HANDBOOK FOR PROJECTS:
Prepared by Dr Anne Touwen
Convener IFUW Special Committee on Project Development
PLANNING PROJECTS .................................................................................................................1
PROJECT PLANNING CYCLE......................................................................................................4
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION ..................................................................................................18
FUNDRAISING IS FRIENDRAISING ........................................................................................26
VARIOUS SOURCES OF FUNDING .........................................................................................31
PROJECT PROPOSAL WRITING ..............................................................................................38
International Federation of University Women
8, rue de l’Ancien-Port, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: (41 22) 731 23 80; Fax: (41 22) 738 04 40
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.ifuw.org
FROM THE IFUW PRESIDENT . . .
Project development is an integral part of IFUW’s programme in carrying out its mission to
improve the status of women and girls, promote lifelong education and enable graduate women
to use their expertise to effect change. Over the years IFUW has promoted and supported
project development and training in numerous ways.
It was, in 1919, a small group of IFUW members that established the Virginia Gildesleeve
International Fund for Women designed to support projects world-wide focusing on women’s
educational activities, leadership training and community development. This Fund enabled
IFUW to hold special training workshops in conjunction with IFUW Triennial Conferences as well
as providing grants for many development projects initiated by IFUW affiliates as well as
resources materials such as this handbook.
The Counterpart Aid Programme which started in 1978 and which has evolved into the present
Bina Roy Partners in Development Programme, has assisted many IFUW affiliates in the
development of sustainable community projects as well as enabling affiliates in developing
countries and countries in transition to be part of IFUW.
In 1980-81 IFUW began its partnership with four other major women’s organizations with the
establishment of Project Five-0 dedicated to joint development of projects to provide training in
income generation and general welfare of communities.
In 1980 IFUW established a Special Committee on Projects to “work with national federations
and associations on projects requiring funding from outside agencies” It is interesting to note that
this first Committee developed criteria for a “good” project:
• A project should arise from a genuine, identified need
• A project should usually originate from the grass-roots, and/or be innovative in character
• A project should aim to improve the educational, social and economic position of women,
girls and children
• A project should be within the capability of the affiliate, either alone or in cooperation with
• A project should be managed, implemented, evaluated, and reported on by the affiliate’s
members, or, in part, by persons designated to do so by the affiliate and
• A project should increase the self-reliance of the recipients and beneficiaries.
Since 1980 special workshops on project development have been held in conjunction with a
number of IFUW Triennial Conferences and Councils as well as at the regional and national
levels. The residential training provided by the “Base Camp” programmes held in conjunction
with the IFUW Triennial Conferences in Graz,1997, and in Ottawa, 2001, illustrate IFUW’s
continuing emphasis on the importance of training in project development
In 1995 a handbook on organizational development was produced "Planning for Change"; it
included a section on Project Development.
IFUW is grateful to Dr. Anne Touwen for developing and producing this Handbook for Project
Development and Management and Fundraising. It builds on previous experience and work
while providing a comprehensive resource with concrete examples on project development and
fundraising. It is our hope that this resource will assist IFUW members to develop projects that
meet community and organizational needs and further the mission of IFUW world-wide.
Linda Souter, IFUW President 1998-2001
Project development always was and still is an important activity for many IFUW affiliates. These
projects may vary in content or scope but not in dedication and commitment shown by
associations, branches and individual members. To strengthen this activity IFUW organized in
1998 (Graz) and 2001 (Ottawa) at its Triennial Conference a major training event under the
name Base Camp. Participants from all affiliates were staying in the same residence and
received training in project development and management, proposal writing and fundraising. The
training also included a practical work assignment.
As Base Camp coordinator and trainer I have been delegated by the IFUW Board of Officers to
prepare a handbook in order to consolidate the training and offer a reference book for future
project development and management in IFUW’s affiliates. IFUW is grateful to the publishers of
the Worldwide Fundraiser’s Handbook (The Directory for Social Change, London) and The
International Donor Directory (International Partnership for Human Development, London) for the
permission to use materials on fundraising and proposal writing, as indicated in the text.
IFUW would also like to express its sincere thanks to UNESCO* for their grant enabling it to
publish this handbook. Together with the grant from the Virginia Gildersleeve Fund Inc., and
CIDA* the UNESCO money enabled us to partly cover travel costs of Base Camp participants as
The Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the project planning procedure with many
concrete examples. It also gives an overview of the most important skills for fundraising and
describes in detail how proposals should be written. And last but not least, various sources of
funding are discussed.
I hope that you find it useful.
Dr Anne Touwen
* UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
CIDA: Canadian International Development Agency
NB As some of the materials in this Handbook are reproduced from other textbooks, by kind
permission of the publishers as indicated in the text, this Handbook is for internal use only.
Project Development & Management
1 PLANNING PROJECTS
Experience shows that when projects are being planned, the task of establishing a sound basis
for goals and objectives, and defining them properly, is not given sufficient attention. Yet, these
are the most fundamental elements of planning. A good plan alone is no guarantee for a good
project. However, a plan which builds on a weak foundation can lead to a good project idea
developing into a poor project.
Project proposals and plans differ in style and in degree of detail on specific activities. The
differences depend on the type of project, but many are also matters of choice. Some prefer a
loose framework plan with details to be filled in along the way. Others prefer a more detailed
master plan. When one considers applying for donor funding then certainly a well written,
detailed project proposal has to be made. Regardless of what is chosen, the essential elements
described below will make up the basis for the project document.
Important aspects which should be considered in all development-related project proposals are
gender, the impact on the environment and sustainability. They ensure greater viability and
impact/effect of our efforts. Before describing the various steps in the planning process I first will
discuss these issues in some more detail.
1.2 Integrating Gender in Community Related Project Planning
The community development approach, designed to create conditions of economic and social
progress, emphasises the significance of people's participation, needs orientation, self-reliance,
consciousness-raising, bottom-up approach to development, and empowerment of communities,
and thus of both women and men.
Integration and sustainability are keywords in this approach which is based on the ideal situation
that women and men organise themselves in a democratic manner to: (a) define their needs,
problems and issues; (b) develop plans and strategies to meet these needs, and (c) implement
such plans with maximum community participation to reap the benefits.
"Participation" of women and men provides an effective means to mobilise resources, to tap
knowledge and energy, and above all provides legitimacy to the project or activity, and promotes
commitment and ownership, and thus sustainability.
