Terms used by funders vary. There is no set of standard definitions. While this makes responding to application guidelines tricky, most people quickly learn to decipher the changeable lingo and go about the business of winning grants.
“There’s one aspect of grants terminology that can confound even experienced grantseekers,” said Barbara Floersch, chief of training and curriculum at The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “The terms vision, goal, objective, outcome, result, and impact mean different things to different grantmakers. And to make matters worse, some funders throw all of the terms together into one question with no definitions attached.”
Floersch advises grantseekers to focus on concepts rather than terminology. “Every funder wants to know what you expect grant-funded activities to accomplish and what you expect that accomplishment will lead to in the long run. They also want to understand the amount of service you’ll provide in relation to what you’re trying to accomplish,” she said.
When you’re confused about terms in application guidelines, first reach out to the funder for clarification. If you can’t get help, sort the terms into a sensible hierarchy and tell the funder how you are using the terms – define them for yourself and your reader. “Translating the terms into common, core concepts is a helpful approach to interpreting application guidelines,” said Floersch. “Terms change but the concepts don’t.” © Copyright 2018 The Grantsmanship Center.
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