Sample Project Narrative
As we delve into the world of grant writing, we encounter a critical juncture – the project narrative. Here, your proposal materializes, and your vision becomes concrete. Within this narrative, you'll not only delineate your project's goals and objectives but also infuse vitality into your proposal. Let's explore a sample project narrative, where aspirations take root, actions emerge, and dreams materialize into attainable goals. The example below provides an illustration of a project narrative that includes detailed goals and objectives.
"Virtual reality (VR) systems have been found to be particularly useful in delivering an efficient, convenient, and cost-effective way to provide active engagement through experimental learning; providing the perfect medium between ineffective classroom training and traditional reality-based training. VR systems allow officers to train more frequently and in fluid training scenarios, hone necessary de-escalation skills, and practice empathy for individuals experiencing mental health crises; making it a great alternative to reality-based training which can be costly and detrimental to daily operations due to the space, time and manpower needed to conduct.
The virtual reality training program will ensure that officers are equipped with the necessary skills to safely, effectively, and appropriately respond to calls involving persons suffering from mental illness. Studies have shown that when a police officer responds to a crisis involving a person with a serious mental illness who is not receiving treatment, the safety of both the person in crisis and the responding officer may be compromised, particularly when the officer has received little or no training about mental illnesses and crisis intervention (Miller, 2002; Oliva, 2007). To this end, it is imperative that police officers possess the skills necessary to safely and effectively intervene during crisis situations; that is, "because police officers deal primarily with people who have problems, they must try to develop and utilize observation and communication skills in order to perform their job effectively and efficiently" (Miller, 1983, p. 73).
The virtual reality training unit will be utilized primarily by the Anytown Township Police Department personnel; including both sworn officers and civilian staff who have contact with the public throughout their day. Additionally, because of mobility and ease of use, the training unit will be utilized to train our collaborative partners from Montgomery County Emergency Services, Access Services, and Mobile Crisis who often join officers in the field during mental health incidents. Lastly, the training unit will be used to train officers from nearby agencies such as Narberth Police Department, Radnor Police Department, and Narberth Ambulance. The program and training will have a far-reaching impact well beyond the borders of Anytown Township.
Impact and Outcomes
The goal of the virtual reality training program is to provide officers and our collaborative partners with the training and skills needed to effectively and appropriately manage situations involving persons in crisis (Sanow). This type of training is in alignment with the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model; which has been successfully utilized in many law enforcement agencies worldwide and is considered a “Best Practice” model in law enforcement (Watson & Fulambarker). Both short-term and long-term goals have been established to guide the program and determine effectiveness.
Data Collection and Analysis - Reliable data is essential for demonstrating program activities and performance, ensuring that resources are effectively managed, demonstrating that the program is meeting its goals, and garnering the support of mental health providers and other community stakeholders (BJA). The below-mentioned data collection process has been guided by the program's short-term and long-term goals.
Total calls and duration of calls involving persons suffering from mental illness - The purpose of this performance measure is to show how often officers are dispatched to calls for service involving persons suffering from mental illness and how much time they spend on said calls. This data will speak to the need for such a training program as officers frequently respond to calls for service with persons suffering from mental illness and these calls tend to be the most complex and time-consuming for law enforcement (BJA).
Case disposition – The purpose of this data set is to analyze case disposition of all calls involving persons suffering from mental illness. Case disposition will either be: resolved on scene with no formal action; referral to mental health services; transport for voluntary treatment; transport for involuntary treatment; or arrest. The data will be analyzed annually to for the entire Department to understand the effectiveness and frequency of each case disposition. The data will also be analyzed per officer to ascertain if individual officers are disproportionately utilizing a type of case disposition in order to gauge if additional training is needed.
Use of force analysis - The Department currently collects data on all use of force incidents which is used as the basis for our annual use of force analysis; however, currently the analysis does not include mental illness as a factor. Moving forward, the Department will collect data on use of force incidents involving persons suffering from mental illness to gain insight into training needs and effectiveness. This data will be analyzed for the entire Department and per officer to ensure individual officers are not disproportionately using force on persons suffering from mental illness; indicative of remedial training needs or other actionable discipline.
Short Term Goals
Increase in knowledge regarding mental health laws, department policy regarding responding to mental health calls, and officers' perceived capabilities/confidence in their skills to deescalate mental health incidents. Prior to beginning training, a survey will be completed of all officers to gauge their understanding of mental health laws, department policy regarding mental health calls, and their perceived capabilities/confidence in their skills to deescalate mental health incidents. Upon completion of the initial virtual reality training a follow up evaluation will be conducted of all officers with the same questions. The survey will be both quantitative and qualitative.