"Empowerment" is a concept that goes beyond participation. It is a process which promotes the
sharing of power. Therefore, empowerment helps people to liberate themselves from mental and
physical dependence. It is the ability to stand independently, think progressively, plan and
implement changes, and accept the outcomes. Empowerment of women is a crucial aspect of
any community development programme/project.
Gendered community development, therefore, takes women's interests and needs as a starting
point as much as those of men. And, consequently, integrates gender in all phases of the project
cycle, from planning to implementation to evaluation.
Gender-sensitive Project Planning
Gender-sensitive planning requires that gender is integrated into all the planning steps, from the
collection of data for a situational analysis and needs assessment to the evaluation of the project
at the end.
In gender-sensitive project planning we, therefore, have to:
• Collect gender-sensitive data and do a gender-sensitive situational analysis,
• Do a gender sensitive needs assessment,
• Develop projects which take into account the different needs and interests of women and men,
• Perform gender-sensitive monitoring and evaluation.
To involve women in a local planning process a few basic rules apply:
• Meet the women where they are, for instance, organise meetings at a time which is
convenient to them (not when they are busy harvesting),
• Start with issues concerning everyday life (their practical needs),
• Underline the "all win" situation of the participation of women,
• Recognise the importance of face-to-face contact,
• Strengthen the women's confidence in themselves, ensure that their voices are heard
and that their input is taken seriously,
• Arrange small self-governing groups and provide the necessary skills training,
• Stimulate associations or encourage them to join existing organisations that promote the
interests of women and open up channels for funding,
• Move from dreams to visions to plans to action: make all your planning action-oriented
and use strategic alliances to strengthen your position.
1.3 Environmental Considerations
By environment is understood the totality of conditions, circumstances and influences
surrounding and affecting the development of any organisms. In the case of human individuals,
and communities, our environment is made up of both natural and humanly created or built
environments. At the global scale, our environment is the planet, at the local level it is the
surrounding natural ecosystem. Households in societies in transition to an urban, industrial
economy develop adaptive strategies making use of a combination of natural environment
resources and income from work to buy the necessities of life. It is women who very often
manage this economy, making use of whatever resources are available. Urbanisation places a
burden on these already vulnerable households in that the environment in which people live is
extremely unhealthy and the possibilities for food production are extremely limited.
The fundamental human right to subsistence, therefore, includes the rights of women to use land
in order to have a means of livelihood either from natural resources or from income generating
activities. This was recognised by the UN when the Women's Action Agenda 21 was drawn up
for the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, 1992.
The sustainable use of natural resources is impossible without consideration of gender relations and
issues. Too often better environmental management does not benefit women, on the contrary, it is
sometimes at the expense of women; they provide the labour, without gaining the benefit.
Projects should always be screened on possible environmental impacts from a gender-sensitive
Community Project Development Model
Goals and Objectives
Feasibility Study (Resources&Constraints)
Planning Project Activities
Responsibilities Facilities, Services and
Coordination Monitoring Contingency
2 PROJECT PLANNING CYCLE
The project cycle consists of five distinct phases:
1. Collecting Baseline data: a situation analysis and resource charting
2. Needs Assessment
3. The Design phase: developing an action plan, a feasibility study
4. Implementation, including monitoring progress
In this chapter the first three phases are discussed.
2.1 A Baseline Study and Situational Analysis
The situation analysis aims at describing problems and needs within an area, and charting the
local resources available to do something about them.
A good initial situation analysis is necessary for good project implementation. Goals, activities,
and resource inputs are all meaningless without understanding the context of the target group:
the environment, values, and relationships. All planning must therefore be based upon
knowledge of the real situation, and of the various factors which have formed it.
The situation analysis is an activity which can firmly link planning to the realities in the field, and
thereby to the implementation of the project. The findings should guide and -define the content of
the project formulation. If this does not happen, a situation easily develops where what was
planned is not implemented, and what is implemented was not planned.
Often, an NGO (non-governmental organisation) comes to an area because overwhelming
problems have come to the attention of the outside world. It is essential to find out what is
perceived as the real problem locally, how problems interrelate, how they have evolved, and
which of the problems are considered most urgent.
It is important to identify the resources available locally. There is no region or group of people
totally devoid of resources. Every group has a history, a way of coexisting with nature, a social
structure, equipment, knowledge and skills, traditions, capital etc. An outsider often experiences
difficulties in getting a complete picture of such locally available resources.
The attitude that everything needs to be supplied from outside should be avoided. Finding ways
to use, supplement and complement locally available resources should be a prime concern.
Plans and decisions must be based on knowledge. However, not all types of data and
information are equally useful. Too much irrelevant information is a common problem.
Inaccurate, extraneous, out-dated or distorted information is of limited use.
Collecting enough relevant information to shed perfect light on every aspect of a problem is a
virtual impossibility. There will always be unclear aspects about which more data can be
obtained, and issues that can be assessed differently, in light of new information. The project
partners must therefore seek to find a balance between too much and too little information.
Research in the traditional sense is not always relevant to planning. Reports often contain too
much information or have significantly different objectives and perspectives. Research can be
too expensive or take too long to carry out. On the other hand, there are too many projects
based solely on information gathered during a short visit by a donor organisation. Sometimes a
short conversation is all, and leads to a project plan and a budget.
Obtaining just enough balanced and well-founded information always requires careful
When the project idea is formulated by local groups or organisations which themselves are not
part of the target group, preconceived "knowledge of local conditions" can be a problem: It can
lead to quick and easy conclusions which do not take into account the target group's unique
characteristics and possibilities.
Where, on the other hand, the target group itself has taken the initiative, it is often necessary to
contribute by extending the perspective of the planning process to include regional and national
2.1.1 What Kind of Information?
Every analysis is coloured by the conscious and unconscious assumptions and suppositions
held by the person who reports, analyses and recommends. The principles, traditions, and
attitudes of the initiators influence the choice and use of information from the field. A well-
founded situation analysis can make possible a flow of influence in the other direction -from the
field to the agency. Factual information from the field can help the organisation correct its
perspective, and its attitudes.
It is important to clarify what type of external constraints of a more structural character the
project must relate to at national, regional and local levels. This type of clarification allows for a
more realistic view of what can be expected from a project. Project activities often run into
conflict with such constraints, unless the constraints are acknowledged and taken into
consideration during planning.
