Once you have an innovative idea, the right partners and the needs analysis it is time to make a conceptual structure of your Strategic Partnership project. Setting the aim and objectives is your guideline towards a successful project. What do you want to achieve with this project and what is the change you want to make? In other words, how are you going to reach the impact you have envisioned and what are the expected outcomes? Last but not least, are the outcomes of your project sustainable? Will the changes be structural and will the impact maintain after the funding has ended? About the definition of aims and objectives. The aim is what you want to achieve in general and what the final destination of your project is. Objectives are the steps to be taken to reach the final destination. They explain what you will actually do to achieve your aim.
The aim and objectives are set in the initial preparation of the project and monitored and evaluated during the whole process. The aim and objectives must be related to all levels and all direct and indirect target groups of the project. Setting the aim and objectives helps assessors to understand what the project is really about. To ensure the relevance of the project, assessors examine the extent to which the objectives are clearly defined, realistic and address issues relevant to the participating organisations and target groups. Assessors will also look at the consistency and coherence between the objectives of the project and the activities proposed, which means the link between the concept and the practice and between the idea as such and the realisation of this idea. To be able to define your aim and objectives, it is important to identify the expected impact of the project. First of all, define who and how many people or organizations you want to have an impact on. Impact is the effect which the change you want to make has on stakeholders and target groups. Impact in Strategic Partnerships is complex and has many layers and levels.
A long-term transnational partnership project should have many different learning outcomes. The expected learning outcomes of a project should be recognised and explained. Let’s take an example. Your aim is to improve the quality of your work related to social inclusion. • What does that mean for the organization or youth workers working in the organization? Will the effect be that they have new knowledge on and methods for social inclusion, or will they change their whole educational approach? Will they be better in dealing with diversity in general or with refugees specifically? Will they be better equipped and be more open to work together with other educational fields or other stakeholders in the region? Will they be more confident in the value of their work? Improving the quality of youth work can include many possible changes.
• What will be the impact on young people they work with? On friends and family of those youngsters? On the local community or local government? Will youngsters participate in your activities more easily, or will it change how they behave with each other or with disabled people in your community? • What will be the impact at local level? Will it have any impact on other organisations in your region or at national level? What will be the impact at European level? These are just some examples of what the impact can be at different levels. It is important for applicants to define and specify all the impacts the project may have. Making a detailed list of the impacts on direct and indirect targets could be helpful and give a good overview. It is easier to build the aim and objectives based on such a list. Describing the impact is an important element of the application, but it often becomes a weaker link. The quality impact assessment focuses on the following criteria: • the potential impact on youngsters and professionals from participating organizations during and after the project; • the impact on stakeholders and other externals outside the organization, be it individuals or organizations, the local community or local, regional, national or EU governments; • the quality of plans to ensure a sustainable change and the capacity to continue having an impact after the project grant ends.
Another evaluation criterion is the quality of the evaluation of outcomes. How is the project going to collect and measure outcomes? Participating partners could consider using research methods or recognition tools to measure learning and other outcomes, and make them visible. Applications should apply both qualitative and quantitative indicators to measure the project’s impact. Once the aim, objectives and impacts are defined, you can start with the project design and activity plan..