While writing various grant proposals for non-profits, we often come across a table referred as Logframe or Logical Framework or Logical Framework Analysis (LFA) or Logical Framework Matrix. This is an important and critical tool for writing concept note and grant proposal for non-profits. Hence I am trying to put up this short article to get you through it.
Before getting further into this topic, please note these following terms, which are widely used in LFA and these words need to be understood to write Grant Proposal for Non-Profits
Activities: The actions (and means) that have to be taken/provided to produce the results. They summarise what will be undertaken by the project.
Analysis of Objectives: Identification and verification of future desired benefits to which the beneficiaries attach priority. The output of a discussion of targets is the objective tree/hierarchy of targets.
Assumptions: External factors which could affect the progress or success of the project but over which the project manager has no direct control. They form the 4th column of the log frame and are formulated in a positive way.
Indirect Beneficiaries: Indirect beneficiaries are those groups that intend to enjoy benefits at the level of the overall objectives. As the project will only make a contribution to the attainment of the overall objectives, such groups are indirect beneficiaries only.
Cost: Costs are the translation into financial terms of all the identified resources (“Means”).
Deliverables: Tangible outputs that they project has to produce at certain stages. They can be used as process indicators at the activity and result level.
Effectiveness: An assessment of the contribution made by results to the achievement of the project purpose and how “Assumptions” have affected project achievements.
Efficiency: The fact that the results were obtained at reasonable cost, i.e. how well have “Means” and “Activities” been converted into “Results”, and the quality of the results achieved.
Evaluation: A periodic assessment of the efficiency, effectiveness, impact, sustainability and relevance of a project in the context of stated objectives. It is usually undertaken as an independent examination of the background, objectives, results, activities and means deployed, with a view to drawing lessons that may guide future decision-making.
Feasibility: Addresses the issue whether the Specific objectives can be really achieved.
Formulation Phase: The third phase in the project cycle. It involves the establishment of the details of the project according to the prescribed formats that will allow a full assessment.
Gantt Chart: A method of presenting information graphically, often used for activity scheduling. Similar to a bar chart.
Gender: The social differences that are ascribed to and learned by women and men, and that vary over time and from one society or group to another. Gender differs from sex, which refers to the biologically determined differences between women and men.
Hierarchy of Objectives: A diagrammatic representation of the proposed project interventions planned logically, following a problem analysis, showing a means to ends relationship.
Identification Phase: The second phase of the project cycle. It involves the initial elaboration of the project idea in terms of objectives, results and activities, with a view to determining whether or not to go ahead with a feasibility study.
Overall Development Objective: They explain why the project is important to society (overall developmental objective) or partner university (academic overall objective); regarding the longer term benefits to final beneficiaries and the wider benefits to other groups.
Activity Schedule: The timing, sequence and duration of project activities. It can also be used to identify milestones for monitoring progress and to assign responsibility for the achievement of milestones.
Analysis of Strategies: Critical assessment of the alternative ways of achieving objectives and selection of one or more for inclusion in the proposed project.
Direct Beneficiaries: Direct beneficiaries are those groups (the target groups) that are directly targeted to enjoy the benefits of the services provided by the project (at the level of the specific objective). Regarding its effectiveness, the project will be held accountable with regard to measurable benefits to direct beneficiaries.
Impact: The effect of the project on its wider environment, and its contribution to the wider to the project’s overall objectives
Implementation Phase: The phase of the project cycle during which the project is implemented, and progress towards achieving objectives is monitored.
Intervention Logic: The strategy underlying the project. It is the narrative description of the project at each of the four levels of the ‘hierarchy of objectives’ used in the log frame.
Logframe: The matrix in which a project’s intervention logic, assumptions, objectively verifiable indicators and sources of verification are presented.
Logical Framework Approach: A methodology for planning, managing and evaluating programmes and projects, involving stakeholder analysis, problem analysis, analysis of objectives, analysis of strategies, preparation of the log frame matrix and activity and resource schedules.
Means: Means are physical and non-physical resources (often referred to as “Inputs”) that are necessary to carry out the planned activities and manage the project. A distinction can be drawn between: human resources and material resources.
Milestones: A type of objectively verifiable indicators providing indications for short and medium -term objectives (usually activities) which facilitate measurement of achievements throughout a project rather than just at the end. They also indicate times when decisions should be made or action should be finished.
Monitoring: The systematic and continuous collecting, analysis and using of information for the purpose of management and decision-making.
Objective: Description of the aim of a project or programme. In its generic sense it refers to activities, results, project purpose and overall objectives.
Objective Tree: A diagrammatic representation of the situation in the future once problems have been remedied, following a problem analysis, and showing a means to ends relationship.
Objectively Verifiable Indicators: Measurable indicators that will show whether or not objectives have been achieved at the three highest levels of the log frame. Objectively verifiable indicators provide the basis for designing an appropriate monitoring system.