Decrease time spent on calls involving persons suffering from mental illness, reduce repeat calls for service, minimize strain on agency resources, and connect people with mental health services while maintaining officer and subject safety.
Long Term Goals
1Incidents involving people with mental illness require specialized responses which should reflect a partnership between a law enforcement agency and other stakeholder groups and individuals. With that, our long-term and overarching goal for this program is to increase the number of partnerships we have with mental health advocates and providers, increase our communication with these entities, and constantly evaluate the officer response to mental illness to identify any unidentified or underserved areas which may be better addressed through further collaboration.
Total number of individuals Trained
Goal – to train 150 individuals
Analysis of case disposition for all calls involving person suffering from mental illness.
Case disposition may be one or a combination of the following:
Resolved on scene with no formal action
Referral to mental health services
Transport for voluntary treatment
Transport for involuntary treatment
Goal - to have at 60% of case dispositions resulting in referrals or transport for treatment.
Total calls for service involving persons suffering from mental illness
The purpose of this performance measure is to show how often officers are dispatched to calls for service involving persons suffering from mental illness. This data will speak to the need for such a training program. Historically, the Department responds to approximately 550 calls for service involving persons suffering from mental illness annually.
Goal – No specific goal to be attained as this performance indicator it is subject to external influences. The indicator is simply used to justify the need for such a training program.
Data analysis of use of force incidents involving persons suffering from mental illness
The purpose of this performance measurement is to collect data on all use of force incidents involving persons suffering from mental illness.
Analysis will provide insight into training needs and effectiveness.
Data will be analyzed per individual officer.
This will ensure individual officers are not disproportionately using force on persons suffering from mental illness; indicative of a need for remedial training or other actionable discipline.
Goal – the target measure is to have no disproportionate use of force incidents when comparing officer to officer; taking into account total use of force incidents and total contacts involving persons suffering from mental illness.
The purpose of this performance measure is to gauge training effectiveness.
Prior to beginning training, a survey will be completed of all officers to gauge:
The understanding of mental health laws
Their perceived capabilities/confidence in their skills to deescalate mental health incidents.
Upon initial training a follow up evaluation will be conducted of all officers with the same questions
The survey will be both quantitative and qualitative.
Goal – is to have an initial 20% increase in survey results regarding knowledge and perceived capabilities.
Collaborative planning meeting
The implementation of the program will begin with a collaborative planning meeting which will include local and county mental health agencies such as Montgomery County Emergency Services, Access Services, and Mobile Crisis; representatives from both Lankenau and Bryn Mawr Hospitals which receive the majority of our voluntary and involuntary mental health referrals; a representative from the Department’s command staff and officers assigned to the Training Unit. At this planning meeting training goals and scenarios will be established. Upon establishment of training goals and scenarios, the Training Unit will begin training all officers and collaborative partners utilizing the virtual reality training unit.
Training gap analysis/needs assessment
Develop new mental health training
In-depth training will center on Department Policy, knowledge of county/local resources, and State Laws.
Initial data collection
Perform five-year lookback of all Use of Force Incidents involving persons suffering from mental illness.
Five-year lookback of total calls for service involving persons suffering from mental illness and duration of said calls.
Data collection on current mental health trainings received by officers
Survey to officers to identify training needs and/or deficiencies.
Initial assessment/survey completed.
Mental health training to be conducted for entire department.
VR training. Will be conducted with:
Relevant community partners/stakeholders
Follow up assessment/survey.
Ongoing data collection of:
UOF incidents involving persons suffering from mental illness.
Total calls and duration of calls for persons suffering from mental illness.
Analysis of final results.
In the realm of grant writing, we've delved into a crucial component: the project narrative. We explored how a well-crafted narrative can breathe life into your proposal by outlining detailed goals and objectives. As you embark on your grant writing journey, remember that the project narrative is where your vision takes shape, and where aspirations are translated into actionable plans.
With a focus on detail and precision, you can craft a compelling narrative that not only inspires but also mobilizes. It's the place where dreams become achievable objectives, and where your proposal gains the power to drive real-world change. So, as you apply these insights to your grant writing endeavors, may your project narratives stand as beacons of purpose and impact in the grant landscape.