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An objective is a time-bound, specific, short-term, and measurable accomplishment. It states what will be done, who will do it, how it will be done, by when it will be done, and with what result. It describes what will change, who will change, how much change will occur, and when the change will occur.

 

An objective is neither a goal (a general or overall direction of change) nor a strategy (a means or approach for accomplishing an objective). Objectives form part of a Work Plan or Plan of Action. Objectives are subordinate to a goal.

 

Every objective has a cost. It directly impacts the budget. Its degree of ambition – in terms of scope and magnitude and feasibility within an available timeframe – also directly impact a proposal’s credibility.

 

Example: ‘By the end of each project year, 90% of regularly participating 11th graders will demonstrate increased knowledge of post-secondary educational and career options, as measured by project-developed pre-post surveys.’

 

Defining Objectives:

In planning to define an objective in a proposal, several questions prove useful:

Results: Where do you want to see change occur? Where do you want to see improvements?

 

Indicators: What aspects of the desired change can be quantified?

 

Criteria: How much change do you want? In what direction do you want to see the change occur?

 

Timeline: Within what timeframe do you want to see change occur? By what deadline do you want to see it?

 

Documentation: How will you record and report evidence or progress in accomplishing desired increments of change within the desired timeframe?

 

Personnel: Who will measure and report progress in accomplishing desired increments of change within the desired timeframe?

 

Evaluation: How will you monitor, measure, record, analyze, and report change among participants and beneficiaries in your project or initiative? What evaluation instruments are available?

 

Costs: How much will it cost to measure and accomplish the desired increments of change within the desired timeframe? What funding sources will support and defray these costs?

 

This post is one in a series about questions useful in planning competitive grant proposals.

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