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How to Write Goals and Objectives for Your Grant Proposal

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The goals and objectives section of your grant proposal provides a description of what your organization hopes to accomplish with your project. It also spells out the specific results or outcomes you plan to accomplish.

What Is a Goal?

A goal is a broad statement of what you wish to accomplish. Goals are broad, general, intangible, and abstract. A goal is really about the final impact or outcome that you wish to bring about. In the case of goals for a grant proposal, make sure they are linked back to your need statement. To more effectively "hook" grant reviewers, use visionary words in your goals. Try words such as decrease, deliver, develop, establish, improve, increase, produce, and provide.

An example of a goal is: "Decrease the degree of malnutrition among young children in the southwest region of Baltimore."

What Is an Objective?

A goal is only as good as the objectives that go with it. The objective represents a step toward accomplishing a goal. In contrast to the goal, an objective is narrow, precise, tangible, concrete, and can be measured.

Beverly A. Browning, in her Grant Writing for Dummies, suggests using the S.M.A.R.T. method of writing your objectives. Make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

According to Mim Carlson and Tori O'Neal-McElrath, in Winning Grants, you should keep the following in mind when preparing your objectives:

  • State your objectives in quantifiable terms.
  • State your objectives in terms of outcomes, not process.
  • Objectives should specify the result of an activity.
  • Objectives should identify the target audience or community being served.
  • Objectives need to be realistic and capable of being accomplished within the grant period.

An example of an objective that would go with the sample goal above is: "By the end of year one, provide 125 mothers in the southwest area of Baltimore with a 2-hour training program that will provide health and nutrition information."

Tips for Writing Good Goals and Objectives

Carlson and O'Neal-McElrath, in Winning Grants, suggest you keep the following in mind as you write your goals and objectives for your grant:

  • Tie your goals and objectives directly to your need statement.
  • Include all relevant groups and individuals in your target population.
  • Always allow plenty of time to accomplish the objectives.
  • Do not confuse your outcome objectives for methods.
  • Figure out how you will measure the change projected in each objective. If there is no way to measure an objective, it needs to be changed.
  • Don't forget to budget for the evaluation (measurement) of your objectives.

Resources:

Storytelling for Grantseekers, Second Edition, Cheryl A. Clarke, Jossey-Bass, 2009
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Winning Grants, Step by Step, Third Edition, Mim Carlson and Tori O'Neal-McElrath, Jossey-Bass, 2008
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Grant Writing for Dummies, 4th Edition, Beverly A. Browning, Wiley, 2011.
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Back to How to Write a Grant Proposal.

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