Grant Writing 101 – Drafting a Program/Project Description

Welcome back for another installment of Grant Writing 101.

Today we’re going to start diving into the many components of a grant proposal, which typically includes:  

  • A program or project description
  • A statement of need or case statement
  • Addressing your target audience
  • Budgets and budget narratives and other financial documents
  • Measurable goals and objectives
  • Simple evaluation methods for your program or project
  • A cover letter
  • Work samples
  • Your programming history and audience tracking and demographics
  • Team bios and biosketches or resumes

Nuts & Bolts

Like the header suggests, the program/project description is the “nuts and bolts” of your proposal. These are the plain language, basic terms of the activities of your project.

Consider the following questions when preparing your project/program descriptions:

  • What is the project in basic terms?
  • Who will do the project, who are the staff or volunteers implementing it and each component?
  • Where will the project take place?
  • When will the project or program take place?
  • How will it be implemented?
  • Why are you doing this project? (not to be confused with your case statement)

Let’s go into each of these in greater detail:

What is the project?

The “what” is the activity that will take place. A good way to start this section is with “We propose to…” (or more formally “XYZ Organization proposes to…”) and then describe the activity that will take place.

Example: “We propose to partner with MLK Middle School to provide one on one STEM tutoring by professionals engaged in the field for students.”

Make sure you describe all the activities that will take place as part of the program.

Who will do the project, who are the staff or volunteers implementing it and each component?

Look at all the activities you listed and write an account of who actually performs each task involved with implementing or conducting that activity. What are their qualifications? In this section you may only need to summarize who implements each part of the program, and later on, in the budget justification and team bios, you will need to provide more detail on qualifications and team roles.

Example: “The project will be led by Dr. Sylvia Myers, an expert in child psychology and education who has developed and created 10 award-winning afterschool education program. Dr. Myers will lead the STEM Tutoring Program staff and collaborate with MLK Middle School administrators and teachers to oversee and implement all program activities.”

You may then go to describe similarly roles of other key staff.

Where will the project take place?

Does the activity take place at your facility? At multiple facilities? How will you get there? How will the participants or audience get there? Are there any special consideration or needs to be dealt with, such as transportation or parking? Is accessibility an issue, and if so, how will you address that?

When will the project or program take place?

Very simply, date and time.

How will it be implemented?

Are there any special modalities, techniques, strategies, skills, theories, etc., that will be used in implementing the program? Is there a cost to the participant/audience?

Why are you doing this project?

While this does overlap with your case statement, the answer to this question should relate to what the audience or participants walk away with after your program/project. Did they learn something? What did they learn? Did they experience something? This could be a full explanation of goals and objectives or a summary. It depends on the specific grant opportunity if you go into full detail here or not.

See if you can identify the “nuts & bolts” in the following sample:

The “Everyone Can Drum” Program will teach children with special needs, ages 12-18, to drum by embracing a unique methodology that encompasses rhythm as a modality to address basic life and learning skills as well as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Everyone Can Drum provides students with the tools and confidence needed to succeed in the world.

The Everyone Can Drum program will be offered in one-hour sessions, twice a week at the Tulsa Recreation Center and accommodate 15 participants in each session. The Tulsa Recreation Center is a school and daytime recreation center catering to children with special needs. Children arrive at 8am and stay for school and activities through 3pm, Monday through Friday. Approximately 200 children are enrolled at the Tulsa Recreation Center.

Each music lesson uses a multi-sensory approach, combining four senses

  • Visual – you see the lesson
  • Tactile – you feel the instrument
  • Auditory – you hear the lesson read out loud
  • Speech – you speak the lesson

The curriculum can be customized based on multiple levels and goals. Lessons include (but are not limited to): counting, colors, sequencing, arithmetic, reading, writing, shapes.

Everyone Can Drum lessons include hundreds of ideas compiled over more than 40 years with therapists, doctors, teachers, administrators and experts in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Everyone Can Drum is led by Dr. Sylvia Myers, an expert in child psychology and music education who has developed and created 10 award-winning afterschool education programs. Dr. Myers will lead the Everyone Can Drum program staff to oversee and implement all program activities.

The Everyone Can Drum program has been successful in addressing cognitive, emotional, and physical disabilities. Through customized exercises, the program teaches and enhances skills such as focus, memory, socialization, sequencing, sign language, laterality, motor control, spatial awareness, communication.

Questions or comments about the program/project description? Send me a comment or question below.

Otherwise, remember the first rule of fundraising: ASK!


Leave a Reply