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This post is one of a series about what goes into proposals that win grants. Its topic is proposal attachments. Its context is the United States of America.

 

Most public and private grant makers require applicants to include a number of attachments (or appendices) as part of their proposals. Applicants omit forget or omit attachments at the risk of becoming ineligible for proposal review.

 

Tips

 

In writing proposals requiring attachments (or appendices), an applicant should:

  1. Follow each specific grant maker’s instructions
  2. Provide all required attachments
  3. Observe all limits on number of pages to be attached
  4. Observe all limits on types of documents to be attached
  5. Number all pages consecutively
  6. Label every document clearly
  7. List attached documents in a table of contents, if one is allowed and used
  8. Refer to or cite attached documents clearly in the proposal

 

Always attach documents only if they are allowed or required. And always follow the funder’s instructions, if available, for where and in what sequence to attach them.

 

Although an applicant should not expect to need to attach every type listed here in every proposal it submits, among the attachments (or appendices) that it may need are:

  1. Biographical sketches (resumes or vitae) of key staff
  2. Position descriptions
  3. Organizational charts
  4. Program design flow charts
  5. Logic models
  6. Timelines (Gantt charts or PERT charts) or milestone charts
  7. Letters (commitment, support)
  8. Contracts or sub-contracts (consultants, service providers)
  9. Partner agreements (memoranda of understanding, memoranda of agreement)
  10. Sample survey instruments
  11. Sample assessment instruments
  12. Technical specifications for products or construction/renovations
  13. Tax-exempt letter (IRS non-profit status determination letter)
  14. Organization’s most recent audit statement
  15. Organization’s board of directors (names, positions, and affiliations)
  16. Required standard forms (certifications, assurances)

 

Every attachment (or appendix) is an integral part of a proposal. Reviewers consider them in deciding which proposals to recommend for funding. Applicants should take as much care in preparing and presenting them as they do with the rest of their proposals.

 

This post is one of a series about what goes into proposals that win grants. Its topic is timelines. Its context is the United States of America.

 

Time pervades every aspect of successful grant writing. The question of time is always the question of ‘When?’ It is one of the most basic questions in planning a project and in writing a proposal. It is also an indispensable element of well-formulated goals and objectives.

 

Tips

 

Among the proposal elements where time plays a fundamental role are:

  • Framing time-delimited goals
  • Formulating time-delimited objectives
  • Describing major activities or action sequences
  • Indicating frequency, such as of activities or assessments
  • Measuring outcomes and results
  • Ensuring programmatic accountability through interim and final evaluation reports
  • Ensuring financial accountability

 

Among the types of time factors frequently found in grant proposals are:

  • Grant-maker imposed timeframes (e.g., training, completion, or reports)
  • Deadlines for deliverables (e.g., work products or events)
  • Deadlines for objectives
  • Deadlines for financial and programmatic performance reports
  • Start dates and end dates
  • Schedules for major activities
  • Schedules for special events
  • Performance targets or projections
  • Milestones or interim performance measures

 

In planning projects and in writing grant proposals, among the many ways to represent time are:

  • Logic models
  • Gantt charts
  • PERT charts
  • Flow charts
  • Lists or tables of activities with their start/end dates
  • Declarative statements in proposal narratives

 

Applicants should take care to distinguish their objectives and goals from their activities in terms of time. They should analyze beforehand all aspects of their proposals involving time. And for their proposal reviewers and grant decision makers, they should be unequivocally clear about when things are expected to happen before, during, and after a grant-funded project.

 

Introduction

This post is about uses of logic models in evaluation. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, typical elements in logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Outcomes and Outputs

Logic models are versatile tools. Not only are they useful in planning and implementing a proposal, they are just as useful in creating an evaluation design.

 

An outcome is not the same as an output. An output is a product or an event and is reported as a number. An outcome is a logical result of an output. It is reported both as a number (after collecting the data) and a ratio. It may help to think of an output as a means (to an end), and an outcome as an end.

 

Outputs Outcomes
Installed 50 corner streetlights. Reduced intersection traffic accidents by 53%.
Held 6 interdiction workshops. Increased border drug seizures by 71%.
Created 10 classroom blog websites. Increased writing scores by 9%.
Developed 10 science lab lessons. Increased science lab scores by 12%.
Trained 700 program volunteers. Reduced afterschool adult-child ratio by 50%.

 

A logic model for an Evaluation Plan has seven basic elements:

  • Outcome: What do you to happen because of your project?
  • Indicator: What are the observable and measurable behaviors and conditions?
  • Target Audience: What is the specific population to be measured?
  • Data Source: What are the source(s) of information about the behaviors and conditions to be measured?
  • Data Interval: When are data to measure the indicator to be collected?
  • Target: What is the amount of change you desire to occur?
  • Results: What was the actual amount of change as measured using the data collected?

