Before we start writing a proposal, it is important for us to do some research. No matter how small or big the project is some kind of references to existing literature or data should be made. Usually, it is expected that the NGO has enough information at hand about the problem or the project before writing the proposal. Yet, NGOs have to gather all related information about the issue they are working on and the sit down to write the proposal.
In some cases, donors sponsor pre-proposal research so that organizations have enough evidence, both at field and in literature, before developing the actual proposal. But not many NGOs are lucky enough to avail such an opportunity.
While planning the proposal, it is ideally believed that all stakeholders have been consulted or involved in the process. There are generally three main categories of stakeholders involved in the process of writing the proposal. They are:
1. The Proposing Organization/s or the Proponent: This could be just one NGO or a group of NGOs applying for the project to the donor.
2. The Community: The most important stakeholder for whom the project is conceived. Community members or beneficiaries or the target group has to be involved in the proposal planning process so that the project reflects strong qualities of participation and community ownership.
3. The Donor Agency: Wherever possible, it will be useful to take inputs from the donor. In formal invitations for proposals, the donor may discourage any contact with the proposing organizations. However, in other situations where donor has requested for a one-to-one proposal, it will be a good idea to have several meetings with this stakeholder and note down information carefully. It will also help researching donor priorities while conceiving the proposal idea.
Make sure you gather enough information about your donor, such as,
- Aid priorities and issues of the donor
- The donor’s country strategy paper (if any)
- Proposal Guidelines
- Previously funded projects and programs