Defining your program goal and objectives

A clear program goal and objectives are critical to ensure the program stays on track and can be targeted at the intended outcomes. After determining program need and who to target, the next questions to consider are:

 

»» What difference is your project wanting to make, and what is it going to do to achieve this change?
»» What are the overall vision, goals or objectives to be achieved?
»» What resources (financial and other) will be required to achieve the vision and goals?

At this point, it might also be useful to re-consider where your program sits along the Spectrum of Interventions (below).

Spectrum of Interventions for Mental Health
Source: adapted from Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, 2000, p. 7.

The aim of a program is a broad statement of the program goal, and it is often similar to the long-term outcomes or impacts that the program seeks to achieve. It might be stated by the funding agency or the wider organisation, as it details the reason why funding is being made available. Objectives are more specific because they detail what the program will actually do and with whom. There must be a clear relationship between the objectives and the aim because the objectives help the aim to be achieved. Objectives must be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited).

Developing objectives

When developing program objectives, consider the following questions:
»» How does the program contribute to the broader organisational aims?

»» How does the program seek to achieve the identified aim?

»» What problem is the program seeking to change?

»» Consider changes to participant’s:
• knowledge
• skills & behaviours
• beliefs & attitudes
• confidence

This is where your identified problem and the specific risk and protective factors can be outlined in the objectives.

Establish evidence-based practice

Once the objectives of the program have been determined, a useful step is to look for existing evidence-based programs to assess if they meet the objectives and needs of the community, or whether they can be adapted to do so. It is important to note that there are not always existing evidence-based programs that meet the needs of the community. Therefore, it can be beneficial to establish the evidence for a program approach. For example, conducting a literature review to find the best available evidence to address a need or to create change, consulting with experts and stakeholders to ensure the design of the program is relevant and will work, and finally evaluate the program to establish what is working and what is not working about the program.

Who We Are

CFRE works directly with agencies and project teams to help them achieve their goals and priorities. From senior leadership groups to small program teams, our consultants walk alongside you to guide the design, development and improvement of your programs and services.

For more information, contact the team at cfre@ds.org.au

applied research centre

Back to top