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“M” is for Measurable: The SMART Approach to Writing Your Proposal

You may have a vision and a passion for the work that you are doing in your community, but without measurable outcomes, it’s impossible to assess the efficacy of your organization. Is your nonprofit organization making a difference? Impact measurement is the only way to know.         

So Why Is Impact Measurement So Important?

Before funders feel comfortable writing that big check, they will want to know that their financial contribution will actually make a positive difference. What is the impact of your work? Is it quantifiable? How many people are being helped? These are critical questions that your proposal must answer to be considered for a grant award.


Impact measurement strategies are integral to the program planning process that every successful organization needs. Having clearly defined goals and objectives that can be measured means an organization must first have a clear vision for their purpose; who and how they are helping in their community. Aligning their measurement strategies will help both define and tailor their programming to better address their community’s needs.


From a funder’s viewpoint, the data gathered from these measurement strategies is extremely important. It serves as proof that their grant dollars made a positive impact for real people. Being able to show measurable results may mean the difference between being funded again or not.


If people and systems are not changed or helped in positive ways, then what are the purpose of the organization’s programming and funding? Data for the measurable impact of an organization highlights not only that there is a need within this community, but this organization is the solution to meeting that need. Since funders are looking for ways to be part of a solution, it’s critical to show that your organization can not only identify a specific community need, but provide the solution.


People need help. Funders are looking for opportunities to help. If funders don’t know a particular need exists, they cannot help. Measurable impact data not only helps raise awareness of specific needs, but also establishes a possible solution or answer to that need, creating the opportunity for more ‘helpers’ to get involved with your meaningful work. The more you can raise awareness and show that your work is making a difference, the easier it will be to get support!

The fundamental purpose of a grant proposal is to persuade a funder to invest in your work, and presenting measurable data is the foundation of your argument. Without this evidence that your work is worthwhile and effective, a funder won’t see the purpose or potential of your organization. Try these 5 Keys for A Successful Program Evaluation to help you get started.

For more articles in The SMART Approach Series:

“S” Is For Specific

“M” Is For Measureable

“A” Is For Achievable

“R” Is For Relevant

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