If you're like me, your brain doesn’t naturally distinguish between goals and objectives. Is it your goal to eat breakfast, or is it your objective to eat breakfast? Hmm…
But for the purpose of grant proposals (and subsequent grant reports), you have to describe a nonprofit’s intentions for a project in terms of goals and objectives, and the objectives must logically lead to achievement of the goals.
Many of us have heard that goals and objectives need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound), but it can be tough to write comprehensive goals and objectives from scratch.
Voila – your very own goals and objective creator! This chart is adapted from a worksheet included in The First-Time Grantwriter’s Guide to Success by Cynthia Knowles. (I highly recommend this book -- one reviewer has said it paid for itself in less than a month, due to quick grant proposal success!)
Step 1) Fill in the blanks in this chart.
Step 2) Combine the what-who-how much-by when statements that you wrote in the chart into objectives.
Using this chart, you would get three objectives for each goal. But don’t get locked into that – two or ten objectives could be more like it, for your particular project. (Just keep in mind that you need to be able to measure the attainment of each objective as part of the proposed evaluation of the project. Your evaluation techniques should be in line with the scale of your project -- appropriate and affordable.)
Objective 1: (what + who + how much + by when)
Objective 2: (what + who + how much + by when)
Objective 3: (what + who + how much + by when)
If you used this chart to develop goals and objectives for a grant proposal to fund a project about working with immigrants to develop their capacity to be successful farmers, here’s what your chart and subsequent objectives might look like.
Completed objectives using chart:
Objective 1: By June 2013, ten project participants (immigrants who aspire to be farmers in the Philadelphia region) will each complete all four sessions of a farm business planning class.
Objective 2: By Dec. 2013, three project participants will locate and secure access to appropriate land for growing food (farm or garden plots), with the active assistance of project staff.
Objective 3: By Feb. 2014, three project participants will have collected adequate levels of resources (e.g., equipment, seeds, reference materials, knowledge, time and money) to launch their farm enterprises, with the active assistance of project staff.
Using this chart, you end up with measurable, tangible and realistic objectives! Yay!
To learn more, check out this excellent article by Joanne Fritz on how to write goals and objectives.
And if you want to add to your library of books to reference when you're working on grant proposals, the following books have really helped me to write better goals and objectives:
- Grantsmanship: Program Planning and Proposal Writing by Norton Kiritz and Barbara Floersch
- The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever Need by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox
- The First-Time Grantwriter's Guide to Success by Cynthia Knowles (also mentioned above)
There are a lot of good books on grant proposal writing out there, but these three are among the best! To borrow from the title of Karsh and Fox's book, these are the only three grantwriting books you'll ever need!
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