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Grant Writer Tip 2

Align Project Goals, Objectives, Activities, and Outcomes

Every grant funding program, whether government or foundation grant programs, requires the applicant to answer the following basic questions:

  • What are the goals of the project?

  • What objectives does the project plan to implement?

  • What are the proposed activities?

  • What are the project outcomes or “deliverables” (concrete examples of work activities undertaken in a project, such as the production of a report, the creation of a piece of software, or the delivery of a training program)?

As you begin to draft your goals, objectives, activities, and deliverables it is vital to ensure that these elements of your proposal are “aligned” to each other. In other words, the objectives must logically derive from the goals of the project. Goals and objectives must bear a relationship amongst each other or the framework of your project will become fragmented and disjointed. If goals and objectives are not related or aligned, the grant program readers, when evaluating your proposal, will fail to see the logical relationship between your goals and objectives.

One method for thinking about a project goal and its objectives is to think of the goal as the more general stated purpose of the project and the objectives as the critical “steps” or “actions” that must be undertaken to achieve or reach the goal.

After you have aligned your project goals and objectives, you must then identify the action steps in detailed and precise statements that derive from each objective. In other words, ask yourself:

What actions must be accomplished to achieve this objective?

Break the objective down into a logical arrangement of steps, typically following some method of ordering these discrete actions, such as beginning with the first action which needs to be accomplished and progressing in order to the subsequent steps or actions. You must also break each objective down into a complete series of actions, being careful to not omit a critical action step.

When you have identified the action steps or activities you will want to link all or many of these to deliverables, which are sometimes referred to as project outcomes. A deliverable or outcome is most often a tangible behavior (someone acquires skills) or a product (a report is produced) resulting from the actions or activities undertaken. Examples of how these terms are typically used in a grant response are as follow:

  • Outcome = A tangible behavior or product.

  • Deliverable = A proposal submission in response to a contract.

The identification of outcomes or deliverables is a critical step in your proposal development process because it represents one of the means for determining whether or not you were successful in meeting your objectives and goals. An outcome or deliverable, in short, is measurable because it is a tangible result of your activities.

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