Logical Framework Analysis (LFA); What it is?
Now that you are familiar with certain terms, let us try to understand this management tool, which has been effectively used in planning and implementation various developmental projects. It provides clear, concise and systematic information about a project through a framework. We know about various components of a project such as a goal, objectives, activities, results and indicators. The LFA helps in connecting all these components in one framework, presenting the tight relationship between them, leading to the achievement of the expected outcomes.
Why is it important to know Logical Framework Analysis (LFA)?
Because donors use it. It was first actually developed by USAID during the 1970s, but now every donor is using it in its proposal format. The log frame has become an essential tool for donors not only in planning their own macro-level strategies but also in seeking in-depth information about small and medium-sized projects funded by them. LFA also gives a clear outlay of how much resources would be needed and how these will be used for various project activities.
The logical framework also aids in the monitoring and evaluation of projects. The framework can be used to examine the progress of the project and co-relate the activities carried out and results achieved.
Inside the Logical Framework of a grant proposal
If we look at the LFA more closely, we will understand that it is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, the LFA is nothing but putting together your whole project proposal in one table with brief descriptions of the projects.
Different terms are applied for various parts of the LFA by different donors. Nevertheless, they mean the same. If we understand the general principles of developing the logframe, it is easier for us to complete LFAs of many different donor organizations.
As an LFA is an integral part of a proposal, first we need to complete the proposal so that it becomes an easy reference for writing the logframe. We can always go back and forth from logframe to the proposal to make any changes. To begin with, completing the proposal in a draft manner or at least writing down various proposal components is a good practice before feeding information into the logframe.
Various components of a Logical Framework in a grant proposal
Just as we have formatted our proposals by giving detailed information in various components such as goal, objectives, activities, results etc, we need to put the same titles in a framework or a table and provide brief information about them.
In many other formats, LFAs have a narrative summary section, which is nothing but a narration of what the project intends to seek i.e. the goal and objectives of the project.
Defining the components of the Logical Framework in a grant proposal
|Goal||A project goal is a very general, high-level and long-term objective of the project. It is|
|different from project objectives because the latter are very specific and have to be|
|addressed alone by the project. But the goal cannot be achieved by the project on its|
|own since there will be other forces like the Government, other agencies, etc also|
|working to achieve it. It is a major benchmark to compare work between different|
|Objectives||Objectives are the specific objectives the project works to achieve within the|
|Activities or||Activities or inputs are actions undertaken by the project or the organization to|
|Inputs||achieve the set objectives|
|Outputs||Outputs are immediate results that we achieve soon after the completion the project|
|or any specific project activity.|
|Outcomes||The outcomes are results that have been or that are to be achieved after a period of|
|time, but not immediate.|
|Impact||The impact is the longer-term result that has happened because of the activities|
|undertaken in the project.|
|Indicators||Indicators are a measure of the result. They give a sense of what has been or what is|
|to be achieved.|
|Means of||Data or information based on which the indicators will be measured or monitored|
|Risks &||External factors affecting the progress of the project|
Integrated approach using dynamic Management Instrument:
LFA is used as the analytical tool to ensure a consistent project design. The logframe tool involves the presentation of the results of an analysis in such a way that it is possible to set out the project objectives in a systematic and logical way. This should reflect the causal relationships between the different levels of objectives, the indicators defined to check whether these objectives have been achieved, and to establish what assumptions outside the control of the project/programme may influence its success. The main results of this process are summarised in a matrix which shows the most important aspects of a project in a logical format (the logframe).
In addition to analysis and design, the logical framework is also useful for the implementation of a project, as well as for its evaluation. The framework should be drawn up during preparation (identification) although it cannot be fully completed at this stage, but will fill up gradually in the ensuing phases of formulation, financing, implementation and evaluation. The logical framework thus becomes the tool for managing each phase of the project cycle and a ‘master tool’ for creating other tools, such as the detailed budget, the breakdown of responsibilities, the implementation schedule and a monitoring plan.
The logical framework analysis or log frame is an analytical tool to assist in the planning, design and management of projects. It is a systematic way of identifying the elements of a project and the linkages between them to provide a logical, concise and objective analysis of the project design. This systematic and logical approach is useful at all stages of the project management cycle: identification, appraisal, design, monitoring and evaluation. Its primary purpose is to promote a planning approach which focuses on the achievement of objectives rather than on inputs and outputs.
This might seem a very long article to read through…right? However, if you grasp the essential components, it would help you to develop better grant proposals. The next PART:2 to be continued….
References: i) Integrated Project Cycle Management and Logical Framework’ compiled by South Research and the EU Manual on ‘Project Cycle Management’, ii)Funds for NGOS, iii)Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Development Institute