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How to Write Your Grant Application's Program Design Section

2 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Constructing Your Grant Application

When you write the program design section of your grant application, cooperative agreement, or RFP narrative, remember that the point is to explain what you want to do with the grant, agreement, or contract monies.

The program design includes a description of your program, goals, objectives, and activities. It also includes an implementation timeline, a management plan, and an evaluation plan. You also need to define the population you serve, the partnerships you have with other agencies in your community, and the changes you plan to make. The program design section is the main event, so weigh every word carefully, and make sure that your sentences work together like magic.

Use power-packed words to describe your program

Use words and phrases such as provide, prepare, empowering catalyst, strengthening, continuum, and taking the lead. They point to the fact that your organization takes action.

Present your goals and objectives in the proper terms

Remember, you want to wow funding request readers. To do so, make an impressionable point by writing your goals in visionary terms. Use words such as decrease, deliver, develop, establish, improve, increase, produce, and provide. These words point to meeting a level of performance.

Similarly, you should write your objectives by using the S.M.A.R.T. structure, which means that your objectives are

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Realistic

  • Time bound

Finish your story by writing about longevity and future plans

Use words and phrases such as external, internal, local fundraising, creating future funding partners, inviting more external funding sources to the organization’s table of partners, seeking to identify more investors in our stakeholders, and continuing grant-funded activities after the funding is gone. These words and phrases don’t just point to something; they rocket off the page and say, “We’re planning for the future of this organization, and we’re asking for your help, but we have a plan for keeping this program alive after we spend your money.”

All types of funders want assurances that when you finish spending all their money, the show or program will go on. No funder wants the efforts started with their investment or contract award to suddenly shut down at the end of the grant or contract funding period. In your Program Design and Evaluation section, you must write a paragraph to address the funder’s concerns, which arise during the funding request review stage.

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