% in your community, 10% regionally, 9% statewide and 7% nationally. This helps you build the case for having a high rate of unemployment as compared to your state and national numbers.  This is just a simple example. More complicated issues may require much more in-depth research about the target population in order to build the needs picture. 

Compare the local and regional statistics to the state and national statistics to paint a picture for the funder.  If you state that a training program is needed  for unemployed workers and the area has 2% unemployment while the national average is 15% unemployment, the need is not valid.  Know what needs to be proved. A good place to start is with  local demographics that can be located on the US Census website at :

Know what you need to support with data.
Step 3: Decide how  to present the data. Do you want to include it in the narrative or in a table? Which is best? A table can break up the information and focus the reader’s attention on the information. Be careful, and review the grantor’s guidelines regarding formatting rules for tables, charts and graphs. Some funders allow the use of a smaller font  and single spacing and others require the same formatting guidelines for the entire application.

Grantors will disqualify, an otherwise excellent application, for failure of the writer to meet the formatting requirements.

Below are some reputable data sources:

Data Resources:

1. – Census Bureau
2. – National Center for Public Policy & Education
3.  What Works Clearinghouse
4.    Southern Regional Education Board

5. – US Department of Labor Statistics

6.– US Department of Education

7.– US Department of Health and Human Services

8.– Great STEM statistics from the National Science Foundation

9.– Lets you search for stats by federal agency or state. 

10.– The National Center for Health Statistics hosted by the Center for Disease Control.

Arkansas Specific Data Sources


     AR Dept of Health

2. – Arkansas Community Health Stats

The web resources listed are just a few of the thousands that provide good information for grant writers.  Just make sure that the source is reputable. Many public and university libraries subscribe to online databases that are filled with journals. This is a great place to get valid research data. Most library staff are more than willing to help you find what you need.  Please feel free to add other links to this page that you feel will help your fellow grant writers.


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