If the target group is a local community, it will most often be appropriate to begin the situation
analysis right there, and then extend the perspective gradually. If the target group is harder to
identify at this early stage in planning, it may be more appropriate to start with a defined
administrative or geographical area. The project partners' principal fields of interest greatly
influence the choice of issues, relationships, and processes to focus upon (such as children, the
handicapped, co-operatives, labour unions, ecology etc.).
General information on the local context and the local community as a whole, should always be
In describing particular problems, links and causal relationships to other problems and issues
must be made evident. Several problems may have overlapping causes. Doing something about
some causes at one or more levels may be within reach of the planned project. It is therefore
important to clarify what causes are within range of the project activities and which ones are not -
at least at the outset.
2.1.2 How to Gather Information
One must seek to optimise the knowledge and experience gain from the information gathered
(its relevance, accuracy and suitability), in relation to the investments made to gather it (the time
and money spent). Before beginning, it is therefore important to clarify the following:
What information is not needed? Deciding that certain information is neither wanted nor
necessary, demands courage. In some investigations, far too much information is gathered just
in case it might become useful.
The level of ambition (quantity and quality).
Certain principles are fundamental:
Spending time on the first phase of planning is a good investment.
Listen and learn. Allow the local people to express themselves. Consider them teachers and
yourself a student. Assume that they possess important information.
Combine several approaches. Try to approach each question in many different ways. This tends
to correct and enhance the picture. Don't believe that a particular approach is the only right one.
Clarify your assumptions. Try to clarify on which assumptions statements are being made, and
where possible pitfalls are hidden. How, for instance, is the situation analysis coloured by the
sex of team members or of informants, by the route taken by the team, by the time of year the
project area was visited, etc.
2.1.3 Methods of Gathering Information
The following describes various methods of gathering data and information. The reasonably
priced and straight-forward ones should be preferred. In cases where the more complex and
expensive methods must be used, one should evaluate critically which one(s) will be most
appropriate. The approach taken by an external organisation which is just starting up work in a
new partner country will naturally differ from that of a local organisation which is already
established and in operation.
a) Use of available documentary evidence
It is not necessary to re-invent the wheel. In many developing countries, large amounts of
research material and lots of reports exist, but are hardly made use of Identifying possible
sources of such information is an important task. Good places to look are universities, colleges,
research centres, and larger development assistance organisations and multilateral bodies (such
as UN organisations, WHO, World Bank).
The most relevant statistics can often be found in the appropriate government ministry or
planning office, or in an office of national statistics. The quality can vary, and needs to be
assessed. Finding specific data relevant to small local areas is often difficult. However, more
information is usually available than one expects.
Observation includes all forms of direct presence in the project area. "Field visits" are most often
quick visits to the field by one or more representatives of the project partners (increasingly by
consultants as well) with the aim of gaining personal impressions on which to found
A select few master this form, and can in the course of a brief field visit grasp (and later on
express) the essential details in a situation while retaining a clear overall view. For most others,
field visits may seem to have been efficient, but the knowledge gained is at best superficial, and
sometimes completely wrong.
Observation is important and necessary, but not sufficient alone.
Observation can be more or less efficient. Observing in an unstructured manner, like when the
observer aimlessly wanders round talking with people, or is perhaps just a spectator, is in
general far less effective than structured observation. Preparing a checklist of what is important
to look into, and then observing the same conditions in, several villages, is an example of a way
to structure observation to improve its value.
c) Interviews and seminars
The use of interviews is a common way of collecting information. Like observation, interviews
can be more or less structured, depending on the type of information that is required, and the
.planning process itself. Important questions should be properly formulated beforehand. This will
increase the level of accuracy and help make the use of the data more consistent. A general
checklist of issues to be discussed should always be prepared in planning for interviews.
Finding and getting in touch with local key figures can be of vital importance. They know the
country, the people and the area, and can help answer many of the questions which are
connected to the planning phase. Useful resource people are representatives of other
organisations, local and central authorities, social workers, teachers, etc.
Particularly in the planning of local community projects, access to the experience possessed by
the local population is essential. They have a unique and superior knowledge of the plants,
animals, soil conditions, farming methods, social and cultural traditions, etc. Finding and meeting
with people who are in the centre of the local network in one way or another, formally or
informally, is therefore very important.
Interviews should also at tempt to identify conflicts (of interest and otherwise) and differing sets
of values in the area. This will usually mean supplementing other information available by
consciously seeking out groups and individuals who do not ordinarily have the opportunity to
express their wishes, their demands, and their interpretation of the situation.
Group interviews are often advantageous. They allow for contact with more people.
Another advantage is that when trying to obtain sensitive data, the group often has a correcting
and controlling influence.
Panels of experts, or panels with representatives of different groups can also meaning- fully be
used, both to highlight important issues, and for more in-depth discussion on particular areas of
d) Field studies and investigations
There are many ways of conducting field studies: Local ad hoc investigations can be undertaken
in direct co-operation with the potential target group, perhaps involving other local co-operating
partners, students, teachers or researchers. Investigations of this type can have an informal and
qualitative nature, or a more formal questionnaire can be utilised. The "community diagnosis" (a
much used starting point in the planning of primary health services), is an example of how this
type of investigation can meaningfully be used.
Better methods and more resources, often including special expertise, may be necessary to find
relevant, accurate, and up to date information on people's understanding of themselves and their
living conditions, or in order to analyse particular problem areas in depth.
In the case of larger and more expensive investigations, care must be taken to define a precise
objective, decide upon a clear approach to the problem, and limit the scope according to the
particular need. It is also important to bring the time plan for the investigations into agreement
with the time plan for the rest of the planning process. To be useful, the results from
investigations must be ready in time to aid further planning.
2.1.4 Summing Up
A systematic understanding of the current situation in a given community sets the stage and
provides the basis for any community project. It helps to consider how changes can be made to
achieve certain goals and ideas. A situational analysis is a database for the project and should
contain gender-disaggregated data. On the basis of these data a community profile can be
Data collection for a community profile
* political/administrative structure
* demographic features and population characteristics
* economic activities
* social stratification and power relations
* organisations and their functions and activities
* leadership pattern and its influence
* cultural facets or traditions
* critical issues and problems
Sources of information are:
* documents or files in government offices/NGOs
* reports of surveys
* community members
* informal leaders in the community
* government officials or formal leaders
* NGO personnel
* politicians or local representatives of the area
* document review
* observations and informal conversations
* listening to people
* brainstorming sessions
Important points to remember:
* There is no single technique that is appropriate to get information from all sources.
