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An activity is one or more action steps that lead to achieving one or more objectives. It is specific, observable, and measurable. An activity is neither a goal (a desired end result) nor an objective (a specific target increment of change). Activities form part of a Work Plan or Plan of Action; they are subordinate to objectives and allied with strategies.

Each activity is one of a logical sequence of steps leading to a desired result. It may be a unique event (e.g., a concert recital) or an extended process (e.g., learning the violin). It may occur at the same time as other activities in a project or initiative (e.g., the same day), or it may occur across time (e.g., during several months or years).

An activity statement clearly describes the expected performance or behavior. It states what will be done (performance), how well it will be done (criteria), who and how many will do it (participants and personnel), and when and how often it will be done (conditions). Each activity should relate clearly to an applicant’s needs, goals, and objectives.

Every action step leading to a desired result implies a set of costs. As an applicant, you need to account for the costs of your core activities in your budget.

Selecting Activities:

In planning to describe activities in proposals, several questions prove useful:

Needs: How does your activity relate to your needs assessment? How does it relate to your problem statement?

Results: How does your activity relate to your project or initiative’s expected results?

Components: How does your activity relate to objectives, goals, timeline, and other components in your proposal’s program design?

Time Frames: How long will the activity occur? Can it be completed within your available time frame?

Personnel: Who will conduct the activity? Will it be part of anyone’s position description?

Evaluation: How will the activity lead to attaining your goal? How will you measure its usefulness and effectiveness in achieving it?

Costs: How much will it cost to conduct the activity? What source of funding will you use to support it? Will you use grant funds or non-grant funds or both for it?

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


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