Grant Proposal Writing
Up to this point, we have learned how to develop the proposal rationale and to establish a background for it. Now we need to tell the reviewer what we plan to accomplish with the grant. this information is supplied by the OBJECTIVES, PROCEDURES, and ACTIVITIES section which forms the core of the proposal.
I cannot over emphasize the importance of the objectives section. Your proposal will be judged on its ability to show HOW you intend to solve the problem you have described. Reviewers often read this section first to get a definite idea of how feasible your plan is.
A CLEAR CUT GOAL
A reviewer likes to see specific, concrete, ACHIEVABLE objectives. Write an overall GOAL that speaks to the PROBLEM. Let's say that our problem to be addressed is the lack of activities for teenagers during their after-school hours. The overall goal can be, "To provide alternative activities for teenagers in their after-school hours in City X."
DESCRIPTION OF OBJECTIVES
Our objectives will indicate in very precise terms how we plan to provide these activities. To write this section, identify the overall goal, then list the specific OBJECTIVES in chronological order. Each OBJECTIVE will then be followed with its corresponding ACTIVITIES.
HOW TO WRITE OBJECTIVES
RULE 1: Use consistent verb forms.
Here are two ways to state the same objective. Both are correct. Chose one of the styles, then be consistent with all your objectives.
OBJECTIVE 1: To select a minimum of three faculty participants to develop after-school activities for teenagers by June 1.
OBJECTIVE 1: A minimum of three faculty participants will be selected to develop after school activities for teenagers by June 1.
In the first example, the verb "select" is used in the infinitive form (to select). This style is the more traditional of the two. The second objective uses the passive voice to express the same idea; "will be selected" shows the subject as being acted upon rather than performing the action. Both examples are acceptable, but chose one style and stay with it through the objectives section. Transitive verbs (verbs that express ACTION on an object) work best because they link each objective to its subsequent activities. Verbs such as select, develop, implement, identify, research, assess, prepare, and disseminate allow you to introduce your activities with precise correlative objectives.
You might want to peek at Benjamin Bloom's list of verbs that work well with measurable objectives.
RULE 2: Use Quantifiable Terms
In order to justify your goals and measure your future success, you need quantifiable, measurable objectives. Build you objective with concise terminology: "To provide a minimum of seven after-school or evening alternative activities for at least 100 teenagers in Your City."
RULE 3: Specific a Target Date
When will each objective be accomplished? Give the grantor a projected date of completion: "To provide a minimum of seven after-school or evening alternative activities for at least 100 teenagers in Your City by September 15."
Remember that the three rules for writing objectives are:
(1) Use consistent ACTIVE verb forms.
(2) Use quantifiable terms.
(3) Specify a target date.
These rules will help you write clear-cut objectives that can be accomplished within the terms of the grant.
ADD AN EVALUATION CRITERION
In the next Session, we will discuss how to write an evaluation, but for now, try inserting a "trigger" for this evaluation by adding a bit of evidence to each of your objectives. This "trigger" offers tangible proof that you are going to do what you have promised to do: "To provide a minimum of seven after-school or evening alternative activities for at least 100 teenagers in Your City by September 15, as evidenced by a sign-in sheet at each activity's location." Assume that the reviewer is an auditor looking for simple verifiable infomration that you, the proposal writer, can easily supply.
TWO COMMON ERRORS TO AVOID
If a proposal is to be judged fairly, it is the writer's responsibility to present ACCURATE and ACCESSIBLE objectives. The reviewer should not be confused or bored by either jargon or mysterious acronyms. If you doubt the reader's ability to understand your terminology, clarify it or do not use it. If yourproject is unreadable because of its indecipherable language, it is probably going to remain fundless.
Also, the reviewer should not have to send out a search party fo find the objectives that are hiding in vague generalities. Only clarity can emphasize the importance of each objective and its role in your project. Read the following poorly written objective taken for an actual unsuccessful proposal, and try to uncover the goals and objectives buried beneat the muddy description:
Objective: (Program XYZ) will becme a network of community-based social service agencies, higher education and community participants committed to rebuild dysfunctional and low income families. Families will e evaluated to assess their current situation and determine needs. An individual family treatment plan will be created that will focus on meeting the specific needs of the family. This process of healing and change will rebuild the family, strengthren bonds, and help children become refocused towards their future. This process will create personal growth and self-confidence, and promote academic success through education. it would also reduce crime in domestic violence, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol related crimes and juvenile delinquency. It would reunite parents and children with their schools in a process of achieving school success and strengthening ties with the community, school, and participants.
I am sure that the writer had an excellent idea, but I was never sure exactly what it was. It sounded as though she was going to change society with a grant of just $20,000.
FORMAT FOR THE OBJECTIVES
If there is no form or guide on how to write objectives, here is the style that I use. I believe this makes the objectives stand out, become clear to the reader, and provides a logical flow.
The PROCEDURES and ACTIVITIES section is often the most scrutinized part of the proposal because it pinpoints exactly how you plan to spend the grantor's money. Until now, you have talked about your plan and what it will mean to your field. Now you must speak in operational terms about what it will actually DO. PROCEDURES and ACTIVITIES should specify WHAT, WHY, WHEN, WHERE, and WHO.
Be realistic; even the most glamorous-sounding proposal loses all credibility when the procedures for implementing it are inadequate.
Here are some thoughts to consider while you develop the activities for your objectives:
(1) At least one or more activities must relate to EACH objective;
(2) Are there model sites to visit which could be activities?
(3) Are there types of new media materials that can be produced?
(4) Clearly define the role of an advisory committee (Internal Monitoring Team). How many times will it meet and where?
(5) How many times will the staff members meet? Where?
(6) How many conferences or workshops will be conducted by the project participants for the purpose of making progress reports and/or coordinating the dissemination? (Keep in mind that grants rarely support conference attendance.)
(7) What are all of your activities? How will they be accomplished and in what order?
(8) Who will perform each task? How many people will each activity require?
(9) What equipment, materials, and facilities are needed for each activity?
Here is one of our sample objectives used earlier with some activities developed for it.
OBJECTIVE 3: To hire activity coordinators for each of the seven after-school activities by Septemer 1.
ACTIVITY 3.1: Work with the Human Resources Department to develop a thorough job description.
ACTIVITY 3.2: Announce coordinator position at job fairs, via email and mail, and through personnel agencies.
ACTIVITY 3.3: Form a hiring comittee which promotes cultural and gender diversity.
ACTIVITY 3.4: Interview and select seven activity coordinators by September 1.
Note that the objective is labeled clearly, and its corresponding activities are listed in chronological order.
It is time for you to develop a list of activities for your objectives. Find someone to read your work and to give you feedback on its content and clarity.
|CATE: Computer-Assisted Teaching Environment
Distance Education office at Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA USA
Last updated: 19:00 on 1 March 2005
Copyright © Coddingtown Account
|Email Coddingtown Account