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Friday, 30 January 2015

10 Point Guidelines to Writing a Project Funding Proposal

I previously worked for a project funded by U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) and Family Health International (FHI 360) as well as worked at a Corporate Social Responsibility department of one the leading companies in East Africa.

It is obvious that fund is a mandatory requirement for the success of a project to be realized. Anywhere in the World, there are standard guidelines that apply in writing a funding proposal. In this case, fundability is a combination of the merits of the idea and the likelihood that your project will be supported by the potential sponsor who can be a company, a foundation, government, or an individual.

Proposal Writing

The tips below will guide you in writing a project that seeks funding.

1. Identify a sponsor

Technically, unless you identify a potential sponsor or rather a funder, you cannot apply for funds. It will not be necessary to apply for funds to organizations that DO NOT offers funding. So you have to do your research prior to your application. Identification of a sponsor should be based on the objectives of your project and the organizations you would like to be associated with. The more potential sponsors you identify, the higher your chances of getting funds.

2. Eligibility for funding

Ensure that your project meets the criteria for funding. This includes meeting the deadline for application submission. Most sponsors have specific criteria for selecting the beneficiaries of their funds and unless you meet these requirements, you are not likely to get any funding. For example, is your organization registered? How long has your organization existed? You should simply confirm that your project conforms to the stipulated ethos of the sponsor.

3. Sponsor’s Aim/Mission

It is important to check if your programs further the mission of the potential funder. How do your values align to that of funding organization? You may check areas of Corporate Social Responsibility undertaken by corporate companies, for example. This correlation is a sign of likelihood of partnership or funding. Does your project address a need recognized by the funding organization? You are likely to get funding when your project is furthering your mission as well as that of the sponsor.

4. Methods and activities

You have the specific objective for the project but you must show how the objectives will be met through identifying specific activities to be carried out and the duration for each. It should also be clear how you are planning to execute your activities.

5. Impact of your project

What is the impact of the project to the community and to the sponsor? All funders want their ‘donation’ to make a measurable targeted impact. This impact should justify the amount spent. A project that benefits only a handful of its target would mean that the project is not cost effective. A cost benefit analysis is a good component of any project. For example, a project that reaches many people may interest corporate companies that are looking for marketing opportunities. Even in the case of Corporate Social Responsibility, corporate look for their image visibility, so the more you prove good impact, the more they are likely to fund your project.

6. Sustainability of your project

Prove how your project will survive after the end of funding period. Or do you rely 100% on funding? If applicable, the project should include a sustainability plan. Funders are reluctant to support a project that is designed to be ongoing but that has no viable plan to sustain itself after the initial grant. Few funders will support a project indefinitely and neither do they want to invest in a project that is under constant threat of folding for lack of financial support.

7. Monitoring and evaluation

Your organization must show accountability of the funds received. This means there should be a clear plan to monitor and evaluate the project activities as time goes on. Funders also want to see how you will monitor your activities so that no money is wasted or embezzled. At the end of every activity, will the evaluation show a positive trend in meeting the intended objectives? As part of monitoring and evaluation, you will be required to write interim and final reports of activities undertaken. This should be communicated back to funders, especially NGOs. Evaluation also shows the success and weakness of your project, so that you improve on your weakness while capitalizing on the strength.

8. Personnel and organizational capacity

Funders are keen to check if your organization has the capacity to deliver the intended outcome of the project. Every project is undertaken by somebody. You should show who is responsible for what and what qualifications and experiences do they have that prove they are capable of executing the intended project. The funders will lose trust if the personnel are incapable of executing their duties. You may include past track record of the organizations and the experience and education of the responsible personnel.

9. Budget

How much is your budget? Does your budget make economical sense considering the impact of the project? Are there alternative ways to minimize the cost of the project while maximizing the impact? What resources do you already have? Talk about your internal funding, facilities, equipment, etc. Show a detailed budget that is well broken down to each item. Your budget show a logical model or in other words, a relationship between inputs, activities and process, output and the outcome of the project to be undertaken.

10. Attachments

Here is an opportunity to boost your funding possibilities. Attach letters of support such as awards won, recommendations, media coverage for you organization, etc. This is important because they will boost your credibility. If your project is new, don’t worry, it’s not mandatory to attach.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Douglas Owino

Douglas Owino is an International Business Consultant, a Writer with a Bachelors in International Business Administration (Hons) from US International University (Kenya) and currently pursuing an MBA – International Business in South Korea. He is a Global Changemaker with British Council, Youth Peer Educator, Peace Ambassador, Scholarship Advisor and a Mentor to high school pupils. He previously worked for I Choose Life-Africa (NGO), USAID, FHI360 and Kenya Commercial Bank Group.


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