Fund It! What you need to know to create winning fundraising proposals
THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS ARE INCLUDED HERE AS OPTIONAL – YOU COULD OMIT THEM FOR A FIRST PRESENTATION TO A DONOR – THOUGH MOST DONORS THAT WOULD GO AHEAD WITH FUNDING WOULD WANT TO SEE YOUR THINKING ON THESE TOPICS AT SOME STAGE. SO CONSIDER INCLUDING THEM OR BEING PREPARED TO ELABORATE ON THEM AT A LATER STAGE. MANY DONORS DO NOT CONSIDER THEM OPTIONAL, AND WOULD REQUIRE THEM IN ANY APPLICATION.
Identify the risks that could conceivably interfere with your ability to implement the project successfully. While it may seem counter-intuitive to tell a potential donor that there is a possibility the project may not succeed, it is better to identify potential problems BEFORE you start, so that everyone is on the same page about potential problems – donors often have suggestions for mitigating risks.
For example, perhaps you aren't sure how quickly you can find the best qualified staff person to implement the project. Or maybe there is impending civil unrest around an election in the country that could prevent some activities taking place. Perhaps you are relying on unreliable communications systems to advance the work, and you should anticipate some delays in implementation.
Thinking through the project risks on paper helps you to develop contingency plans, which you can also present in this section.
Project sustainability (OPTIONAL)
Donors want to know what will happen to the project after the funding they have contributed is used up. What mechanisms are built into the project, or will be produced by the project, to ensure the project produces lasting results? Consider the following:
Gender considerations (OPTIONAL)
- Project context: Is this project part of a larger undertaking, or is it a distinct activity? Are subsequent phases expected?
- Follow-up: Are there any follow-up activities/programs that will benefit from the results of this project?
- Support: To what extent does the initiative have the ongoing support (including financial) of key domestic and international stakeholders beyond the end date presented to the donor?
Many donors – especially, but not only, government donors – require that projects address gender issues. (Governments often also have other special issue interests that they require be taken into account, so find out what these are and include them in your application.)
For gender accountability, you should say what measures will be taken to ensure that the interests/needs of women, men, girls and boys will be addressed, considering the following:
Evaluation and monitoring (OPTIONAL)
- Planning: What gender inequalities need to be recognised within the context of the project and what strategies will be developed to address them within the project design?
- Implementing: What concrete actions will be taken to ensure the needs/interests of women, men, girls and boys are incorporated into project activities?
- Evaluating: How will women, men, girls and boys benefit from the intended advantages/gains of project activities, and how will this be measured?
How will you know if you have achieved your objectives? It is important to try to identify some ways to measure success, as funders will ask you for this. Most importantly, you should set 'indicators' for success at the beginning of the project that you can review midway through and/or at the end of the project.
Here are some ideas (and you will have many others):
- if you are doing a training session, ask participants to state their 'expectations' at the beginning of the session, and then at the end, ask them to fill out an evaluation telling how they will use the skills they have gained; follow up a few weeks or months later to see if they have used these skills, and document this
- if you are producing a website, show that there will be stakeholder involvement in the building of the website, and also that you can measure how the site is used, and by how many users
- if you are producing materials or a report, you can invite people to review outlines and drafts and comment on them
- it is very useful to convene project advisory groups that you can consult as the project is being developed
- you can do a survey of users of a project resource, and report on the findings.
|TIP: Make sure to include a budget line item for any evaluation activities you plan to undertake, because these cost money. |