SMART Goals in grant writing
So, your organisation has identified a need or an area that they feel they can address for the community. When applying for a grant the grant writer provides a comprehensive proposal and detailed information to the grant provider that will enable them to definitively award the grant that best addresses the needs of the community.
The grant writer defines the outcomes or the long-term results and benefits that the project/program will deliver. As part of the grant application process the grant writer needs to clearly articulate the desired outcomes and how they can and will be measured. The rationale or reason for the project provides the grant issuer with information about the specific situation, problem or need the project or program is aiming to address.
Once our outcomes and rationale are defined, the grant writer needs to articulate the project or program goals and objectives. So, what is the difference between goals and objectives? The basic definition of a goal is a purpose or an aim, it is an idea, or plan for the future performance or the desired result. The objectives are the specific steps that will be taken to achieve the desired result. Put simply goals are the outcome you are trying to achieve, and objectives are the actions or strategies that will help you reach or successfully achieve your goal
Goals should match your needs statement, outcomes and rationale and specifically define what your proposal will achieve or accomplish for the target group. The goals and objectives detail the desired results or outcome of the program and how your organisation plans to achieve them.
Using the SMART goal setting approach adds a dimension of structure and accountability to goals or objectives and makes them more definitive.
There are several interpretations of the words within the acronym SMART goals and objectives but using the SMART goal setting approach is a method of ensuring the program goals are attainable.
SMART goals and objectives are
- Time sensitive
- Time bound
- Time based
Specific – when writing goals avoid ‘vagueness’. What do you want to accomplish and what steps or strategies are required to achieve it? Why do we want to accomplish this goal?
Measurable – you need to be able to quantify your success and know and recognise when you have achieved your goal. This can be quantitative such as something like productivity increase or more money saved or earned or qualitative such as more client satisfaction and positive feedback or referrals.
Achievable or attainable – be realistic about skills, experience and abilities. Are there any obstacles or limitations that will stop you reaching or achieving your goal? What skills or tools are required to achieve your goal? Do you have these, or can you access them?
Relevant or realistic – Will achieving the goal be meaningful to the target group? Why is it important? The goal should align with organisation values and philosophy and align with your stated outcome and rationale.
Time bound/sensitive/based – having a timeline keeps everything on track. It adds some pressure and intensity otherwise in this busy world it is too easy to procrastinate instead of prioritising and achieving success.
Using SMART goals and objectives in grant writing clarifies the desired outcome of the program or project and provides a set of specific and measurable strategies that will be applied to achieve success. Using this approach demonstrates that you have a strategic plan in place and can accomplish a positive outcome for the target group.
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