Listen to the FULL podcast on iTunesSoundCloud, Spotify, or Stitcher


The “N” in the G.R.A.N.T.S. Formula

By Holly Rustick


We are halfway through our series on the G.R.A.N.T.S. Formula, a proven strategy I’ve been using for nearly 15 years in securing grants.

Last week, we covered the A - Articulate Goals. This week, we are landing on N for Narrowing your Objectives.

This actually is one of my favorite parts about writing a grant. I love writing objectives! Why? Well, if the goal is the anchor, the objectives are the tangible ‘how’ of writing a grant. These can either be the ‘wow, that’s cool!’ part of a grant, or they can be the ‘no way, that’s never gonna happen’ section.

Your objectives are really how you will actually accomplish the goal. But if they are not SMART objectives then your entire grant just falls apart.

I am going to break down how to create amazing Objectives with just five simple steps.



Narrowing Your Objectives


Objectives are how you are going to meet your goals. Narrowing down your objectives is imperative to writing a competitive grant proposal.

I use the S.M.A.R.T. formula to narrow down all my objectives! This is one of the most IMPORTANT steps in a grant as it will drive your project and your budget. If you do not have S.M.A.R.T. objectives, then your project will usually sound messy and confusing. You can easily eliminate any confusion by using this process:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant/Realistic
  • Time-bound
First, let’s review the non-profit example we have been using over the last couple of weeks.

The first week was all about your outline for the grant. The second week, I wrote about doing your research for your Needs Section where we devised this problem statement:

The teenage pregnancy rate in New Mexico is the highest in the nation, with 62 out of 1,000 teenage youth pregnant compared to the U.S. average of 18.8 (CDC, 2017).

After that, I discussed how to articulate your goal or goals. For our example, we defined our goal as:

The Project will increase fiscal management and job wages for pregnant teenagers and teenage parents.

This week, we need to narrow our objectives to show a roadmap on how we are going to reach our Goal.

Let’s break this down into each part of the acronym S.M.A.R.T., and by the end, you will have an entire objective.


Watch the video and Subscribe to our YouTube Channel! yes


What are your objectives? Are they S.M.A.R.T.?


Let’s analyze these objective examples:

  • 100 pregnant youth or teenage parents will receive 20 hours of financial literacy training by July 31st 2020.
  • 75 pregnant youth or teenage parents will have completed their GED or High School diploma by June 30, 2020.
  • 20 pregnant youth or teenage parents will be employed by December 31st, 2020.
  1. Specific: Identify the outcomes that will be achieved. Ex. We will focus on 100 pregnant youth or teenage parents' financial literacy, 75 for completion of GED / High School diploma, and 20 for employment.
  2. Measurable: Use quantifiable terms to describe how the progress will be measured. Ex. Number of youth; i.e. 100 for financial literacy, 75 for GED/HS diploma, 20 for employment Ex. Specific completion: i.e. 20 hours of financial literacy, completion of a degree, employment.
  3. Achievable: Is the objective achievable within the duration of the project, resources, budget, etcetera? Ex. This would be balanced by the needs and the number of current youth served. So if the nonprofit serves 300 pregnant youth or teenage parents in housing projects, then these numbers may be very achievable. However, if they only served 20 youths currently, they would need a good recruitment plan.
  4. Relevant: Does the objective relate to the problem statement and goal? Ex. Yes, these are possible solutions to help pregnant youth and teenage parents get out of teenage poverty and to break the cycle of teenage pregnancy.
  5. Time-bound: Do you have a date for the objective to be completed by? Ex. These objectives have varying end dates. The first objective is longer as maybe the financial literacy program will happen during the summer. The second objective is by the end of a school year, and the third objective gives more time (by the end of a year) for workforce placement after degree and financial literacy has been received.

You can see how these objectives can set you apart from someone who doesn’t utilize the S.M.A.R.T. objective and may just state, “To have youth learn financial literacy, graduate, and get degrees.”

The difference is you have a plan and they have a wish. Remember, your goal without a deadline is just a wish!

Alright, so to review how to write a S.M.A.R.T. objective is it needs to be:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant/Realistic
  • Time-bound

I’ll see you next week when we go over how to develop timetable activities for your objectives. We are peeling the onion layers back even more! If you are a visual learner, you are going to love next week’s post!


If you can’t wait for the next steps, click here to get your FREE cheat sheet and mini video training that covers the entire G.R.A.N.T.S Formula!


Listen to the FULL podcast on iTunesSoundCloud, Spotify, or Stitcher