How to Write S.M.A.R.T. Funding Objectives
Writing objectives for your RMSFF grant application can be tricky. It’s hard not to be too general and/or lofty (i.e., strategic plan level goals). In reality, the program for which you request funding is probably nested as one step within your strategic plan. And, to complete all your program work requires several more steps. Think of those steps as program objective(s) and write them accordingly.
In writing good program objectives for your grant application, it might be helpful to first and last ask yourself a set of questions.
- Is the objective you’ve written Specific?
- Is it Measurable?
- Is it Achievable with the activities you have in mind and/or what do you Anticipate will be the result of those activities?
- Do you have the Resources (time, money, staff, collaboration) to pull it off?
- Is it time-bound with a Timeline?
These questions result in a helpful acronym (also a good word): S.M.A.R.T. You will find different takes on this objective-writing model; here’s ours with some examples we hope are helpful.
|S||Be Specific. Provide a Specific Description of what you will do with RMSFF funding.||We will acquire and implement new software to track and report our program’s effectiveness.|
|M||Tell us how you intend to Measure the above and its results.||Administer pre- and post-program participant surveys on line.|
|A||What you hope to Achieve or Anticipate will be the result of your activity and our funding?||Last year only 28 percent of our participants responded to the survey; we expect a 50 percent increase in our participant response rate due to new software and online survey.|
|R||What Resources – time, money, staff, partnership – will you need in addition to our funding to achieve your objective?||Partnership with an outside organization to help with software implementation and training.|
|T||What’s the projected Timeline you have in mind to achieve this specific program objective?||Activity will begin in late spring and be completed by fall of 2016 in time to collect summer program participant feedback.|
Once you’ve moved through the exercise above, you can pull it all together and write one paragraph in your grant application that best describes your program objective. This tells us a lot to begin with; and it can be a helpful guide at the end of your grant cycle when you write your follow-up report.
Combined Example of above:
Program Objective #1 – By Fall of 2020, our participant survey response rate will increase from 28 percent to over 50 percent as a result of acquiring and implementing new software, staff training, a partnership with our software vendor and the resulting convenience of an online survey for our program participants.
We’ve provided a couple of worksheets for you to download and use, if you like. For those who just want a paper reference or to write by hand, one download is in a .pdf format and you can find it here. For those who like to write on their computer, the other download is in .doc format and you can find it here.