Welcome to the third part in the series:
Five basic parts of writing a winning grant: “Goals, Objectives, and Outcomes.”
In this article we are going to see where the magic happens. Once you know your problem statement (read the last article or listen to the previous podcast), you can figure out clear objectives, goals, and outcomes. This is the backbone of your project. A grant is like a big jigsaw puzzle, and this section is really the backdrop and what guides you to be able to find and connect each piece of the puzzle. It’s the part of the puzzle that is the backdrop fence or the house with the clean line you use to connect the pieces. If you have your objective, you will be able to formulate a budget, implement activities, and solve your problem (and build your house). In this segment, you will learn how to write clear goals, S.M.A.R.T. objectives, and measurable outcomes. Additionally, you will also learn how to implement your goal, objectives, and outcomes through the process of an action plan timeline.
Let’s start by writing a clear goal. A clear goal can really be the flip-side of the problem statement. We can refer to our previous example of the Youth Soccer Rocks nonprofit (yes, fictitious) in the city of Rocking Socks City (also fictitious) who are creating a project that will serve underserved youth in their city. Their problem statement may be “75% of youth in the city of Rocking Socks suffer from chronic health issues compared to the national average of 12%. These staggering health issues correlate with high suicide rates, depression rates, and poor graduation rates.
The goal would basically be flipping this problem statement around: “Youth Soccer Rocks will provide a free soccer program for at-risk youth and provide a healthy pathway.”
Now, let’s go further and see how this goal could be connected to a larger community goal. Find out what larger community goal can be integrated into your goal. This can be mission statements from larger organization, community plans, etcetera. The example could be that “The Rocking Socks City Council Consolidated Plan includes access to health for all.”
Now you have a project goal that is connected to a larger community goal, but you also want to show what problem will be reduced. For our example, we could say that chronic health issues will be reduced by 50% for underserved youth.
Think of goals as the overarching aim, and objectives as the specific framework of what will be accomplished. Typically, you do not want to have any more than three objectives within a project. You will have many activities, but the number of overall objectives should be clear and concise. Objectives need to be S.M.A.R.T.; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. An objective for Youth Soccer Rocks could be 100 disadvantaged youth in Rocking Socks will receive sport scholarships by the end of twelve months. Let’s break this down into each part of the acronym S.M.A.R.T., and by the end you will have one entire objective.
- Specific: Identify the outcomes that will be achieved:
- Ex. Number of youth, type of youth, what their specific outcome will be.
- Measurable: Use quantifiable terms to describe how the progress will be measured.
- Ex. Number of youth (100) and number of scholarships.
- Achievable: Is the objective achievable within the duration of the project, resources, budget, etcetera?
- Ex. This would be balanced by the needs; i.e. If there are thousands of youth who are disadvantaged in the city and no other free soccer organizations, then this could be achievable.
- Relevant: Does the objective relate to the problem statement and goal?
- Ex. Yes, this is a possible solution to the health conditions.
- Time-bound: Do you have a date for the objective to be completed by? Tip: Start off with the end in the beginning of the objective, such as; By the end of 12 months…
- Ex. They will complete this objective by the end of 12 months.
The outcomes are what will specifically be accomplished. Include your baseline and how data will be tracked to communicate your outcomes.
What are your outcomes? Ex. In the beginning of the project, there are zero sport scholarships available to disadvantaged youth in Rocking Socks. By the end of year one, 100 youth will have received sport scholarships and participated in health checks. We will track the number of scholarships delivered and the number of youth participating in the health checks via a roster sheet.
Action Plan Timeline: Timeline and Activities
One of the most important items you can create in the design process of writing a grant is to formulate a timeline. This will include all your activities, who the person is responsible to lead the activity, and include start and end dates. Once this is created, your project is a legacy. What do I mean by that? Well, you should be able to hand over the timeline and budget to someone who gets hired from the grant, and they should be able to run the project with minimal further directions. Sure, you will want a hand off meeting and all that fun stuff, but if they have this piece in their arsenal, they can keep referring to it to stay on track with the implementation of the project. This is awesome. Remember to include items from the budget in your timeline. For a downloadable template, go to www.hollyrustick.com/grantbonus to get on the grant list for this upcoming template.
|Kick off Meeting||Executive Director/BOD||Oct. 1, 2017||Oct. 1, 2017|
|Recruit Project Manager||Executive Director||Oct. 7, 2017||Oct. 21, 2017|
Once you have identified your goals, objectives, and outcomes, you have put together the backdrop of the puzzle. Of course, you need to look at the budget to make sure that your objectives will really be achievable. If you have developed the budget for your objectives, then you are ready to flesh out the project design. In this chapter, you learned how to how to articulate your goals, objectives, and outcomes.
This is really the part where your entire grant team needs to be on board – this part coupled with the budget. Once you have this information, then the rest can be done with follow-up meetings, emails, and phone calls. Make sure your goals, objectives, and outcomes are all solutions to your problem. You would be surprised, but sometimes FOAs or RFPs do not request any or all of this information. My advice to you: include it anyway. As you can tell, your goal, objectives, and outcomes could probably all be included in one paragraph or in bullet points. But just because they are short doesn’t mean they aren’t well thought-out. So even if a funding source doesn’t request this information, but you provide it and it weaves your entire proposal together seamlessly – you will be ahead of those who don’t include it.
As always go ahead to www.hollyrustick.com/grantbonus to become a part of the grant team and get your FREE grant templates. Let me know if you have any grant or funding related questions. You can reach me at email@example.com. Next time we will be talking about Part Four: Budget and Budget Narrative in the Five Basic Parts to Writing a Winning Grant.