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Now that the need to be met has been identified and crafted into a need statement, the attention turns to creating goals and objectives. These are intended to present a clear idea of expected outcomes of the project once it’s been implemented. The goal statement needs to respond to the question, “if this project were implemented, how would the situation change or look different?” It is essential for grantors to understand the influence of a grantees proposed program. The goal statement helps them comprehend the impact your organization can have with the grant award (Carlson, 2002).

Some grant writers have trouble telling the difference between a goal and an objective. A goal portrays the general effect you plan to have on the issue you have outlined without necessarily denoting the scope of the problem. On the other hand, an objective is the quantifiable steps toward the described goal. Objectives are distinct and should inform who is impacted, how they are impacted – or how much – in quantifiable terms, and when will the change take place (Wason, 2004). These should consider the outcomes of a program, but not the action. The actions of how to accomplish the objectives will be described in the methodology section of the proposal. Objectives vary slightly from goals in that there are at least four kinds of objectives. Some grant proposals will have a blend of all of them, and some will only include one kind of objective (Ward, 2010). The types include:

Performance objective –this objective targets a specific degree of achievement for a particular kind of conduct.

Behavioral objective– this objective concentrates on the program participants and explains cognitive achievement.

Product objective –this objective is utilized when a specific product will be planned or fabricated as a consequence of the project.

Process objective –this objective will explain a new method or procedure that will happen to study the development or growth of the program (Ward, 2010).  

Remember, the idea isn’t to morph your goals and objectives to fit the goals and objectives of the grantor. Your job is to outline what you think needs to be done to solve the problem you identified in the need statement (Karsh & Fox, 2014).

Some things to keep in mind as goals and objectives are being written:

  • Be sure the goals (and outcomes) relate to the need statement.
  • Goals need to be measurable, of course, but be sure that enough time is allotted to achieve the proposed outcomes – just in case things take longer than initially intended
  • Allow for flexibility in the budget in case you need to re-evaluate a result based on changes that have occurred (Carlson, 2002).

The hardest part of crafting objectives is deciding the relevant or achievable extent of influence. Industry professionals suggest looking for comparable projects that worked and base your objectives on them. This will give you a baseline to work from and may allow you to know up front what was victorious in the past and what wasn’t (Wason, 2004).  

An example of a well-written goal statement is:

“…reduce the number of teenagers involved in street gangs within the city limits” (Wason, 2004).

This is a well-written statement for a local non-profit because even though it doesn’t define how the agency will reduce the number of teenagers, (or any other indicators, such as ages range targeted), involved in street gangs, it is a realistic goal for a community agency.

An example of a poorly-written goal statement is:

           “…reduce the number of teenagers involved in gangs in the United States” (Wason, 2004).

Regarding a local non-profit agency, this is a poorly written statement because this is outside the scope of impact for the agency. Such a broad range may be best reserved for an agency with a national influence (Wason, 2004).


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