* The best option is to use a variety of techniques.
* The most common techniques are questionnaires, interviews and observations.
* Group discussions are frequently used.
2.2 Needs Assessment
Needs assessment deals with the question: Who needs what as defined by whom.
2.2.1 Needs Identification
Needs assessment is one of the critical stages in the project development process, Reliable,
accurate and usable information is needed that reflects the ideas articulated by representative
groups of the target population and other stakeholders in the community. Women and men
should be consulted throughout the process so that both perspectives can be taken into account.
Women's needs often are different from the men's needs and if not taken into account project
planning has a false start. Moreover, consulting the people will stimulate the sense of ownership
when the project will be implemented.
2.2.2 Prioritising Needs
No one can address all identified needs in one project. Therefore, priorities have to be set. This
has to be done with all stakeholders concerned, men and women. See sheet for prioritising
2.2.3 Levelling of Needs
Stakeholders may have different priorities. Then a negotiating process should bring consensus
on which priorities should first be addressed.
Deciding on what
needs to be
2.3 Project Design
2.3.1 The Target Group(s)
The project plan must define clearly the target group(s) for the project. This seems self evident,
but is nevertheless often given little attention.
Finding target groups already organized at the outset, and ready for discussions and
negotiations about objectives and the means for self development, happens rarely.
In many real-life projects, the target group is somewhat diffuse and sometimes seems nearly
arbitrary. Example definitions are "those who come", and "those we have contact with". Health
projects often fall into this category .The demand for services itself creates the target group.
Choosing not to relate consciously to any particular target group means giving priority to those
who for one reason or another are able to get into contact with the project. This leaves no time
nor resources for those who do not come.
Broad, general terms used to define the target group (i.e. "the poor of the village" or "the poorest
of the poor'), can be meaningful in policy papers, but have no place in concrete project planning.
The situation analysis attempts to broadly outline what the problem is, for whom, and why.
Defining the target group is to ask:
Towards whom can we direct our efforts to do something about the problem?
The target group can be defined according to age, sex, occupation, income group, geographical
area, or membership of a particular social class or other group. Other possible criteria are for
instance peoples level of access to particular services, their nutritional status, etc.
Being conscious of the target group helps focus and concentrate the project effort. The
choice of target group defines limits, and can in some cases erect new social barriers and
improve the situation for some at the expense of others. Local society is seldom homogeneous.
Conflicts, power blocs, and contradictory opinions and needs are part of almost every society.
Care must therefore be taken in making the choice, and in assessing its consequences.
In light of the problems and causal relationships revealed by the situation analysis, and taking
into account the type of assistance the organisation can offer, the following issues need to be
• Who should the target group be for real changes in the desired direction to take place?
• What conflicts may arise?
• What structures are already there, or can be mobilised, to enable broad communication
with the target group, and to deal with potential conflicts?
2.3.2 Goals and Objectives
Defining goals is an important part of the planning process. The project ideology of the project
partners, and the prevalent understanding of causal relationships and how they can be
influenced, are usually the most important factors behind the choices made and the limits
The statement of goals for the project should answer the question:
Where do we want to go with the project?
Development goals, project objectives and intermediate objectives must relate to the problems
which have been identified in the situation analysis and to the causal relationships described
The target group must play an important role all through the planning process for real
participation to be possible. In fact, the target group should by this stage already have been
involved in the situation analysis, and in finding causal relationships between various problems.
Defining goals and objectives means deciding what problems are to be given priority.
The work of formulating goals must therefore be given the attention it deserves. Achieving
meaningful interaction through the exchange of views between the different parties involved, is
particularly important at this stage. Areas of agreement need to be clarified, and are as of
disagreement must be found and properly related to.
A rough draft of goals and objectives can often be obtained by simply re-formulating the
description of a chain of problems.
Many children die before the age of 5 in the Bhagari Region.
To reduce child mortality in the Bhagari Region.
Including something on how much in what time frame makes the goal more specific. For example:
To reduce child mortality by 30% in 3 years.
To be able to do something about the problem, one must find the causal relationships behind it.
By considering all the problems and needs together (as identified in the situation analysis), it is
possible to shed light on how they are linked up and interact, both as causes and consequences
of each other.
Certain causes are immediately obvious to planners. Further research and analysis can reveal
others. Some causes and the connections between them can only be understood by members of
the local community. Therefore, the planners must share their knowledge and the plans they
make with the local community, and the local community must be encouraged to share its
knowledge with the planners.
The goals should as far as possible be realistic, and should take into consideration inherent
constraints. This is often easier said than done. A possible approach is to first make a rough
draft of goals and objectives, then go back and review the causal relationships, the assumptions
made, and the constraints and limitations found. The proposed strategies also need to be re-
assessed in light of the findings. Finally, the goals and objectives are re-formulated, making
them more concrete and more realistic (See also our example).
In the case of the "Bhagari Region", with its high rate of child mortality, a whole range of
problems need to be identified.
Some possible factors:
• The long distance to water; polluted surface water.
• Many mothers being responsible for their families alone; unemployment forces the men
to leave the area.
• Little opportunity to produce food for yourself; arabIe land is being contracted out for
cultivation of cash crops.
• Very few girls attend school long enough or regularly enough to learn to read and write.
Widespread under nourishment among children and adults.
• Long queues and high prices at the 3 health centres in the region.
• Taboos regarding food and disease.
In this case, the immediate causes of the high rate of infant mortality can be identified as:
• Diarrhoea, respiratory infections, measles, under nourishment, tetanus during early
• Infectious diseases and under nourishment amplify each other mutually as causes of
The underlying causes seem to be:
• Lack of available basic services ( water supply, health services, education).
• Barriers (economic, attitudes, options) preventing the use of new knowledge full
utilisation of established services.
• Unstable and vulnerable nutritional situation due to dependency on outside and
• poor use of limited choices with regard to local production.
To make a good choice of goals and strategy for this project, one would need to know which of
the identified causal factors are given the highest priority by the target and which ones it would
be realistic to try to change.
