Numbers talk... and at the neighborhood level they may talk even louder!
By using data about your specific neighborhood compared to the surrounding area, you can make a compelling case for funding.
Jan. 21, 2002 | If youre running a neighborhood-based organization, how can you convince a funder whos never been to your neighborhood that your services are vitally needed?
You probably already know that when youre writing a grant proposal, showing numbers that reflect the problems in our community can really be convincing. The New Orleans area tends to suffer from problems to a greater degree than most of the rest of the nation. We have higher rates of poverty, greater numbers of vacant houses, higher rates of disease, and poorer academic achievement. Using almost any indicator, you can show that the New Orleans area is worse off than the rest of the nation. These numbers really talk. But, numbers at a neighborhood level may talk even louder!
To make a really compelling argument for funding your organization, youll want to find some numbers that represent your neighborhood.
First you have to think about where exactly your neighborhood begins and ends.
For example, if you consider your neighborhood to be the Lower Ninth Ward, then let's get specific. What are the boundaries of the Lower Ninth Ward more or less? In your mind's eye, you might be picturing something like St. Claude to Florida Ave and the industrial canal to Delery or maybe the St. Bernard Parish line.
Its good to be a little flexible in your definition of the boundaries of your neighborhood, because the easiest way to pull together data about a neighborhood is to use definitions that already exist. If you use neighborhood boundary definitions that other people have used to pull together data, then theyve already done half the work for you. (More than half the work, really. If you try out the two options below, youll see how much work it is to develop new neighborhood definitions!)
Compare across geographic levels
Now you need to decide what kind of data will help prove the need for your services. Do you want age, single parent households, or vacant housing units? It's a good idea to pull together these numbers at the neighborhood level and then some larger region for comparison. Whether you choose to compare data about your neighborhood to the parish, state or national level depends on what region your funder covers and how your argument for need is developed. In the table below, we show numbers for the Central City neighborhood compared to the parish, state and national numbers.
As you can see in the table above, pulling all these numbers together creates a compelling neighborhood profile. For your neighborhood profile, it might make more sense to only compare to one other geographic level to keep things simple and relevant.
Good news for local nonprofits...
The Community Data Center has data profiles for all 73 neighborhoods in Orleans Parish. We put data from both the short and long Census forms in one place. That way it's easier for you to find what you need. Go to the Data Center home page to check it out.