How to Frame Goals and Objectives in a Project Proposal

Goals and objectives form the most important part of a project proposal and one should pay great attention while framing them. Setting the goal is often the first step towards developing a proposal as it lays the foundation for the project. Next in process is defining objectives that would help in achieving the goal. Program managers should not overlook both these steps as, well drafted goals and objectives facilitate in developing an articulate proposal that has high chances of getting funded.

A well written proposal always has clearly defined goal and SMART objectives to attain the desired goal.

To begin with, let us understand what a Goal and an Objective means and the difference between them.

  1. Goal: It is a broad statement that defines what you plan to do in a project. It gives an idea to the reader of what problem your organization intends to address.
  2. Objective: These are detailed statements describing the ways through which you intend to achieve the goal.

Goals and Objectives in a Project Proposal

Now that the difference between a goal and an objective is clear, we will look at ways to write quality goals and objectives.

Framing a quality Goal

  1. Do not write a vague goal: Even though Goal is a broad statement, it does not mean that the project goal should be vague. Your goal should be clearly written so that the reader understands your purpose towards proposing a project.
  2. Goal should be in line with the problem statement: Goal of the proposal shows the reader your intention towards solving a particular problem and therefore the goal should be in line with the problem statement. For instance if your problem statement relates to aspects of poverty and issues related to poor and marginalized families in a particular region then your goal should state that you seek to alleviate poverty in the area through the proposed project.
  3. Goal should be consistent with your organizations mission and vision statement: As your organization addresses certain social and developmental issues, keep these in mind while you draft proposals and write goals. For example if your organization works for street children then the goal of the proposal should be relevant to your primary stakeholders.
  4. Use simple language to write a goal: Avoid use of jargons and technical words to write a goal. Use language that is easy to understand by people, not something for which people have to use a dictionary.
  5. Keep only one goal for a proposal: Try to keep one goal for the proposal as having multiple goals in a particular project only creates confusion. As the goal is a broad statement it will surely encompass multiple things which would be addressed through the various objectives.

Framing quality Objectives

Once you have a logical and well reasoned goal, you have to frame three/four objectives that would help you in achieving the particular goal.

  1. Objectives should address the 5 Ws: While framing the objectives ensure that they provide answers to the 5Ws:
  • Why: are you proposing a particular thing?
  • What: approach will you adopt to reach the desired goal?
  • When: will you conduct the particular project?
  • Where: will you implement the project?
  • Who: will be the primary stakeholders/beneficiaries or who will be doing a particular thing in a project?

This is an easy way to frame objectives that provide detailed strategy for accomplishing the desired impact.

  1. Objectives should support the goal: it is very important that each of your objectives contributes and supports in achieving the goal. For instance if the goal of the project, is to improve maternal health in XYZ area, then each of the objective should contribute and suggest measures for improving maternal health.
  2. Objectives should follow a logical order: while framing the objectives, one should always remember that objectives should be logically placed, which simply means that while implementing a project a step by step procedure should be in place. This will also help you in planning all the activities accordingly.
  3. Frame SMART objectives: most of the program mangers might have heard about this acronym for framing quality objectives. SMART mean objectives that are
  • Specific: This means that the objectives should be clear and unambiguous, giving details of how and what you intend to achieve.
  • Measurable: This means that the objectives should be quantifiable so that one can see if they are being achieved or not. This can be done by assigning a numeric value to your objective by answering questions like: How many? How much? By when?
  • Achievable: This means that the objective should be feasible, viable and within the control/capacity of the organization. While drafting the objective, the organization should keep in mind its own capacity, constraints and abilities to achieve the objective.
  • Realistic: When you draft the objective ensure that they are realistic and can be attained within the available resources and time frame.
  • Time – bound: It is important to give a time-frame for completing a particular objective. This helps in timely delivery of the outputs and outcomes without unnecessary delays.
  1. Use action verbs while drafting objectives: whenever you frame objectives use active verbs like create, identify, promote, enhance, increase, and develop etc.. These verbs help in describing the course of action and give clarity to your object.
  2. Keep 3-4 objectives: Most experts recommend keeping three to four objectives in a proposal. Each objective will further have several activities and tasks to be undertaken and therefore having many objectives will just complicate project implementation.