A rough draft of goals and objectives might look like this:
To improve the living conditions and the quality of life for children and their families in the
To reduce the infant mortality rate in the Bhagari Region by 30% within 3 year
A. To establish basic health services for mothers and children making them available to
75% of the populati
Activities under A:
1 Group work on health, disease and local understanding in 3 pilot villages.
2 Vaccination of children ages 0-3 years with 75% coverage within 3 years.
3 Contact with 75% of pregnant women at least twice during each pregnancy. Etc.
B. To increase the production and availability of nourishing food.
Activities under B:
1 Establishing opportunities to borrow money for small-scale production initiatives.
2 Establishment of 2 production cooperatives.
3 Nutrition education as part of all activities. Etc.
C. To make better water available within 10 minutes walk to 75 % of the population.
Activities under C
1 The construction of 10 new small-scale water supply systems.
2 Improving 15 existing wells.
3 Educational program on water hygiene for a total of 25 women's groups. Etc.
Intermediate goal B is still not sufficiently well formulated. It is not specific enough to make the
measurement of progress possible. This reflects too poor knowledge about the causal
relationships in the field of food production in the area, and about opportunities to change them.
The suggested activities are therefore only outlines, and the whole issue would need to be
looked closer at during the starting up phase of the project
Determining goals and objectives based on prioritised needs is essential for the successful
completion of a project. They set the direction of the project and are the terms of reference for
monitoring progress and the final evaluation.
A goal defines, very broadly, what is expected of a project and is made up of several objectives
all leading to the achievement of the goal.
Objectives have to be:
• Related to needs
• Measurable or quantifiable
2.3.3 A Feasibility Study: Assumptions and Constraints
The situation analysis is meant to give all involved parties an overview of actual needs, practical
constraints, and likely possibilities.
The problems as they relate to the chosen target group were the main consideration in
formulating goals. However, it is important to reconsider them in the light of identified
assumptions and constraints to make sure they are feasible in the given situation.
As part of this reconsideration it is necessary to look at the causal relations which have been
demonstrated. One must find out what external conditions and developments beyond the control
of the project have been assumed at the various levels, and how they might come to influence
the success of the project. Identifying and assessing the assumptions made and the inherent
constraints, makes it possible to adapt goals and to choose the strategies with the best chance
Qualified personnel are needed for a church-related hospital
Building a nurses training college
Establishing a nurses training college with the capacity to graduate 15 nurses per year
a) There must be an adequate supply of qualified students who would like to start nurses
b) That a sufficient number of the trainees will (1) complete their training, (2) continue working as
nurses, and (3) want to work at the church hospital.
All the assumptions create uncertainty as to whether the final goal will be reached, i.e.
getting sufficient qualified personnel for the church hospital to ensure high quality nursing care.
The nurses training college project has little control over these factors. Identifying them at the
outset, makes it possible to examine them closely. The risks can be properly assessed, and
possible measures to reduce the risks can be considered.
There are likely to be other constraints in the situation as well. National approval of the nurses
training college may be required. This might for instance limit the range of choices with regard to
the qualifications required of applicants. Or there may be a national quota system for posting
trained nurses. This might mean that the mission hospital's needs might not in the end be
Ideally, all assumptions should be identified which may influence whether or not the principal
objectives of the project will be attained. If this can be done, it is possible to assert with a high
degree of certainty that if the required resources are invested, and the assumptions hold, then
the project objectives will be attained.
This kind of analysis makes it possible to accurately analyse the feasibility of the project goals,
and to find out which are the most critical risks, already during the planning phase. It also
constitutes a good basis for choosing what factors to monitor closely during the implementation
of the project.
The process is as follows:
After determining goals and objectives on the basis of prioritised needs, it is essential to take
stock of the needed and available resources (human, material, financial, institutional), as well as
the constraints that may be encountered in attempting to achieve the objectives.
This involves a feasibility study to decide whether the necessary human, institutional and
financial resources are available and what constraints could negatively influence the project.
Cultural concepts about gender relations could, for instance, be a constraint for the successful
implementation of the project. If so, this constraint should be dealt with first.
2.3.4 Main Strategies
Whereas the goals and objectives spell out where we want to go, strategies and activities
together show how we plan to get there.
There are usually several different choices of strategy available, all of which will lead to the
desired objective. A description of goals does not necessarily suggest a way of reaching them.
Most strategies are based on accumulated experience from real project situations. The
popularity of strategies changes with time and place:
Examples from different sectors:
In agriculture, there was a time when centres with demonstration plots were common. More
recent projects have often chosen to emphasise decentralised farm advisory services
In health, the main strategy used to be to improve medical facilities. More recently, preventive
medicine has been emphasised. At present, combining preventive and curative medicine is the
Possible choices in health include: Institutional and mainly curative medicine; integrated services
mainly focused on primary health; concentrated efforts directed towards mother and childcare,
Social services were once considered important to improve the living conditions and the quality
of life of the poorest population groups. More recently, stimulating entrepreneurship to increase
economic activity has often been favoured.
A strategy for community development which has become popular in the 1980's is characterised
by decentralisation of initiative, activities and responsibility. This type of strategy carries with it a
whole range of inherent assumptions and consequences.
The term "vertical project" has been used to describe sector inputs consisting of single
components within a given sector. Examples are malaria control, family planning, adult literacy
training for school leavers, etc.
"Integrated projects" include a whole range of components (within a specific sector, or cross
sectoral) which actively interact. The components are seen as a functional and administrative
whole (e.g. "integrated rural development").
Most project strategies have both strengths and weaknesses. The choice between them
should be made according to the project goals and according to the general context of the
The description of goals and the analysis of assumptions and constraints both contain valuable
background information for making these choices. For example, a nutrition program might
benefit from an integrated strategy, whereas leprosy might best be dealt with through a vertical
project -of course co-ordinated with other health services.
The choice of strategy is important, and should be considered carefully. It has important
implications for the priority given to different means and project components, and should
harmonise with what is generally emphasised by the different parties involved (including the
future project management). All the project partners, including the target group, should therefore
participate in the process of choosing strategy.
It is often fruitful to discuss alternative strategies in order to find the one which offers the best
chance of success.
The choice of a main strategy should be described in the project document, and thereby help
ensure continuity. Changes of main strategy along the way must be possible, but should only be
made consciously, and should be well founded in relation to the initial terms' reference for the
The project strategies will help bridge the gap between the basic development philosophies and
principles of the organisations, and the choice of goals, target groups and inputs for individual
In describing the project's main strategy, the project document should specifically clarify:
• strategies in relation to women's participation
• strategies in relation to environment and sustainability
These two concerns, and the consequences of the strategies employed to deal with them,
are considered so important to the sustainability of the development process that they always
need to be addressed carefully.
