Using logic models to organize grant proposals

Using logic models to organize grant proposals

In the development of grant proposals, it can sometimes be a challenge to mix what you’d like to do, what you need to do, and what you’ll actually be funded to do.

At some point in the grant writing process, I find it is a helpful task to create a logic model to use as an organizer of your ideas.

On a new document, I first write the title, goal, and objectives of the grant. As a reminder, a goal is a broad statement of what you wish to accomplish. Goals are broad, general, abstract, and do not need to be measurable. Objectives are individual, granular steps toward accomplishing the goal. Objectives are precise, observable, measurable, and concrete.

After writing the goal and objectives, I then develop a logic model to organize the proposal.

A logic model includes five parts:

  • Current Situation: What is the current situation, problem, and environment in which you are proposing to work? You need to identify the good, bad, and ugly in this description.
  • Resources: What current resources do you have at your disposal that will support your work in the proposal? What resources are you requesting as part of the grant proposal that will support your work in the proposal?
  • Project Activities: What will you (and participants) do as part of the grant? Include everything.
  • Outcomes: What products or consequences do you expect at the conclusion of the project as a result of project activities?
  • Impacts: What change or overall effect will last long after your grant has concluded?

I write all of the elements of the logic model on a white board or chart paper and write/discuss/revise over a period of time. An example of a recent planning session is below.

Once you have some agreement, the logic model moves to a digital space for further revision and use in planning and writing. Using Google Drawings in a Google Doc makes this super easy. A digital example of the info from the white board above is included below.

You then need to identify “flow” or order of actions across the logic model. In this you add arrows to show how activities lead to outcomes and ultimately to impacts. If you do not show a progression or connection across the model…you need to create a space for this in your model, or remove it. An example of the logic model with the arrows included is available below.

As you write and revise your proposal narrative, use the logic model as a guide to organize your thinking. You may choose to have a critical friend review the grant proposal using your logic model to ensure that everything connects to what you’ve written. If possible…have an outside evaluator create a logic model from your proposal narrative to see if if it connects.


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Also published on Medium.

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