 

The seven elements can be organized in a table:

Desired Outcome Indicator Target Audience Data Source Data Interval Target Results
             
             

 

Examples of a Logic Model for Evaluation

These examples illustrate how to use a logic model in designing an Evaluation Plan.

 

Example 1: Science Education

  • Outcome: Participants will be more proficient in Science.
  • Indicator: Ratio of tested 6th graders who score proficient or higher
  • Target Audience: All 6th graders who participate regularly in the project.
  • Data Source: State-mandated 6thgrade assessments.
  • Data Interval: After test administration in April 2019.
  • Target: 75% or more of 500 participating and tested 6th graders
  • Results: 425 or 86.7% of 490 6th graders scored proficient or higher.

 

Example 2: Violence Prevention

Outcome: Fewer participants will be suspended for fighting in school.

  • Indicator: Ratio of HS students suspended for fighting.
  • Target Audience: All HS students who participate regularly in the project.
  • Data Source: District Title IV suspensions and expulsions reports.
  • Data Interval: After end of each academic ranking period and end of school year.
  • Target: 5% or fewer of 1200 participating high school students.
  • Results: 48 or 4.06% of 1180 high school students were suspended for fighting in school during the school year.

 

Example 3: Literacy Development

  • Outcome: More 6th, 7th, and 8th graders will read for pleasure.
  • Indicator: Ratio of students who read for pleasure during the school year.
  • Target Audience: All 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who participate regularly in the project.
  • Data Source: Surveys of participating students and their parents/guardians.
  • Data Interval: After end of each academic ranking period and end of school year.
  • Target: 65% or more of 900 participating and surveyed middle school students
  • Results: 620 or 71.75% of 864 respondents reported reading for pleasure during the school year.

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

This post presents an alternative structure for logic models. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, typical elements in logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Alternative Logic Model Structure

Although their configurations and their labels do vary widely, most logic models have six basic elements. What follows is a second (alternative) structure for the basic elements of a logic model. In it, the first two elements focus on what you plan to do. The others focus on what is to happen both while and after it is done.

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) presents an instructive alternative structure for analyzing the elements of a basic logic model:

 

Inputs: What resources will be used to support the project?

 

Activities: What are the primary things the project will do or provide?

 

Outputs: How many and what sorts of observable and/or tangible results will be achieved?

 

Short-Term (or Immediate) Outcomes: What will occur as a direct result of the inputs and activities (typically in terms of changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes)?

 

Mid-Term (or Intermediate) Outcomes: What results should follow from the initial outcomes (typically in terms of changes in behavior, policies, practice?)

 

Long-Term (or Ultimate) Outcomes or Impacts: What results should follow from the initial outcomes (typically stated in terms of changes in broader conditions?)

 

The time flow in a basic logic model reads from left to right [See: W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Logic Model Development Guide (2006), p. 1. These elements can be organized in a six-column table:

 

Inputs Activities Outputs Short-Term Outcomes Mid-Term Outcomes Long-Term Outcomes
           
           

 

Research Performance Model

Not every logic model is strictly linear. Scientific research is an iterative process. A research project has feedback loops between its input and activities, its research design and implementation, and its results and its outputs. In addition, the outputs of one research activity often serve as the inputs for a subsequent activity. Such circuits can repeat until a research project yields reliable results.

 

For more discussion of logic models, readers may want to visit the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE), the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL), and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Logic Model Development Guide (2006).

 

Introduction

This post discusses some of the benefits of using logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, typical elements in logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Benefits

The varied uses of logic models promise many benefits to grant seekers and proposal planners, as well as to grant makers. Appropriately constructed, a logic model can guide a project or initiative’s lifespan from cradle to grave. As a trans-temporal tool, it can be used to forecast what will be done, monitor what is being done, and then evaluate what has been done.

 

Among the many benefits of using logic models in seeking grants are to:

  • Generate an inventory of what is at hand and what is still needed to carry out a project or initiative
  • Assist in planning a proposal and in monitoring, adjusting, and evaluating subsequent implementation
  • Relate contemplated or anticipated activities to projected outputs and outcomes
  • Clarify how project activities will contribute or are contributing to accomplishing specific objectives
  • Enhance an applicant’s focus on obtaining results through its planned project activities
  • More efficiently and effectively communicate to target audiences a project’s goals, activities, strategies, and intended outcomes
  • Provide project implementers and participants with a clear roadmap for implementation, monitoring, and evaluation
  • Identify sources and uses of data for tracking progress toward target outcomes
  • Provide a single synoptic snapshot of a project’s scope of work and potential significance
  • Facilitate coordination of resources, selection of strategies, and realistic formulation of desired outcomes
  • Create among all stakeholders a shared understanding of and focus on program goals and strategies
  • Build a strong case for how and why a project or initiative is worthy of a funder’s investment in it
  • Communicate key project features to external audiences such as funding agencies, the general public, and legislators
  • Enhance the role and usefulness of monitoring and evaluation as management and learning tools

 

Planning Tool

One useful place to explore the many uses and benefits of logic models is W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Logic Model Development Guide (2006). As you create your own logic model, always be mindful that other grant makers may define and understand some aspects of logic models quite differently than what you find here. Always defer to the specific funder’s instructions and guidance about using logic models in proposal development and project management.