All strategies should be analysed with sustainability in mind, attempting to predict both the short
term and the long-term effects of project inputs into the local society - ecologically, economically,
socially and culturally.
2.3.5 Action Plan
Planning project activities involves the following steps:
1) Identifying activities. Identifying project activities is the most important step in the project
planning phase and should involve all the stakeholders, men and women, in a participatory
way. The activities should be based on the objectives, taking into consideration the
resources and constraints.
2) Sequencing activities.
3) Determining human, financial and material resources.
4) Developing a time frame for activities. The time frame should include a monitoring schedule.
5) Monitoring and Evaluation
To help you develop an action plan use the following checklist:
• What are the activities to accomplish the objectives?
• Why is the activity taking place?
• For Whom is the activity?
• Who is doing the activity? Which human resources do we use?
• Where is the activity taking place?
• When is the activity taking place?
• Who is responsible for coordination/implementation?
• How is monitoring and evaluation assured?
• What is the budget?
After the design has been made it should be written down as a project plan and, when external
funding is needed, a project proposal should be prepared, including a detailed budget.
The budget should include an estimate of the services, equipment, facilities, and materials that
can be contributed by the beneficiaries (both in-kind and financial contributions), so that: the
community knows the value of its own contribution, donor agencies can see how much the
beneficiaries are contributing, because they often require matching funds, ownership is
For guidelines on funding and proposal writing, see chapters 5-7.
3 PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
Project implementation involves a number of activities. Among the major activities are securing
community participation for launching the project, co-ordination of activities, monitoring, and
taking care of contingencies. These activities are usually the responsibility of a project manager/
coordinator or a project management committee.
Project management includes various management functions as summed up on page 19.
Of all these management activities three will be singled out: co-ordination, team-building and
Co-ordination is the process whereby two or more people/organisations work together to deal
collectively with a shared task. The responsibility for co-ordination may be assigned to a single
individual or a team/group of individuals, in consultation with all the parties concerned. Co-
ordination would the major responsibility of a project coordinator, heading a project team.
The rationale for co-ordination is:
• To achieve the objectives of the project with a minimum amount of constraints.
• To take immediate corrective action for problems encountered in the implementation of
• To promote better relationships among organisations, institutions, departments and
individuals connected with the project and to harmonise resources and activities for the
achievement of project objectives.
• To establish cordial relationships between the target population of a project and all the
other sections, including the political leadership.
The following questions should be asked:
1) Co-ordination among whom?
2) What problems could come up in attempting to co-ordinate activities?
3) What needs to be done or what mechanisms should be set up to prevent such problems and
Co-ordinators should have leadership qualities because they need to encourage people to act
purposefully toward realisation of the project's goals and objectives.
This requires certain leadership qualities:
• to motivate people in such a way that they feel positive about their responsibilities;
• to delegate and assign responsibilities to people
• to manage conflict to make sure that differences are addressed and effective working
relationships are developed;
• to communicate information so that people have the information they need to perform
their work effectively and efficiently.
Project co-ordinators should be flexible and able to adapt to changes within and outside the
organisation and manage change to encourage creativity and flexibility in achieving program
Planning is making decisions about which courses of action to follow. It includes the following
• Establishing objectives to determine the end result;
• Developing strategies to determine how to reach objectives, by when, and by whom;
• Preparing budgets to determine the cost of using resources;
• Establishing policies to have standing decisions on recurring situations;
• Establishing standards to ensure continued quality of services and products.
Organizing is developing relationships and allocating responsibilities within the organisation.
It includes the following activities:
• Developing organizational structure to establish accountability within the
• organization through clear reporting and supervising relationships;
• Establishing teams that work together to reach objectives;
• Establishing job descriptions to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear;
• Determining staff activities to carryout work plans.
Staffing is filling positions within the organizational structure. It includes the following activities:
• Recruiting people with appropriate qualifications for positions in the organization;
• Orienting new people to their positions to help them learn about their responsibilities, the
relationships within the organization, the organization 's goals and objectives, and the
culture of the organization;
• Providing training when necessary to upgrade people's skills.
Controlling means managing activities to ensure progress toward the program objectives. It
includes the following:
• Measuring progress of project by comparing the current situation with established goals
• Submitting reports to account for project activities and finances;
• Monitoring performance to document the way people carry out their responsibilities;
• Providing feedback to people on a regular, informal basis, including positive feedback and
• If the project employs staff regular performance appraisals should be organized to formally
assess the way people work and extent to which they produce results, and to give them
feedback about their work;
• Adjusting plans to respond to changes in the internal and external organizational
Source: CEDPA, Supervision, 1996: 5/6
A team is an energetic group of people (two or more) who are committed to achieving common
goals, who work well together and enjoy doing so, and who produce high quality results. In a
team, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The team is more than just the sum of
individual efforts. The team combines the individual talents with a positive team spirit to achieve
The two most universal characteristics of teams are:
• the production of outstanding results and success in spite of difficulties, and
• members feel responsibility for the team and work to resolve problems and clear
difficulties out of their way.
These characteristics can be broken down into the successful ingredients of a team.
1. Open, honest communication based on trust and caring. Team members are sensitive in
how they communicate to their team mates, particularly in difficult or conflict situations.
2. A complimentary blend of skills and talent that allows the team to work cooperatively
together, building interdependence among the members.
3. A high degree of tolerance, mutual respect, trust and support which allows individuals to take
risks and challenge their abilities.
4. An understanding of and commitment to a common purpose and goals. Individual goals and
objectives align with team goals to ensure balance in meeting team and individual needs.
5. The challenge and capacity to achieve results, make decisions and produce results
6. An efficient and flexible structure and leadership which allows the team to work toward
achieving results without confusion of roles and responsibilities. The shifting roles between
leaders and followers exemplify this characteristic.
7. The enjoyment of working together based on team spirit, pride, rituals and symbols.
8. The ability to take strength and energy from each other, and to celebrate successes and
share failures together.
Team leaders have to be skilful at balancing different functions. The leader is faced with the
need to balance the accomplishments of results, with the needs of individuals (team members)
and thirdly, with the need for members of the team to work together as a group. She/he can
enhance the team spirit by developing a shared purpose and positive work climate in the group.