Let us take a few examples to explain what we actually mean by quality goal and objectives.

Example 1.

Goal: Improve livelihood of tribal population of 5 villages in XYZ District using local resource based approach.

Objective 1. To promote local community based institutions by formation of 5 Primary Collectors Group to empower the tribal communities, in XYZ District by the end of first quarter.

Objective 2. To build capacities of 500 tribal families through 10 training sessions on collection, grading and primary processing of identified products in the first year.

Objective 3. To enhance income of the trained population by 30% through establishment of sustainable market linkages for the sale of the NTFP collected, by the end of second year.

Example 2.

Goal: Ensuring quality education to the deprived urban children living slums of ABC city through a participatory and responsive community action.

3.2 Project Objectives:

Objective 1. To enhance awareness of parents in target locations on importance of education, through 5 sensitization camps to be organized in the first month.

Objective 2. To develop child friendly education system for imparting quality education to 200 children aged between 6- 14 yrs, and motivating them towards formal education system through our evening classes.

Objective 3. Fifty percent of program participants are registered in government schools by the end of their first year of participation in the program, through networking and liaising with school authorities.

The examples above have broad statements as their goals, but both of these clearly indicate to the reader what the project intends to do. They are not vague as they mention about the geographical location, target beneficiaries and the approach for achieving the respective goals. The three objectives supporting the goal also clearly define ways of how they would contribute in improving the livelihoods and ensuring quality education of the primary project beneficiaries respectively. They follow the SMART principle, answering all the details of why, what, where, when and who of the project.

Remember that framing goals and objectives is the most important section of the proposal and it takes time to create meaningful proposal. Setting logical and articulated objectives will help you to develop a proposal that will have higher chances to get funded and thereby help you in creating a positive impact in the society. The simple steps suggested in the guide will help you in taking the first step of developing a successful proposal.

How to write engaging case studies to demonstrate impact

A case study is a very important qualitative method of capturing impact. It is an approach to qualitative research with focus on specific in-depth analysis of a particular case, incident, story, or event. For NGOs, case studies reflect successes of a particular program(s) in terms of changing people’s lives, with ‘voice’ of the people impacted. Well-researched and well-documented case studies win hearts, and may even win donors!

So here are a few tips on how to write engaging case studies to demonstrate impact of your work:

  1. Start right:

Set the pace of the case study right from the beginning. Start off at a very interesting note; create a mental image for the reader about the situation. Or, start with emotionally engaging note, surprise element or shock element. For example, “Nikita was very scared to go to school because she was bullied by her classmates and teased about her mother’s profession, sex work.’’ Make the opening lines attention grabbing, so that the reader is intrigued and bound to read further.

How to write engaging case studies

  1. The ‘before’ and ‘after’:

Case studies are all about the ‘change’ brought about by your work or program. Include the situation prior to the program, to demonstrate the differential impact. The situation prior to the program, the specific help or work, or intervention for changing the situation, and the changed picture are the three main elements of a case study. Make sure that the overall flow of the case study includes all three.

  1. Include specific information:

Specific information does not mean including confidential beneficiary information. Names of persons, places, etc. can be changed to protect the confidentiality of the information of beneficiaries. Yet, changed names and other information can be included to give a spin to the story, speak about the impact in ‘people’s voices’, and to make the story engaging for the reader.

These 3 simple basics of writing a case study can make demonstrating the impact of your work easier, more engaging for the reader. Case stories reflect the inspirational people, incidents and events, and the reader starts trusting your work as well. These readers may trust you to enough to donate and contribute towards your cause in future, you never know!

Steps to write a crowd funding pitch

Crowdfunding for non-profits, social enterprises, start-ups and other causes and organizations has been really successful method of raising funds recently. Many organizations have gained a lot from successful crowdfunding campaigns, and their ventures have taken off with the help of these resources. A crowdfunding pitch is the first level of contact with the donors/ funders and the general public. It is very important to create a pitch that clearly spreads the word about your work, while conveying what change a donor or aid can bring about.

