As NGOs / CBOs, we raise funds mainly from three types of donors:
- Corporate donors, who provide donations, grants, or even consultancies;
- Institutional donors, including private foundations, public trusts, government agencies, bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, etc., systemically give grants or support.
There are multiple channels to approach each of these types of donors. One of the channels to raise funds from Corporates is the CSR route—Corporate Social Responsibility, for which, generally, you would be required to submit a CSR Project Grant Proposal.
Developing a CSR Proposal – The design and structure
A CSR proposal framework can be divided into 3 sections:
Section 1: Introductory
- A brief executive summary – Highlight the problem, the proposed solution, and your methodology, i.e., how do you see this solving the problem?
- About the Organization – Brief history, vision, mission, focus areas, past projects, experiences, and partners. Remember to include only those that is relevant to this project.
- Introducing the proposed intervention – Start with a brief context which would include the problem with relevant data, the Goal, and the Objectives of the proposed project.
Section 2: 3 W’s (Why What and When) and 1 H (How) of Proposal
Why, i.e., the need, the rationale, or the problem statement. Sometimes, RFPs do specify the problem. As mentioned earlier in the steps, even if it is defined, Visit the CSR section of the Corporate and understand their focus. And finally, state the problem statement.
The ‘Context’ you established earlier will help refine this problem statement well. Also, with reference to the problem, you would be required to define the specific geographical location/s where the project would be undertaken and the primary beneficiary group/s.
What i.e., is the solution or the intervention you are proposing? Must refer to schedule VII of the Indian CSR policy framework and ensure that the activities you propose will qualify the project as CSR spending by the Company.
State clearly the strategy you propose as the solution and how the same is sustainable; the risks associated with the solution, assumptions, etc. must also be presented. It must read through like you fully understand how the earlier stated problem can be solved, and the same is prescribed under their CSR policy. Relevant aspects of the steps, like baseline details, if any, must also be integrated.
How? Here you should talk about your implementation strategy, approach, and model, including the proposed processes and methodology. My suggestion would be to present the process of implementation under 3 phases or heads- initiation, actual implementation, and sustainability.
When: The detailed timeline/time schedule, as most donors would be interested in completing the project within the schedule. Thus, you may include a detailed implementation schedule while presenting a realistic time schedule. One way to present
this is a Gantt. A chart is a detailed plan of which activity will be conducted in which month, is presented in the form of a chart.
Before you submit your proposal
- Think, Read, Write and Read again. As is said, practice makes a human being perfect. While reading it, again and again, you would realize you can further improve the proposal. Do it as many times, as you can do it.
- Finally, let a relevant and competent person in your agency, who was not involved in developing the proposal, read it for its communication value.
- Cross-check all information and the list of documents to be furnished- From RFP, you may have made a list. Ensure you have ticked all. If you miss out any key information and document, the proposal may outright be rejected.
- Do a spell check. Sending proposals with incorrect spelling creates a negative impact.
- Format the document. The proposal should be readable and should look neat.
- Unformatted documents give the wrong impression.
- Ensure to submit within the timeline mentioned. Do not wait until the last minute. Many times, on the last date, even at 11.59 pm, we submit the proposal.
Timely and properly presented CSR proposals have a better chance of getting approved.
Also Read: Other Opportunities to Apply