A goal is only as good as the objectives that go with it. The objective represents a step toward accomplishing a goal. In contrast to the goal, an objective is narrow, precise, tangible, concrete, and can be measured.

S- specific


A- appropriate

R- realistic

T- time sensitive


The second level might best be called targets or success indicators – objectives that are specific, measurable and time-defined, and that directly contribute toward accomplishing the overall goal. An example: “Within 6 months of graduating from our program, 75 percent of the women will have secured and maintained employment at or above the median income level by household size.”

Outcome objective – Refers to measurable change (increase or decrease) in conditions or behaviors that will “come out of” a proposed project’s implementation. It is the answer to the question, “What will be different in our community or in the lives of the people we’re serving as a result of our effort?”

An outcome objective that focuses on change rather than what it takes to produce change: “After 60 hours of instruction, 75 percent of adult learners will have improved their reading abilities by at least two grade levels.”

According to Mim Carlson and Tori O’Neal-McElrath, in Winning Grants, you should keep the following in mind when preparing your objectives:

  • State your objectives in quantifiable terms.
  • State your objectives in terms of outcomes, not process.
  • Objectives should specify the result of an activity.
  • Objectives should identify the target audience or community being served.

Objectives need to be realistic and capable of being accomplished within the grant period.