Deep inside in your mind, an “idea” to help the poor and the needy is fast taking shape after earnestly witnessing the community problems around you. You know the solutions – you know what needs to be done to improve their living.
On the other side, funders and donors are willing to provide you with the much-needed grants to implement your idea. But these funders and donors require a proposal from you explaining your “idea.” A proposal is a written document that elaborately explains the “idea”, the reasons behind it, how it will be implemented and what will be its benefits.
But although you have the most inspirational ideas occupying their minds, when it comes to writing a proposal, they are lost. They do not know where to start and when to start. To assist such NGOs, Business, startups and development professionals, we have developed a set of questions that will help them elaborate on their ideas and build up a successful proposal quickly.
Do you have enough time for preparing and submitting the proposal?
This is an important question to be answered, and in case the answer is in negative, you better look at another opportunity. Proposal writing needs time, and if there is a grant opportunity, that you just came across and you don’t have enough time to prepare the proposal, it is best not to spend your efforts in preparing the proposal. Always keep enough time to prepare, revise and submit the proposal, much ahead of the actual deadline.
Does your organization have the required strength to prepare a quality proposal?
Many organizations jump into writing a proposal, without actually assessing if they have the necessary manpower to write a quality proposal. If all your project staff is engaged in managing a field project and you do not have a dedicated person to devote all his/her time in writing the proposal, then you should either hire a consultant or an expert to draft your proposal. Writing a quality proposal requires you to think research and then develop the proposal; this can be done only when you have a dedicated team to complete all the sections of a proposal successfully.
Are the donors willing to support your cause?
You have identified the problem and are dedicated to putting all your efforts towards the cause, but have you made sure that there are donors to support the cause. This is where your donor database will come handy. Before you start on with the proposal, you need to identify the donors who will be interested in supporting your organization. Make a list of all the donors that are active in your region and who have supported similar projects in the past. This way, you will be sure that your efforts will not go wasted, and there will surely be people who would be keen to support your project.
Does your organization qualify the eligibility criteria?
All the solicitations published by donor agencies have clearly defined eligibility criteria, which state the organizations that may or may not apply under the particular solicitation. Before you start preparing the response against the solicitation, it is advisable that you go through the eligibility criteria and work on the proposal, only when your organization is eligible for applying.
Does this opportunity align with your mission?
Your organization must be having a mission, and all your activities should be aligned to achieve the organization’s mission. When applying for any solicitation, always make sure that the opportunity is aligned with your organization’s mission. Applying for random opportunities drains not only the efforts of your team but also dilutes the organization mission.
How will winning the grant help your organization?
When planning a proposal, always think of the larger picture and see how will wining a particular grant help your organization in accomplishing the goal/mission? Answering this question during the planning stage enables you to assess if all your efforts are going in the right direction and if applying to a particular opportunity will positively help your organization. Many organizations submit a proposal without even realizing the real worth of it, and even if they win the grant, they are unable to make the best use of it.
Does your organization have the Human and Capital Resources to execute the project successfully?
When planning a project, try to assess your organizations existing resources and ability to manage and implement the project. If you are a small or a new organization, then do not run for large projects. Donor agencies review every submission very carefully so if your current team does not have the required expertise or experience in managing million dollar projects, then it is advisable for you to apply for smaller projects. It is always better to pass on an opportunity than to execute it poorly.
Also Read: Other Opportunities to Apply