The Greek philosopher Aristotle, coined the term ‘Telos’ by referring to the full potential or inherent purpose of a person or thing, like the notion of an ‘end goal’, ‘purpose’ or “the supreme end of man’s endeavor”.
From our experience, we found this term very useful also in the grant arena. In order to be considered and reviewed properly withing its application, a project must bring its initial purpose with it. It must deliver its ‘end goal’, or in other words: its ‘Telos’
People tend to view and present their project narrowly, while “shedding” its qualities from it. This act of modesty prevents them from finding grants and reach their project’s goals. For example, lets take the industrialist Willy Wonka who ask to fund his new chocolate production line. In his grant application, he simply described his will to expend his chocolate factory’s production line. Although this application was written by the great Willy Wonka, its subtext is not so impressive: it tells a story about someone who wants to manufact chocolate in great mass, but also miss out his project’s leverage. This leverage precisely overlapping the project’s purpose as we explained. Instead, Willy Wonka must present and describe his project’s Telos: how within his new project, he fulfills children dreams and prevents elders from growing old. Jokes aside, he may go further while suggesting his project will contribute to the country economy by expansion of employment in the factory.
Grants providers mostly never offer grant for specific initiatives. If we talk about our last example, funds providers will probably not announce funding opportunity for chocolate. Rather they will announce funding opportunity for production areas in order to contribute their country economy as a method to enact their policy in a particular area (6). This initial goal of the grant provider has to be expressed in your grant application.
Grant seekers have to understand their project telos use it when they search and apply for grants. They must ask themselves why they want to do what they want to do (Willy Wonka, why do you need a new chocolate production line?). The telos of your project holds its purposefulness, its additional value, its end goal and most important: the main reason why you will receive a grant.