Once you have clearly established need for a specific Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) or grant application, it is time to determine a goal and develop measurable objectives.  For example, your need section has established that your targeted population is a small rural village with 500 people and neighboring vampires are picking off villagers at a rate of one per week (United States Department of Vampires 2010 report).  Your goals are to: 1. decrease the loss of villagers by; 2. increasing the number of vampire slayers to; 3. decrease the number of vampires.  (At this point I need for you to double-check your FOA and make sure the funding is actually for vampire elimination and not werewolf grooming and while this is a topic for another blog, it is also important here.)  As they should be, the goals are general and do not state how many villagers you plan to save; how many vampire slayers you plan to train; or how many vampires will each slayer slay.  Measurable objectives will now move into place and make or break your proposal (and ultimately, your village because they cannot last too long at that rate).

 It is impossible to develop a strong plan of operation or even a proper evaluation without objectives that can be measured.  Let’s write an objective for your first goal, which is to decrease the loss of villagers due to neighboring vampires.  We want this objective to be measurable and ambitious, but not overly ambitious.

 The following is an example of an objective that is not measurable:

 The Vanishing Vampires Project will significantly decrease the number of villagers picked off by neighboring bloodsuckers by the end of the funding period.  (Just how many is a “significant increase”?  If you chose to go this route, grant reviewers will award you 1 or possibly 2 points out of a possible 10 for showing up.)

 The following is an example of an objective that is measurable but not ambitious:

The Vanishing Vampires Project will significantly decrease the number of villagers picked off by neighboring bloodsuckers by 2% by the end of the funding period.  (hmmm, bloodsuckers – 98, villagers – 2.  Not an impressive score.  It might net you 2 or 3 points with reviewers.)

 The following is an example of an objective that is measurable but probably overly-ambitious:

 The Vanishing Vampires Project will significantly decrease the number of villagers picked off by neighboring bloodsuckers by 100% by the end of the funding period.  (In order to sell this to the reviewer, you better have a very detailed plan of operation packed full of researched-based activities.)

 The following is an example that is measurable and ambitious:

 The Vanishing Vampires Project will significantly decrease the number of villagers picked off by neighboring bloodsuckers by 75% by the end of the first year of the funding period and 85% by the end of the funded project.

or

The Vanishing Vampires Project will significantly decrease the number of villagers picked off by neighboring bloodsuckers by 100 people the first year and 250 by the end of the funded project (just saved half the village and that should impress even the toughest reviewer, especially if you follow up with a researched plan of action — but that is another topic!).

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