Here are 5 simple steps to create a clear and succinct, short and effective pitch for crowdfunding. We will use examples to understand each step:

  1. Introduction:

First, introduce the situation briefly to set the context. Give a brief about the broader scenario, the extent of the problem at hand. You may also use numbers or other data here.

Example: “India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world with 2.4 million Indians accounting for about four out of 10 people infected with the deadly virus in the Asia—Pacific region’’, says a UN report. Among the states in India, Maharashtra has a very high HIV prevalence of 0.40%, which is even higher than the national average of 0.35%.”

Now the reader knows the extent of the problem at hand, and the seriousness of the situation. 

  1. Now explain what problem you will address:

“For HIV-AIDS patients in Maharashtra, it is a very difficult situation. A penniless, Maharashtra State Aids Control Society (MSACS), which distributes free drugs to HIV patients, has medicines and condoms supply left for just a few weeks! With no funds, the MSACS issued a circular to NGOs to cut down on 25% of their work force which distributes syringes, medicines and kits to AIDS patients, till March 2016.

This will have drastic consequences in the fight against the disease, especially since Maharashtra has as many as 3 lakh HIV and AIDS patients who might be left without treatment as the free medicine distribution programme is set to run out of medicines very soon. The supply of testing kits and anti-retroviral drugs (medicines to treat AIDS), has been erratic since December 2013. As the HIV drugs are very expensive, more than a third of HIV and AIDS patients seek free anti-retroviral drugs from government centres.”

It is clear now that your crowdfunding pitch is focused on solving this problem.

  1. Involve the reader: use attention grabbing headlines:

Use shocking scenarios to make the reader understand the gravity of the situation in simple terms. Example in the current context: “Just imagine, a disruption in the treatment of an HIV infected pregnant woman will result in the child getting infected with HIV in the womb.” 

  1. How do you aim to solve the problem:

Now come to the solution, and what you do, what you aim to do and how you will do to address the problem. “Organization XXX is an NGO/ YY established in 1975 by Mr/ Mrs/ Dr…….. is committed to the betterment of lives of people living with HIV AIDS, their families and communities and is able to achieve this by support from some national and international agencies, and with the help of passionate individuals like you. With your help, we can help these individuals in getting access to the treatment and medicines for HIV AIDS, so that they and their families live with dignity and safety.”

  1. How the reader can help??

This is the most important part of the funding proposal and pitch. The reader now looks for ways to support your work or organization. He/ she needs to have simple, precise yet adequate information about how he/ she may contribute. Make sure you ask for what you need very clearly. Ways and methods of payment, communication and feedback must be also made very clear here.

Example in this scenario: “How you can help save lives – by financial contribution in the following ways:- 1. Mention amounts- with flexible options for the donor. 2. Modes of contribution: Online payment (Netbanking/ Payment Gateway)/ Cheque/ DD. 3. Please find attached the details of our work against HIV AIDS. You may visit our website ________ for details. 4. Do write back to us or contact the undersigned on the address/ telephone number given below in case you need any clarifications. 5. Conclude and thank: We look forward to join hands with you against this deadly disease, and thank you again for your intent to contribute towards this noble cause.”

Infographic: How to summarize a Full Proposal into a Short Concept Note

Not every donor will be interested to outrightly read your full proposal. Ideally, a successful fundraiser would first approach the donor with a concept note that outlines the full project idea in a concise manner. In this infographic, you will come across useful tips to summarize your proposal into a short concept note.

APN Proposal Development Training Workshop for Young Scientists/Practitioners, Mongolia (5-7 November 2015)

Deadline: 15 August 2015

Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) is currently inviting applications from its member countries for the Annual Proposal Development Training Workshop (PDTW) which will be held from 5 to 7 November 2015 in Mongolia. The training workshop is designed to enhance the capacity of young scientists and practitioners in the Temperate East Asia region to develop competitive project proposals for funding.

The PDTW is open to young scientists from the Temperate East Asia region and working in the area of Land Use and Climate Change in Temperate East Asia. A maximum of 25 young/early carrier scientists and practitioners will be selected for the training workshop. Based on the financial resources available, the APN will financially support 15 young/early-career scientists/practitioners.

