Grant Writing for Beginners: Writing a Description of Your Project
This blog is part of our new series, Grant Writing for Beginners. The series addresses all stages of preparing a grant proposal, from writing a Letter of Inquiry to submitting a complete proposal. This post continues the series by outlining key components of the project description.
First Needs, Now What?
Once you identify and define your need statement, how will you show that your school will address that need? The project description explores the goals and execution of the program, sustainability, and outcomes.
Describe Your Project
Up until now, the main focus of your proposal has been to establish your school’s credibility and capabilities, as well as the need for your project. Now the focus turns to details of how your project will be carried out. The project description highlights how your project will be implemented, what will be accomplished, and what the outcome will be—all framed around the funder’s interests and goals.
Map Out Goals and Objectives
The project description should outline the goals and objectives of your program—and make a clear distinction between the two.
Goals are broad statements describing the action you intend to take and the resulting outcome. Goals are conceptual and do not have clear measures for success.
Objectives decompose your goals into specific steps. For each goal, there should be two to five objectives. When writing objectives, a helpful acronym to remember is SMART, which stands for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Each objective should meet all of the components of SMART.
To illustrate the difference between goals and objectives, let’s review an example of a program working to increase the graduation rates for students at a local high school.
Goal: Increase high school graduation rates at Orchard High School.
Objective: Reduce the dropout rate for students in grades 9–12 at Orchard High School from 37 percent to 25 percent by the end of the 2017–2018 school year.
Writing effective goals and objectives is essential to a strong proposal. You can find more in-depth information in our Goals, Objectives, and Outcomes post.
Projects and programs that are sustainable beyond the grant period are often desirable to funders. Even if only a key component of the program will be sustained, funders are interested in hearing more about it. There are five possible options for sustaining a program.
1. Seeking Another Grant
Research if there are other grant makers that have awarded similar grants in your school district.
2. Fundraising, In-kind Donations, and Volunteers
Discuss a plan for fundraising or describe in-kind donations you will be receiving.
3. Dues and Fees
Consider the funds your program may bring in from collecting dues or fees. Describe how that funding could support the program.
4. Passing the Program to Another Organization
Assess whether another organization can take over the project once it’s successful—especially if your program ties into the mission of a community organization.
5. Products of the Program
Determine if one of the outcomes of your program will be a resource guide or website that will continue to serve people beyond the funding period.
The project description should convey many of the key details of the project to the funder. Take the time to write strong goals and objectives and to detail the most important features of your program.