 

 

Introduction

This post looks at types of logic models. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, benefits of logic models, definitions of logic models, typical structures and elements for logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Types

Logic models are not all the same. There are at least three basic types, each with its own focus. Logic models can be created as single-focus constructs, or as constructs that combine two or more focuses. The best ones fit and reflect the needs of both the grant seeker and the specific funding opportunity.

 

Theory Models focus on the theory of change that underlies the design and work plan for a project. They are useful for identifying assumptions in selecting strategies and for linking them to activities. They are also useful in linking a research-based rationale to specific action steps.

 

Activities Models tend to focus on the specifics of implementation and the sequencing and coordination of planned activities. They are particularly useful for monitoring implementation and for project management.

 

Outcomes Models try to connect inputs and/or activities with desired results. They also sort outcomes and impacts over time (e.g., short-term, mid-term, and long-term). They are useful for developing plans for evaluation and other purposes related to accountability.

 

The table below sums up each type of model:

Types Key Questions Time Focuses Uses
Theory Why?

How?

Future Selecting strategies

and forecasting

Activities What?

How?

Who?

Present Monitoring

and coordinating

Outcomes So What?

How Well?

Past Evaluation

and reporting

 

For a more complete understanding of logic models, be sure to look for coming posts – particularly those about the structure of logic models and about samples of logic models.

 

 

 

Introduction

This post is about typical elements used in developing logic models. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Basic Elements

Although there is considerable variation in the available literature, most logic models appear to have six basic elements. Two or three of these focus on what an applicant plans to do. The others focus on what is to happen both while and after it is done. What follows is one of many schemas for the basic elements of a logic model.

 

Some of the available literature identifies six elements in a basic logic model (which can be sequenced left to right in a six-column table, as below):

 

Purpose and Context: What is the project’s scope of work? What is its overarching goal? Which specific audiences and systems will be expected to benefit? What problem or need or priority will it address?

 

Inputs or Resources: What resources are already available to do the work (finances, labor, facilities, other assets)? What further resources are needed?

 

Activities: With the available and requested inputs, what project activities will you implement? Over what span of time will you undertake them? In what sequence will they occur?

 

Outputs or Results: What events, products, or services will you deliver to target audiences through the project activities?

 

Participant Outcomes: How will participants’ awareness, knowledge, behavior, skills, or level of functioning change measurably subsequent to the activities and outputs?

 

Contextual Outcomes: How will organizations, operating environments, communities, policies, or other larger contexts change measurably subsequent to the activities and outputs?

 

Depending upon the type of model used (e.g., Theory, Outcomes, Activities) there are many variations in these elements. To get started, readers may want to explore the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) discussion of logic models.

 

Purpose and Context Inputs or Resources Activities Outputs or Results Participant Outcomes Contextual Outcomes

 

For more discussion of logic models, readers may want to visit the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL), and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Logic Model Development Guide (2006).

 

 

Introduction

This post presents several definitions of logic models. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, typical elements in logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Purposes

Applications to competitive grant programs commonly require a logic model. As visual and synoptic depictions, they are useful ways to represent how the parts relate to the whole.

 

There are nearly as many definitions of logic models as there are discrete logic models themselves. Among these definitions’ common aspects are that a logic model is a versatile planning tool, that it is a product of collective inputs, and that it is a simplified graphical representation of more detailed plans described in a proposal narrative.

 

Among the primary purposes of using logic models in proposals are to improve foresight in project planning, to facilitate effective implementation, to focus implementers’ efforts on attaining desired outcomes, and to ensure 360-degree accountability.

 

Definitions

Any online search of logic models soon turns up many explanations of what they are, what they do, and how they look. Among the many discoverable explanations are:

 

“A logic model is normally presented as a one page visual diagram…. It is an important tool that facilitates planning, implementation and evaluation of a project intervention…. There are a variety of formats by which a logic model may be presented…. (Public Safety Canada).”

 

“Typical logic models use table and flow chart formats… to catalogue program factors, activities, and results and to illustrate a program’s dimensions…. (W.K. Kellogg Foundation)“

 

“A logic model is a highly visual method of demonstrating relationships between project resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes (SEDL).”

 

“A key element of the logic model diagram is showing the linkages (via lines joining the various boxes) between the activities and the eventual outcomes/impacts (Public Safety Canada).”

