The Basics of Grant Writing: Program Development


Right now I’m taking a grant writing class through the Jefferson County Public Schools Lifelong Learning Program here in Louisville, Kentucky. Yesterday’s lesson was Program Development so I thought I’d share a few gems I gleaned from the class, seeing as how it is relevant to the non-profit and social enterprise sectors:

•What is Program Development?
It is important to remember that funders look at the root cause of an organization. They look to see what the effects of this root cause, or mission, are. That’s where program development is important. It’s easy for funders to identify a start and end to a program written within a grant, but what is important is the stuff in between, or the details of how you plan to accomplish everything.

•Fleshing It Out
The logistics of the “how” part of the grant should be written in a series of goals and objectives. Goals do not have to measurable, they are the broad outcomes of an intended project. Objectives on the other hand, must be specific, measurable and tangible. These are the outputs. Here’s an example:

Goal: To create 50% more jobs for organization A.
Objective: Create 4 job skill workshops per month.

Ideally each goal should have three objectives that explain how it will be carried out. In sum a general outline of a grant writing format looks like this:

Mission of Organization
Goal 1
Objective 1
Objective 2
Objective 3
Goal 2….

•Other tips:

Funders often look to see how your project is going to be sustainable. Be sure to include self-sustaining mechanisms that are already in place, such as tuition, sales, etc. In-kind donations in the form of capital can also be included in this, such as computers. Be sure to write it as its market value. Example: $10,000 worth of computers.

Stay up to date on hot topics in politics, grants are always sure to follow in these fields. For example, my instructor said that because education and healthcare are two of President Obama’s big domestic issues she expects to see a rise in these types of grants.

Although non-profits have especially taken a hit in the economy, my instructor said that grants are still out there, just that their stipulations and guidelines have changed and become more stringent. For example, she said an organization might still give away $5,000 worth of grants but give away five $1,000 grants instead of 10 grants each worth $500.



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