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How to Write Goals, Objectives and Outcomes That Grant Funders Will Love!
Even though I included an exclamation at the end of the title of this article, doesn’t it still seem as dry as dust? Probably one of the biggest challenges grant writers face is trying to articulate meaningful and exciting goals and objectives and their expected outcomes in their applications. You certainly don’t want to a) annoy the grant reviewer to death, b) seriously confuse them, or c) infuriate them to the point of throwing the aforementioned application in the nearest trash can. What should a good grant writer do?
Successful grant writers understand that amidst a sea of facts and figures, all funders really want is to understand how a proposed program will help solve the problem they are trying to solve. By using the following techniques, you too can be a rock star who sets goals, states goals, and produces results. Rock On!
Understand the difference between goals, objectives and outcomes.
While a goal gives a general statement of your program’s purpose, objectives are more concrete and specific as to how the goal will be achieved. Your results should reflect the expected outcome at the end of your proposal’s project period.
For example, a community cancer wellness program targets cancer patients at risk of not receiving prescribed medical care due to lack of insurance or underinsurance. Here is a suggested goal, objective and outcome to indicate in the application.
Aim: The Cancer Wellness Foundation will help 1,000 people receive prescribed medical treatment for their cancer diagnosis who otherwise do not have access to care.
Purpose: Three hundred cancer patients will receive gas vouchers who cannot afford round-trip transportation to prescribed chemotherapy and radiation therapy appointments.
Result: Ninety-five percent of cancer patients who participate in the transportation program will report having received all of the chemotherapy and radiation treatments prescribed by their doctor.
Be as specific as possible.
Funders appreciate as much detail as you can provide in writing measurable goals.
For example, an after-school program targets at-risk young teens by helping them complete high school.
An objective : Eighty-five percent of program participants will have a better understanding of math and reading skills, which will enable them to graduate in the future.
A better goal: Eighty-five percent of program participants will achieve at least one higher level by the end of the first year of the program.
Put a face to your facts and figures.
While statistics are an important part of conveying your need and urgency, try to include specific examples of clients you help that can paint a visual picture in the grant reviewer’s mind.
Although the example above provides some meaningful data, see how the following example brings the program to life:
When Karen arrived at XYZ Youth Center, she was struggling and afraid that she would not be able to complete her studies. She had skipped class at least twice a week and had been tested two years late. Because Karen’s parents both worked long hours to support the family, she didn’t get the extra help and encouragement she needed at home. Referred by a social worker, Karen became a participant in the XYZ program and began working with a mentor who provided one-on-one support. She also attended weekly support meetings with other children who, like Karen, were struggling. Six months later, Karen said she felt less frustrated when she studied and even started to find her math and reading classes exciting. At the end of Karen’s first year in the program, she passed the grade level tests and was excited to move on to the next year with her class.
Remember, this may not be the most fun part of writing your grant application, but the goals and objectives section is important. The time it takes you to create meaningful program metrics is always time well spent.
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