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Producing aims, objectives, outcomes and a statement of impact for your project

In applying for a grant for a project, you should be clear about its aims, objectives and outcomes.  Doing this will help you articulate what the project is really about; it will discipline your project description so it doesn’t come across as well-meaning but woolly. Also it will make it easier to show how you will monitor and evaluate the project, something funders nearly always look for nowadays (see also our Recipe: Monitoring and Evaluation).

Serves – any organisation that plans to tender or seek grant aid, including NGOs, voluntary and community organisations.

Preparation – up to 2 days depending on the complexity of the application.

Cooking time – 1-6 months waiting for a decision.

Photo courtesy of Flicr
Photo courtesy of Flicr



  • Desired changes
  • Anticipated results
  • Activities
  • Broader, long term effects


  1. First, take the desired changes, i.e. those that your project is trying to achieve, and write these down. Draft a concise statement in one or two short sentences. Play around with the wording until you are happy that your statement clearly describes the anticipated impact of your project. You then have your overall aim.


  1. Chop up this overall aim by breaking it down into a short list of anticipated results statements of what you wish to accomplish in a bit more detail. To “hook” the funder, use visionary words. Try words such as decrease, deliver, develop, establish, increase, produce, and provide. This list of statements will be your project’s goals. Examples of such goals are: “To increase girls’ attendance in secondary school” or “To reduce the incidences of diarrhoea in primary school age children”.


  1. Consider your project’s activities (or practical steps) that you envisage will be required in order to accomplish its aims. Express this as a short list of what you will do. For example, a project whose aim was to help a community improve literacy skills might: (a) carry out a community survey to identify people with literacy difficulties; (b) provide a one-to-one literacy mentor for 150 of those identified; (c) run three series of 6 two hour workshops for 25 people on writing at a community centre. These will be your objectives. Note: where possible they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART) and should identify the target audience or community being served.


  1. Then, make your To do this, pick up your anticipated results and restate them in such a way as to set out the changes, benefits, learning or other effects that will happen as a result of your work. Again, only a short list is required, and where possible the SMART rule should be applied. Also, write your outcomes so that they can be measured later. For example, the anticipated results for the above literacy project might include “By the end of the project 95 people will report an improved ability to read and write in their local language” and “By the end of the project 76 people will report that they can now read and understand health information notices”.


5.       Finally, top up your application with what you see as your project’s credible broader, long term

effects.  These will be the effects on the community, environment  and/or local economy as a

whole, beyond the project outcomes you have described. By doing this you are describing the

project’s impact. For example, a literacy skills project might give the beneficiaries the confidence

to take a more active part in community life, thus strengthening the community, and increase

the prospects of their finding employment, this reducing deprivation in their household and in

their local area.



Now use what you have produced to prepare a complete funding application: see Recipe 1 –Fundraising from trusts and foundations: the basics.