How to Respond to Funding Calls for Proposals

Proposals should be written and submitted following advertised calls. If you intend to approach an agency or foundation to test their potential interest in your projects you should opt for a concept note or a letter of inquiry.

First of all, take your time to read carefully existing packages for applicants made available by the institution advertising the call. Main donor agencies will provide you with extensive information regarding their ongoing activities including set goals and preferred methodologies to engage with for the writing of your own proposal. Remember that the competition for available funding is tough. Thus to succeed in securing funding must begin from an in depth engagement with the material made available to you.

It is useful to read the call for proposals several times and to write down key sentences and words used by the donor to describe their aims and the scope of the specific call you are answering to. You will use this information to draft your own proposal making sure to repeat same concepts used by the donor agency in order to highlight how your own goals fulfil their expectations and also to prove that you are aware of what they are asking for.

It is also useful to browse the list of projects previously implemented under similar calls and by the donor you are targeting to understand what sort of projects they are interested in sponsoring. To assess other projects implemented with the aid of your target donor could also inspire you and give you new ideas for framing your project.

For what concerns the structuring of your proposal you should follow the guidelines given by your potential donor. Make sure to understand what information is required to fill in the application form. Even though the structure of these application form varies according to donors, you will generally be asked to provide information about your NGO and its history (refer to your manifesto), a brief summary of your project, purposes, planned activities, main outputs, and ways to measure the impact of your project in the community.

The key to success is to draft a proposal with a strong internal consistency and explaining how you will achieve concrete results.