Important also is the way of dealing with conflict or non-achievers. Conflict is neither good nor
bad, but can get out of hand of we do not handle them constructively.
Giving and Receiving Feedback
We naturally give feedback to other people when we interact with them on any project or activity,
sometimes making a positive comment and sometimes criticizing what they have done. Both
positive and negative feedback are important to effective communication and group work, but
they are only effective if the feedback is given and received in a constructive manner.
Constructive feedback is information that a person can use to solve problems, improve
performance, or work more effectively with others.
It is not easy to give and receive constructive feedback. The principles presented here will help
you manage potential (or existing) conflict, be direct about what you think, and still maintain
See annex 2 for tools for team assessment and giving and receiving feedback.
An important part of the work of a project co-ordinator is monitoring progress.
Monitoring is the process of routinely gathering information on all aspects of the project.
Monitoring provides managers with information needed to:
• Analyse the current situation
• Identify problems and find solutions
• Discover trends and patterns
• Keep project activities on schedule
• Measure progress towards objectives and formulate/revise future goals and objectives
• Make decisions about human, financial, and material resources.
Monitoring is continuous. A monitoring system should be in place before project start-up and
should be scheduled on the project work plan.
First Level Monitoring
The first level of monitoring is done by project staff. The project managers are responsible for
monitoring the staff and tasks under them, and the project co-ordinator is responsible for
monitoring all aspects of the project.
A monitoring report should:
• Contain a list of the activities to be monitored (derived from the plan),
• List the duration and deadlines for completion of different activities,
• State the methods of monitoring the activities,
• State the current progress on steps taken so far,
• State the barriers confronted, if any,
• Suggest solutions to overcome them.
Monitoring can be carried out through field visits, review of service delivery and commodities
records. Whatever form is chosen monitoring reports always record any problem the project
team has and plans to correct these problems. One also has to point out any changes in the
original goals, objectives or activities and explain this change in direction.
Second Level Monitoring
The second level of monitoring is done by the donor(s). Through field visits and routine reports
from the project manager, the donor monitors progress and measures performance. This
includes financial reporting.
The rationale for monitoring a project is:
• To know whether the various activities are undertaken as specified in the project plan.
• To know whether materials and other inputs are reaching the specific places in due time.
• To know whether the unexpected issues/problems are occurring.
• To know whether the outcomes match predetermined targets, and if not, why and to
decide what corrective action has to be taken.
• To know what should be done to change course from the original plan, if the unexpected
• To know alternative courses of action, given the new circumstances.
3.4 Contingency Management
The contingency approach to managing projects is a relatively recent development in the field of
management. It is a product of the 1970s which were characterized by turbulence and
uncertainty due to economic, political and social upheavals. Contingency management emerged
as an attempt to find solutions to the highly complex problems of the operating environment. The
approach enables managers to encounter the uncertainties that affect planning processes by
visualizing probable uncertainties and planning how to respond, and mitigate them.
The word 'contingency' means different things to different people. In essence, it is something
that happens by chance without a warning, a possible future event, an unforeseen occurrence,
accident, uncertainty, or emergency. Contingency management involves preparing a plan to take
effect in case an emergency occurs, or preparing in advance a course of action to meet an
emergency situation which cannot be totally foreseen.
In implementing community projects, it is necessary to identify, assess, and diagnose the
important contingency situations that could occur so that the best decisions can be made. That
is, the project should be implemented within an if -then framework. If certain scenarios occur in
an unexpected manner, then an appropriate managerial action should be taken in order to
respond to that situation. The contingency approach to project implementation is to ensure that
the community group is oriented and prepared to meet the unexpected demands of the situation.
The contingency design is the total process of determining the degree of environmental
uncertainty and adapting the measures to meet the demands of the operating environment.
Evaluation generally implies measurement, appraisal, or making judgements on the output and
impact of the project in terms of the objectives. Evaluation will determine a project's relevance,
effectiveness, and benefits to the target community.
Evaluation is different from monitoring. Monitoring checks whether the project is on track;
evaluation questions whether the project is on the right track. Therefore, evaluation looks more
at long-term effects of project objectives.
We can discern two types of evaluation: process evaluation and impact evaluation.
4.1 Process Evaluation
It may be helpful to think of process evaluations on two levels:
In an internal project review the team conducts a periodic self - evaluation of the project,
including a review of goals, strategies and work plans. Many organizations do yearly program
evaluations, using a variety of methods, usually without the help of an external consultant. One
of the main purposes of an internal project review is to document progress and problems as a
basis for planning the next phase of work (usually the next year). Some of the most important
results of internal review are team building, improved communication, and re-planning of yearly
Program review takes a broader look at multiple aspects of a program or an organization. It can
also be used for reviewing a country program of an international development agency. This is
usually a larger undertaking than project review, and is done less frequently, perhaps every
three or four years. Program review covers a variety of elements related to the program or
organization' s goals and priorities. Possible areas of focus might include relationships between
program staff, beneficiaries, and management. Sometimes it is important to look at decision
making and communication within the organization or project staff. Or there may be a need to
evaluate the organization's goals and structure. Usually this is an internal process, but it may be
helpful to have the services of an outside consultant. A consultant for this kind of evaluation
should be skilled at organization development and team building.
Example of questions to be asked in this kind of evaluation:
• What is the basic approach of the project organization to community development? How
has the organization changed through this experience? Is there clarity of organizational
goals and work methodology?
• What is the quality of the relationships between the technical team and the community?
Are the field staff accepted by the community? How do the community leaders and the
project team work together?
• How well has the project organization done in reporting and communicating? What
problems need attention?
• How are the community organizations working? How democratic are they? How well is
the leadership functioning? What parts of the community are represented in the
cooperative membership? How sustainable is it?
• What are the criteria and/ or expectations of the funding organization? How well has the
project fulfilled these? Are the criteria/expectations appropriate to priorities and goals of
4.2 Impact Evaluation
Impact evaluation is the last step in the project cycle and assesses the outcome of the project
sometime after the completion of the project. It is often used as the basis for expansion of the
project, or in the case of a pilot project, for the scaling up of the project. Evaluations are usually
more comprehensive than monitoring, and require information from outside the project.
