Setting Objectives and Measuring Outcomes
Your proposal’s objectives will be informed by:
- The funder’s priorities and goals
- Your identified need
- Your organisation’s mission and vision.
There are at least four types of objectives (see table below). Depending on the nature of your proposal, applications may include more than one type of objective.
Present the objectives clearly, making sure that they stand out on the page. Where possible, use numbers, bullets, or indentations to clearly denote the objectives in the text.
|Behavioural||A human action is anticipated|
|Performance||The behaviour will occur within a specific timeframe and at an expected level of proficiency|
|Process||How the actions were implemented is an end in itself|
|Product||A tangible item results|
One way of writing the objectives of your application is to use the S.M.A.R.T method.
Specific objectives should answer 6 questions:
- Who - Who is involved?
- What - What do you want to accomplish?
- Where - Identify a location
- When - Establish a timeframe
- Which - Identify what activities you will undertake and the resources and materials you need
- Why - Detail the reasons, purpose or benefits of the goal.
For measurable objectives you must establish criteria for measuring progress. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask:
- How many?
- How much?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable objectives help you prioritise your actions and activities and establish what you need to do to accomplish your goals. To determine if your goal is attainable, ask:
- How can it be done?
Your objectives should be realistic. Only you can decide how high you should aim. Consider what you are both willing and able to do. Ask yourself:
- What have you accomplished previously?
- Why does it matter?
Timely objectives are grounded within a timeframe. Otherwise there is no urgency or priority given to your activities. They incorporate short and medium term objectives. Consider:
- What conditions need to exist for the goal to be accomplished?
- By when?
Tangible objectives may be the production of reports, brochures, community events, or the implementation of a new service or extension of an existing one.
When preparing your objectives, complete the Your Objectives Checklist (see Activity 6.5.1).
Measuring Outputs and Outcomes
Funders are accountable for the money they donate to organisations and increasingly request information about the organisation's operations, activities, outputs, and outcomes. Measuring outcomes is therefore an important component of service delivery and managing your funding.
Alcohol and other drug non-government organisations should proactively allocate resources into developing and maintaining output and outcome measurement processes to ensure their organisation can:
- Articulate their processes for continuous quality improvement
- Quantify results if they want support for ongoing programs.
When assessing your proposal, funders will expect you to outline an evaluation plan. Your evaluation plan will need to identify:
- The activities undertaken
- The services or products created
- Your key performance indicators
- How your results will be evaluated.
Answer the questions:
- What did we do?
- How did we do it?
- What did it achieve?
- What could we improve on?
An outcome is the end result of a program. It may be intended or unintended and can be either positive or negative. Outcomes are ways of measuring whether your program or practice has achieved its aims.
Specifying outcomes will give you opportunities to measure the success of your program. You can break down the outcomes into indicators which will also enable you to track how the program is progressing.
For alcohol and other drug agencies, outcomes may include both changes in consumer health as well as improvements in staff knowledge and service quality.
An outcome statement should be specific, focused, easily interpreted, and:
- Identify the intended result(s) of the agency, with the level of achievement against the intended result(s) being measured
- Specify the target group(s) of the program/service
- Specify the activities undertaken by the agency that contribute to the achievement of the intended result(s).
Focus on the positive outcomes your proposal will achieve and identify what improvement looks like. Such outcomes may include:
- How your proposal may strengthen the community
- Increased collaboration between community services sectors
- Improved access to and quality of services
- Improvements in client health, housing and other experiences.
Features of Good Proposals
A good proposal will demonstrate to funders that you:
- Know your community
- Collaborate with others to accomplish the best results for your community and consumers
- Are knowledgeable about the best methods to employ and/or innovative in your approach
- Have identified objectives and outcomes and are committed to achieving them (see table below).
Features of Good Proposals
Know your community
Identify your targeted need using information obtained from local sources, literature reviews, and government policies
Demonstrate your proposal's objectives address the need and align with your funder's priorities
Work together - who can help?
Outline which organisations and community members will be involved in the planning, development and implementation of your proposal
Demonstrate your proposal involves a broad range of stakeholders and will contribute to increased cooperation between services
Demonstrate how the input of volunteers strengthens your proposal
Outline how your proposal will enhance the wellbeing of community members and incorporate strategies for involving disadvantaged and marginalised populations in the design and management of your proposal
Try new things - is everyone involved?
Demonstrate what you have provided before and what new services and/or processes you will be employing to maximise impact
Provide information which details the success and/or gaps in current services provided
Emphasise how your approach is different and why it is needed
Will it make a lasting difference?
Explain how your proposal will provide a lasting positive impact for the wider community beyond the direct funding period
Detail how you will monitor progress and assess impact
WHAT WILL IT ACHIEVE?
The cartoon image was sourced from http://www.govint.org/our-services/outcomes/.
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