N: Narrow S.M.A.R.T. Objectives

Hi Changemakers!

We are getting 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 went over the A (Articulate Goals) and this week we are landing on N for Narrowing your Objectives.

I love writing objectives. This actually is one of my favorite parts about writing a grant! 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 every 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.

Today, I am going to break down how to amazing Objectives with five simple steps. If you want to grab the downloadable for your Cheat Sheet and free mini, video-series to follow along with the G.R.A.N.T.S. formula! Just visit www.grantwritingandfunding.com/84.

Objectives are the 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 usually will sound messy and confusing. You can easily eliminate any confusion by using this process:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant/Realistic
  • Time-bound

We are first going to review the example we have been using over the last couple of weeks. This is a nonprofit….

If you want to check out these podcasts, the first one is all about your outline for the grant and is episode 83, the next one I spoke about how to do your research for your Needs Section in episode 84 where we devised a 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).

We then went onto Episode 85 where I discussed how to articulate your goal or goals and for our example, we defined our goal as: The Project will increase fiscal management and job wages for pregnant teenagers and teenage parents.

So now we need to narrow our objectives so that we 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 one entire objective.

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

Ex.

  • 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.

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.

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 degree, employment.

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 youth currently, they would need a good recruitment plan.

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 of teenage poverty and to break the cycle of teenage pregnancy.

Time-bound: Do you have a date for the objective to be completed by?

Tip: Start off with the end in the beginning of the objective, such as; By the end of 12 months…

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) to give time for workforce placement after degree and financial literacy has been received.

Okay, now put an objective together and use this activity for further objectives. What is your objective? Is it S.M.A.R.T.?

  • 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.

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

The difference is yours is a plan and theirs is 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 episode!

In the meantime, grab the downloadable for your Cheat Sheet and free mini, video-series to follow along with the G.R.A.N.T.S. formula! Just visit www.grantwritingandfunding.com/84