How to Create a Program Blueprint for a Grant Application

By Beverly A. Browning

You can include a Logic Model on your grant application. The Logic Model is a graphic blueprint of the key elements of a proposed program. It looks at inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts. If you live and work in the world of grants, avoiding the Logic Model is difficult. Just about every type of funder seems to want you to include a Logic Model in the program design.

Here’s what the columns of your Logic Model graphic should contain:

  • Inputs: These are the human, financial, and physical resources dedicated to your grant-funded program. These resources include money, staff and staff time, volunteers and volunteer time, facilities, equipment, supplies, and community partners.

  • Strategies: These are what your program uses to organize the inputs. Using effective strategies helps the program to fulfill its mission. Basically, the funder wants a recap of your goals.

  • Outputs: These are the direct results of your program’s implementation activities. They’re actually written as indicators of productivity. Outputs usually start with the phrase number of and reflect how you’ll quantitatively track your program activities. You can extract output language from your objectives narrative (found earlier in your program design) and from your evaluation narrative as well.

  • Short-, intermediate-, and long-term outcomes: These are the benchmarks or measurements for your target population during and after program activities. For the outcomes, you can simply reuse your SMART objectives. Some funders want to see short-term outcomes (3-month SMART objective measurements), and others want to see intermediate outcomes (6-month SMART objective measurements). All funders want to see long-term outcomes (12 months or longer SMART objective measurements).

  • Long-term impact or impact statement: Funders want to know what long-term outcomes or impact (changes in systems and processes after the funding is expended) you anticipate for your target population.

Here is the basic structure for the Logic Model with intermediate and long-term SMART objectives. Keep in mind, though, that this is only one example of how funders may instruct you to prepare your Logic Model form.


Illustration by Ryan Sneed

If you have a multiple-year program, you need to have multiple-year Logic Models. Each year’s model should show a set of inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts on its own page.

The Logic Model isn’t a process you can pick up overnight. But reviewing the online materials at the W.K. Kellogg website can help with the learning curve. Type “logic model development guide” into the site’s search box and download the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Logic Model Development Guide from the Show All Results menu.