8 Top Project Design Skills For Nonprofits and Grant Writers

8 Top Project Design Skills For Nonprofits and Grant Writers


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 …

  1. 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.
  2. Build partnerships with other agencies that are applying.
  3. Educate agencies around financial and program-specific compliance with funder regulations and requirements.
  4. Use “logic models” whenever applicable to assist in program design. The logic model communicates the purposes, components and sequence of activities of a project.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Identify resources that exist in the community that might aid in designing and developing projects and programs.
  8. Insure that your design is accurate,  defensible and leads to increased program success and sustainability.


Source by Phil Johncock

About the Author
Gideon Roux
Gideon Roux is the founder of Imagine Solutions. His trials and tribulations over the years in the weird and wonderful world of IT has molded him into a kind of tech nerd. The motto he lives by - "do what you love, love what you do - Life is too short" - Follow him here @1ma9ine

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