 

IF-THEN Logic

Thinking through a logic model uses an IF-THEN sequential logic of relationships. If certain inputs are available, then certain activities can occur; if the activities occur, then certain outputs can be expected; if certain outputs occur, then certain outcomes are likely over time; and if certain outcomes occur, then the identified needs or problems should change.

 

“Logic models can be useful tools to demonstrate integrated, systemic planning in relation to the achievement of goals and expected outcomes (SEDL).”

 

“Logic models should be a dynamic tool that assists staff in planning, implementation, and assessment efforts (SEDL).”

 

“There is no one ‘best’ logic model ((W.K. Kellogg Foundation)” – except, perhaps, the one that a particular grant maker may require.

 

Introduction

Applications to competitive grant programs commonly require a logic model. Development and use of logic models are common practices in planning projects before seeking a grant. They are also common practices in implementing and evaluating projects after winning a grant.

 

This post looks at typical elements of logic models. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, definitions of logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Elements

In a compact form, a logic model represents key elements in a proposed Program Design (also called a Work Plan or Plan of Action), which is commonly submitted as part of a competitive grant proposal. Depending upon the specific funding opportunity, a logic model may identify most of these elements, if not all of them:

  1. A program design component
  2. A goal
  3. An objective (usually two or more per goal)
  4. A set of activities and/or strategies (usually two or more per objective)
  5. A timeline (with or without milestones)
  6. A plan for evaluation
  7. An assignment of persons responsible
  8. A budget allocation (representing one or more budget line items)

 

Developing a Logic Model

In creating a logic model for a grant proposal, several elements are typically necessary:

 

Component: Captures the programmatic focus of one or more goal.

Example: Leadership Development

 

Goal: States the broad intention of one or more objectives.

Example: To increase school principals’ skills in leading community engagement.

 

Objective: States the specific focus of effort defined in terms of measurable results.

Example: To increase 80% or more of 80 participating principals’ leadership skills through 10 hours of training in how to implement best practices in community engagement during the 2018-19 school year.

 

Activities: Indicates what the applicant’s staff (and/or its partners) will do to accomplish an objective.

Examples: (1) Organize and conduct a two-day (12-hour) Leadership Retreat. (2) Hold two three-hour follow-up sessions during the project period.

 

Timeline: Specifies when staff will complete the activities for an objective.

Example: Retreat: 08/2018. Follow-up: 12/2018 and 04/2019.

 

Evaluation: Determines whether, and to what degree, an objective is met.

Examples: Attendance, pre-post surveys, principals’ records, and community feedback surveys.

 

Staff Responsible: Identifies who will do the activities, by position title.

Example: Consultants, Professional Development Director, and Internal Evaluator.

 

Budget: Allocates funding to support accomplishing an objective.

Example: Specific amounts allocated to various appropriate cost categories and line items.

 

 

 

Introduction

Data drive the lives of grant proposals from cradle to grave. For better or worse, they do so in assessing needs, again in articulating objectives, and yet again in developing evaluation plans.

 

Performance Indicators

One defining aspect of an objective is its performance indicator or criterion for success. For each indicator a grant recipient must collect, analyze, and report data that measure the degree to which a criterion is being met or has been met.

 

In formulating objectives in a grant proposal, selection of any given performance indicator should occur only after a careful consideration of alternatives. Each alternative affects the entire evaluation and influences its usefulness to end-users.

 

Among useful questions that proposal planners should ask for each performance indicator are:

 

Sources

  • What data do you need in order to measure it?
  • Does it permit you to use existing sources of data?
  • Does it require you to generate new sources of data?
  • Is an appropriate instrument available to generate such data?
  • Must you create a new instrument to generate data?

 

Constraints

  • Is it practical to create a new instrument in terms of time?
  • Is it practical to do so in terms of cost?
  • Is it practical to do so in terms of available staff expertise?
  • Is it practical to do so in terms of logistics?

 

Time

  • When will you collect data?
  • Will you collect data only before and after the project?
  • How often will you collect data during the project?
  • How long after the project ends will you continue to collect data?

 

Design

  • How will you collect data?
  • Will you use an experimental or quasi-experimental design?
  • Will you use pre/post assessments?
  • Will you develop your own instruments (e.g., surveys, questionnaires)?
  • Will you conduct interviews?
  • How will you ensure each instrument is fit for its intended purpose?

 

Expertise

  • Who will gather the data?
  • Will you hire an external evaluator?
  • What skills and expertise must the evaluator have?
  • What will it cost to use an evaluator?
  • Who will analyze and interpret the data?

 

Audiences

  • Who are your audiences for the data?
  • What do these audiences need to know?
  • Who will report the data?
  • How will report recipients use the reported data?

 

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