Focus Countries

  • For Financial Support, only these APN Member countries are eligible to apply- China, Japan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea or Russian Federation.
  • For self funding, Applications from all APN Member Countries will be considered. This include- Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States of America, and Viet Nam.

Workshop Topic/Research Topics

  • The main topic of the present workshop will be: Land Use and Climate Change
  • The workshop will focus on the following priority research topics taken from the APN’s fourth Strategic Plan:
    • Assessment and enhancement of land use sustainability
    • Nature, extent, causes and impacts of land use and land cover change
    • Global environment change and land use planning
    • Urban land use change

Course Structure

The training workshop will be conducted over three days (5–7 November 2015) and will comprise three main parts that are: (1) Field visit (2) Interactive lectures; and (3) Hands-on training exercises. The field visit on the first day will provide a networking opportunity for young scientists in the region to get to know each other. The second part aims to provide an overview of APN’s calls for proposals for funded activities, its review process, together with guidelines on project proposal writing. In the third part, pre-determined break-out groups comprising four to five young scientists each will develop proposals with support from assigned mentors.

Read the benefits, eligibility criteria and application process for APN Training Workshop 2015 in the Next article.


Benefits, Eligibility & Application Procedure for APN Proposal Development Training Workshop

Benefits of Attending APN Proposal Development Training Workshop

  • Participants will receive a certificate after completion of the three-day training programme.
  • During the workshop, breakfast and lunch will be served for all participants.
  • Selected participants may attend APN Third Science-Policy Dialogue on “Land Use and Climate Change in Temperate East Asia from 2-4 November 2015.
  • Sponsorship for successful applicants will cover the cost of economy class air tickets, accommodation and daily subsistence allowances.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Young/early-career scientists/practitioners 40 years of age or under can apply for the PDTW (research students/research assistants and post-docs are encouraged).
  • He/she should be working in areas of, or have academic experience related to, the main topic of the workshop.
  • He/she must be one of the following:
    • An undergraduate degree holder with five years of related working experience;
    • A postgraduate working towards a PhD or Master’s;
    • A Master’s degree holder with two years of related working experience;
    • A PhD degree holder;
    • A postdoctoral student.
  • He/she must currently be affiliated to an academic or national/regional research institution.
  • He/she must have a good working knowledge of the English language.
  • Participants will be selected on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Those who intend to apply on a self-funded basis can be within or outside the sub-region, but their intended work must focus on the Temperate East Asia Region and the applicant must be from one of APN’s member/approved countries.
  • Applicants requiring funding support will ONLY be accepted from those young scientists/practitioners who are from, living and working in the APN member countries of China, Japan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea or Russian Federation.
  • Those who have previously participated in earlier PDTW training Workshops are not eligible to apply.

Application Procedure for APN Proposal Development Training Workshop

To apply to participate in the PDTW, follow these steps:

  • Complete and submit the online application form for the PDTW through the APN website.
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from your affiliated institution.
  • Submit a short motivation essay.
  • Submit your resume/CV (maximum 2 pages).

For more information, please visit APN Workshop.


Download a Great Sample Proposal on ‘Women’s Livelihood Development’

Building livelihoods through microenterprises for women is one of the remarkable ideas for developing sustainability, improving household income and creating jobs in the poorest regions of the world. A lot of donor agencies including the USAID, the World Bank and the United Nations emphasize upon enhancing the business development skills of women for sustainable development. However, not all NGOs are able to develop effective project ideas for successfully requesting funds from such donor agencies for improving the livelihood development of women through enterprises.

Here is a sample proposal that can guide you on how to develop a great proposal on ‘Women’s Livelihood Development through the use of microenterprises.’ If you are a FundsforNGOs Premium Member, you can freely download this sample proposal by logging in here. If you are not a Premium Member, you can SIGN UP NOW! Apart from downloading this proposal freely, there are dozens of other reasons for you to subscribe for our Premium Membership. Learn more here!

