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Writing your grant: Connecting objectives to outcomes

Updated: Aug 12

By Courtney Hagan

Research Associate

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Writing a grant? When completing your grant application, you may be asked to write objectives, outcomes, measures, and goals. These components help to guide and set-up a sustainable and effective program from the beginning of the process. This specific post will focus on connecting or aligning objectives to outcomes.


Connecting objectives to outcomes is essential to ensure the cohesiveness and alignment of programmatic activities to potential outcomes. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Objective: Expand student advising program

  • Outcome: Increase in staff satisfaction

In this first example, the outcome (increased staff satisfaction) does not appear to be related to the objective (expanded student advising program). This is an example of dis-aligned objectives and outcomes.


Let’s look at another example:

Objective: Expand student advising program

Outcome: Improvement in student academic progress


In this example, there is a logical connection between the objective (expanded student advising program) and the outcome (improved student academic progress). This is a strong example of aligned objectives and outcomes.


Think of objectives and outcomes as cause-and-effect pairs. If your institution completes the objective, then it can expect to accomplish the outcome. If your grant application focuses on supporting students through an initiative, such as advising, then follow through by discussing what you would expect to see as a result of advising in the outcomes associated with that objective.


To conclude, it is best to ask yourself this one question when attempting to connect objectives and outcomes:

Is this outcome what I would expect to see as a result of engaging in the objective?


When you work on a grant application with Shaffer Evaluation Group, our team will help you write effective objectives and outcomes that are supported by research. If you're planning to submit a grant application and require an evaluation partner, please contact us at seg@shafferevaluation.com.


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