Identify the differences (“outcomes”) you want to achieve
What do you want the ‘after picture’ to look like for the people participating/attending your project. This will help you pin down the differences you want to achieve in their lives. Think about how these differences contribute to improving their lives. Making these differences will be the reason you are running your project. This is the aspect of your application that interests funders the most.
Note: many funders talk about “outcomes” – this is another way of saying the differences that will happen as a result of your work.
It is important to make a distinction between the differences (outcomes) that a project is aiming to make for those participating and the activities and services it is providing.
• A project is set up for young people who are having difficulties at school, due to a range of factors.
• The people who set up the project want to increase the young people’s self esteem and show them that there are opportunities in training and further education which could be open to them.
• To do this they set up a project to provide training for 12 volunteer mentors to work with the young people.
The difference or outcome in this example is not the training for volunteer mentors, but the changes that will happen in the lives of the young people as a result of the mentoring i.e. increased self esteem.
You will need to tell the funder the three most important differences you think your project will make that will improve participants lives. If you are awarded a grant you will be asked to report back on these in detail.
• For each of your differences, be succinct and talk about a single, significant change only. Do not provide a list of differences or changes.
• The difference will occur in the time you are in contact with the participants you support. It can be a small change or a lasting change.
• Use the language of change in your descriptions, e.g., improving life skills, increasing self-esteem, reducing distress.
Remember to come back to look at the next five e-bulletins to get all the tips and hints on how to plan your projects more effectively.