Sample Proposal on “Women’s Sustainable Livelihood Development through the use of Microenterprises’

Geographical Area: Palestine

The first part of any proposal is give an overview or a brief introduction to the project and how it will be implemented. Check the sample text below that opens up the proposal:

Across the West Bank, recent <Organization Name> (ORG) projects have resulted directly in the creation of hundreds of jobs and significant increases in income for women. These successes have given many women their first job and the unprecedented ability to add to and often be the only source of family income. Despite this progress, there is tremendous unrealized opportunity to create additional opportunities for sustainable economic and entrepreneurship for women in the West Bank. ORG’s experience has underscored significant capacity and motivation among Palestinian to break the cycle of poverty and build a better life through microenterprise development.

Our goal is to help Palestinian women in the northern West Bank achieve financial independence and security by helping them build skills and resources to start microenterprises. ORG respectfully seeks funding from the <Foundation Name> to provide training for over 200 women entrepreneurs, help establish 100 new businesses, and create 300 new jobs for women.

Discover more great sample proposals by subscribing to fundsforNGOs Premium. 

Download Sample Proposal

How to Write, Develop and Manage Your Youth Development Projects

The main goal of this guide is to explain how to write and manage a project addressing youth in a successful way. The Guide starts by explaining what we mean with Project Management. It will continue by explaining how to deal with the different phases of Project Management namely Preparation, Planning, Implementation and End of the Project. An additional section will explain in details how to deal with Budgeting and Financial Reports.

The Guide covers the following topics:


How to Write Successful Proposals for Youth-based Projects

General guidelines for writing project proposals apply for youth project proposals, although, in this case, the strength of your proposal will be assessed against your ability to make a case for the importance of investing in youth in your community. Whether you are applying for an award that is specifically tailored for youth organisations or whether you are answering to a more general call, which emphasizes the necessity of involving young people in the proposed projects, you should stress the reasons why it is of utmost importance to give preference to young generations in your specific case.

  1. Start by reading relevant reports and official documents drafted by the UN concerning youth. You will find this material arranged by topics, which will facilitate your search. For instance, if your NGO is proposing a programme to train young people in your community, make sure to read the reports written about youth unemployment and write down facts (which could further support your case) and also concepts and ideas emphasised in these reports in order to make your proposal stronger.

    Keep Youths in mind while Writing Proposals

    Keep Youths in mind while Writing Proposals

  2. Organise a focus group with young people in your community. Ask them to present their problems and to explain why reported issued are of importance for the community. Record the session and use quotes from the group discussion to provide evidence of the need for your initiative when writing the rationale of the project.
  3.  Access local statistical offices to retrieve information about youth, and in line with the scopes of your project. Add stories and use examples gathered from everyday life in your community to make the statistics meaningful. Remember that members of selection committees might not be familiar with the social, political, or economic situation of your country and region. Strong proposals are able to picture the real needs of your community and to give evidence of the needs of such projects also by providing concrete examples of how the issues at stake affect everyday life.
  4. Remember to highlight the importance of working with young people in your community as a way to educate future generations of leaders and also to help young people in becoming active citizens (knowing their duties, but also their rights and ways of developing their own ideas).
  5. If your NGO does not primarily work with young people, but you want to widen your audience or designing projects that could also benefit the youth, you could start by visiting schools and universities in your area to present your organisation’s main projects. Take this as an opportunity to ask how young people assess what your organisation does and whether they are interested in what you have been doing. Prompt their participation in future activities by gathering ideas on how your NGO could design new projects that are appealing to younger generations. For instance, if your NGO is concerned with agricultural projects, you could ask about what activities could make young people more familiar with the issue, and develop tailored initiatives in collaboration with them.

How to summarize a Full Proposal into a Short Concept Note

The submission of concept notes is increasingly becoming the first step in the application for funding to the main agencies and private donors. This is how your potential donor will make the first selection among a large group of project proposals to assess their potential. Accordingly, concept notes could be solicited directly by the donor, but they could also become the way in which an NGO approaches a potential sponsor to test their interest in the NGO’s ongoing activities. Thus, concept notes must be clear, specific, and attractive to the reader.

Concept notes are a shorter version of a project proposal and their length typically spans from 3 to 5 pages (if the sponsor you are approaching does not give a clear indication, keep it to 3 pages; the shorter the better). The main difficulty with writing concept notes is producing a summary that simultaneously catches the attention of the reader and elaborates the main issues at stake, all the while keeping the amount of information given at minimum. Do not overwhelm the reader. The concept notes must capture the audience’s attention and make your potential sponsor curious about your project, and willing to get to know you and your ideas better.

