The vocabulary of proposal development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. Revised and expanded in mid-2016, this set of entries covers words and phrases from P to Z. Its context is the United States of America.
PROJECT: The specific proposed program or plan of action for which grant funds are being requested. A project has a definite start date and a definite end date, and it has an explicitly defined and time-bound set of desired outcomes.
PROJECT COORDINATOR: The person who manages and implements a project under the auspices or supervision of a project director or a similar administrator; coordination is often a desirable role for personnel when a project or initiative targets multiple sites or features multiple components or involves many partners. Also see: Project Director and Principal Investigator.
PROJECT DIRECTOR: The person who leads or directs a grant-funded project and ensures that the project complies with all conditions and regulations, particularly in training, educational, and model demonstration projects. Also may be called a Project Manager. Also see: Principal investigator and Project Coordinator.
REPLICABILITY: A project’s ability or promise of being able to be transplanted to other settings and to yield similar or comparable impacts or outcomes or results in them.
RESEARCH: An organized effort to add to the existing knowledge base of an established or emerging discipline in the area of theory or application or both. Alternatively, the search for epistemologically valid and reliable evidence that implementing one or more of an applicant’s proposed activities or strategies is likely to yield the desired outcomes and impacts.
RESULT: A measurable consequence of implementing a project or initiative, but not necessarily the intended and anticipated focus of an objective or a goal. Examples: Improved school climate in an arts enrichment project; reduced arrests for certain property crimes in a graffiti abatement project.
STAFF: The person or persons who carry out a project using grant funds, and those who support it using other funds; also may be called Personnel. Also see: Personnel.
STAFFING PLAN: The scheme, method, or approach for deploying persons having appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities (or required qualifications and experience) to do the work of a project or initiative.
SUMMATIVE EVALUATION: The measurement of the extent or degree of success of a project or initiative; it offers conclusions about what worked (and what did not) and it makes recommendations about what to keep, what to change, and what to discontinue; it occurs at the end of each project year and after the grant-funded project ends. Also called Outcome Evaluation or Product Evaluation. Also see: Formative Evaluation.
TARGET POPULATION: The persons, groups, subgroups, or entities intended to participate in a project or initiative and/or to benefit from it. Applicants should exercise discretion and sensitivity in adopting the phrase in certain contexts (e.g., violence prevention). Also see: Beneficiary and Participant.
TEAM: A group of persons who work as a unit towards a common or shared purpose related to a project or initiative. A team may include persons paid with non-grant funds and persons affiliated with organizations other than the applicant or grant recipient. Also see: Partner.
TIMELINE: The detailed overall sequence, schedule, or timetable anticipated for implementing a project or initiative. It may present both discrete events and continuous processes. It also may include an illustrative chart or a table. Also see: Milestone.
VISION: A clear and concise statement of an applicant’s purpose, values, and aspirations for its mid-term or long-term future, presented as its inspiration or motivation for what it does in the present. In a proposal, an applicant commonly links its organizational vision to its Work Plan and to the grant maker’s purposes for making grants. Also see: Mission.
This post concludes a five-part series on Proposal Development.