Successful and sustainable programs and projects begin with a solid design up front and include such design tools as logic models, SMART objectives and environmental scanning. This article will focus on the 8 top “project design and development” skills that non-profit personnel and grant writers should have.
Project design and development is one of 6 main grant professional skills measured by the Grant Professionals Certification exam. These include seeking, project designing, writing, managing, ethics and professionalism, and relationship-building.
Here are the 8 primary skills related to designing and developing your projects that lead to ultimate success and sustainability …
8 Skills for Effective Project Design And Development
To be effective in program and project design and development, you should be able to …
- Solicit and incorporate input from stakeholders including clients that is meaningful and substantive. This includes including their contributions into the initial design of new concepts and programs.
- Build partnerships with other agencies that are applying.
- Educate agencies around financial and program-specific compliance with funder regulations and requirements.
- Use “logic models” whenever applicable to assist in program design. The logic model communicates the purposes, components and sequence of activities of a project.
- Distinguish between the various key components of project design, such as goals, objectives/outcomes, activities, evaluation and sustainability, as well as tools that optimize design planning like SMART objectives, activity time lines, evaluation plans and sustainability plans. SMARTER objectives are ones that are S = Specific, M = Measurable, A = Attainable, R = Realistic and T = Time-based.
- Use data-driven design elements that are descriptive, qualitative and statistical, as well as data-driven design tools such as environmental scans, gap analyses and gap-closing strategies, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses, web-based surveys, feasibility studies and needs assessments.
- Identify resources that exist in the community that might aid in designing and developing projects and programs.
- Insure that your design is accurate, defensible and leads to increased program success and sustainability.