How to Summarize a Full Proposal into a Short Concept Note

Start with an eye-catching title.

First paragraph: background of the project. Explain why this project is important, for whom, and what has already been done in the selected field of intervention.

Second paragraph: objectives and beneficiaries. Limit your objectives to a maximum of three. Remember that your objectives must be connected to the background of the project. Once you have singled out the problems you are targeting, be specific about how your project will address these problems and what the desired results will be. It is important to be specific and clear about each of your objectives and explain who will benefit from the development of the project. Specify who your target group is, why it is important to work with this target group, and how the participants in the project will benefit from your activities. Remember that on the one hand, the target group will receive immediate benefits from the completion of the projects (such as attending workshops, training etc) but also the community will benefit from the various projects implemented by your NGO in the long run. Accordingly, write a sentence explaining how this project will benefit your community by looking at the big picture (you can address the social, political or economic situation of your community and link this project with the main goals of your NGO).

Third paragraph: outputs. For each of your objectives there must be an output. It is of crucial importance that the donor understands how your objectives are to be assessed in order to monitor the development of the project and its results; therefore outputs must be concrete and tangible.

Fourth paragraph: activities and duration. The activities are the ways in which your objectives will produce an output. Accordingly, activities must be concrete and they should give an idea of how you aim to reach a given goal. Importantly, each activity must have a beginning and end point, so make sure they all have a set duration, which will depend on the length of the overall project.

Fifth paragraph: monitoring and evaluation. How will the donor assess the results of your project? Elaborate on the methods necessary in order to enable your sponsor to monitor the development of the project and to evaluate its partial and final results in a practical way (how do you measure the fulfilment of set objectives?)

Include a budget only if specifically required.

How to write an attractive and effective Project Title for your Project Proposal

The title of a project is of ultimate importance, thus make sure to take your time to find the best one. Titles must be attractive and exciting at the same time. The title must convey the meaning, the area of intervention and the goals of the project while being enticing.

It is good practice to select the final title together with all the other members of the NGO. Whereas the project proposal is very technical and requires specific skills that not everybody may possess, the title represents everybody’s efforts, expectations, and aspirations. Accordingly, all the members should be asked to participate in the process of selecting the title to make sure that they all feel excited by the idea of working towards its development.

Firstly, write down on paper five key words, which summarise your project. For instance if your project will organise a communal meal in a certain neighbourhood known for its lack of social cohesion, in order to improve relationships among those living there, write: food, dinner-party, neighbourhood, community, and social cohesion. Gather all the members of your NGO for a collective brainstorming session. Write down the five words you selected on a board and ask the group at large to work with those words and suggest possible titles. It is important that you set your goal for the meeting as that of coming up with the best three title-proposals within a couple of hours. Make sure to prepare coffees and cakes for your collaborators (it is not proven that sugar helps creativity, but it will create a more relaxed atmosphere). Set aside an hour to produce a long list of titles and another hour to shortlist the best three. Keep the meeting within the 2 hours proposed to maintain concentration among the group. You could decide whether to work within smaller groups or with one big group according to the size of the NGO and group dynamics. At the end of the meeting you should have your three short listed titles. At this point, you should organise a focus group with a group of five to ten friends. Present in brief the project to the focus group and write the three final project titles on a board. Ask to the participants to choose one and to explain why they selected it. Take notes during the discussion. By the end of the focus group you should have all the information you need to make your final choice. Read through the notes you have taken and assess the information you have gathered. Write for each of the titles their strengths and weaknesses. Compare your results and take your final decision. Make sure to circulate the final title among all the members of your NGO who participated in the process to communicate the final decision.

In brief, the best title will: 1) give a general idea of what the project is about 2) make you curious about the project and prompt you to read more and to participate in it 3) not be descriptive, but allusive 4) catch people’s attention because of a play of words or a reference to movies, books, popular culture etc. 5) be simple and straightforward (avoid overcomplicated titles) 6) be memorable.