In an impact evaluation one measures whether or not a project achieved its goals and attempts
to look at what impact the project had on its participants. The emphasis is on measuring if
sustainable development has taken place as a result of the project. Usually a team, including an
independent consultant, will conduct impact evaluations. The scope of work should be agreed
upon by the several parties who have the most at stake in the outcome. These "stakeholders"
will normally include the donor agency, the international cooperating agency and their in-country
representative, and the local project organization. Very importantly, representation and
participation of beneficiary community should also be sought.
Impact evaluations require collecting and analysing data, aiming to be more objective than in
routine reporting. Several methods can be used, including case studies, cost-benefit analysis,
rapid rural appraisal, or surveys. The participatory approach advocated in this manual, though
more time consuming, helps the project organization gain more ownership of the results. In
addition, an important by-product of participatory impact evaluation is that the staff learns the
process of evaluation by participating in it. Many international development organizations have
increasingly emphasized this type of evaluation in order to improve overall results of their
programs and to better report to their constituents.
4.3 The Evaluation Design
Most evaluations call for the writing of a scope of work. This is, essentially, a plan for carrying
out the evaluation. The scope of work in traditional external evaluations is usually written and
agreed upon by a limited number of persons interested in the project, especially from the funding
agency. In participatory evaluation, those who are involved in the implementation of the project
are given a chance to have input in the design of the evaluation. In fact, the evaluation is first
and foremost for the benefit of those closest to the project, including community participants, if
The evaluation design proposed in this handbook is flexible. There are six essential parts of this
design, steps that are not always as sequential as they appear here. The following synopsis
should be helpful to conceptualise the evaluation process. If all of these parts are adequately
thought out, a well-defined scope of work should be the result.
Step 1. Define the PURPOSE of the evaluation.
Who wants the evaluation? Why do they want it? How are they going to use the results? What
assumptions do the various parties have about this evaluation? The answers to these questions
will help define the purpose of the evaluation. A clear statement of purpose should result, i.e.
“The purpose of this evaluation is…..” Once the purpose is decided, it is a good time to decide
whether an outside facilitator (consultant) is needed, so that, if possible, this person can be
involved in choosing the priority areas. If so, discuss and decide on the role of this person.
Step 2. Define the PRIORITY AREAS to be evaluated.
In this step you will decide on the most important areas to evaluate. Based on the purpose of the
evaluation, what is the focus? In other words, what exactly will be evaluated? Possible areas
include the project's progress toward reaching its goals and objectives, the project's impact on
the community and participants, technical aspects of the project, the training program, the
structure of the project organization, and communications. Looking at the project's key
vulnerabilities, strengths and opportunities can help to define specific focus areas.
Step 3. The INFORMATION COLLECTION plan.
Here it is important to use the focus areas and list a) What key factors (indicators) will be
researched on each area, and b) The source of information (i.e. the data collection tool and
where that information is to be found).
Step 4. The IMPLEMENTATION plan.
Decide who will participate. Who will make up the evaluation team and which team members are
responsible for each task? Also, you will need to make a budget. In summary, the result of the
third step will be: a list of participants, a detailed calendar of tasks and responsibilities, including
a target date for report completion, and a budget for the evaluation. If instruments (interviews,
surveys, etc.) are needed, these can be designed immediately after the planning session, and
field-tested according to the plan.
Step 5. ANALYSE and ORGANISE the information.
How is the information to be analysed and by whom? Who will develop the final conclusions and
recommendations? Make an outline of the final report. Decide how much data will be needed,
and what limits of time and other resources affect the work of tabulation.
Step 6. COMMUNICATING the FINDINGS and MAKING FOLLOW- UP PLANS.
After the evaluation is implemented, it is important to schedule a meeting to discuss results and
decide on follow-up plans, including who needs to receive reports. A follow-up plan should
include a) an agreement on specific tasks/actions that must be taken by the donor agency, the
project implementer, and the beneficiary organization to meet the evaluation's
recommendations, b) designation of persons to do each follow-up activity, c) an estimate of
dates for implementing each activity, and d) the date when the activity is to be completed. A well-
justified decision to ignore a particular recommendation is also possible. By holding this meeting
and designing a follow-up plan, the evaluation' s results and recommendations are systematized
into the project's normal procedures. The use of evaluation results for re-planning are better
assured if this step is followed.
5 FUNDRAISING IS FRIENDRAISING 2
This section covers some of the key aspects of fundraising. It will help identify the people, the
attitudes and the approaches that you will need to get a successful fundraising programme
5.1 Some Key Principles of Fundraising
"Fundraising is a science. But its rules are more like a rainbow than a formula. You need to paint
with the most delicate shades of colours and moods. You will surely become a success if you
paint with love and friendship.”
Ekaterina Kim, Contacts-I, Moscow
You have to ask
A piece of research commissioned by a major charity asked non-supporters what was their main
reason for not giving. The answer was simple -the main reason for not giving was that they had
never been asked.
Some fundraisers do not exploit the opportunities that exist to raise money. Others ask, but do
not do so effectively. The whole purpose of fundraising is to raise money, and it is often forgotten
that the call to action, the punch-line asking people to give, is the essential piece of the
The good fundraiser must ask clearly for exactly what they want, having regard to the donor's
ability and willingness to give when deciding what to ask for. They may also need to repeat the
message to emphasise the point. And they must make it as easy as possible for the donor to
The personal approach
The general rule is that the more personal you can make your approach, the more effective you
will be. So:
• Asking in person at a face-to-face meeting is better than...
• Giving a presentation at a meeting to a group of people, which is better than...
• Telephoning someone to ask for support, which is better than...
• Writing a personal letter to someone, which is better than... Sending a circular letter to
lots of people.
Many fundraisers prefer to work by sending letters asking for support. This is not the most
effective way of asking, and you may need to think carefully about how to make your approach.
Two other factors are worth considering:
A meeting at your project where the prospective donor can see your work and meet some of the
beneficiaries is often the most effective of all. If that can't be managed, you can try to illustrate
your work with a short video, or with photographs, or by taking along some of the people you are
working with to fundraising meetings.
Reproduced from Worldwide Fundraiser’s Handbook by Michael Norton, by kind permission of the publishers, The
Directory of Social Change, 24 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2DP, tel. 0171 209 5151, from where copies may be
purchased by post.
A request from someone who has given or from someone important (such as a business leader
or expert in the field) can often be more effective than a request from a fundraiser or from the
project director. Part of the skill in fundraising is knowing the best person to do the asking.
Understanding the donor's viewpoint
In making a decision to give, a whole range of feelings and thoughts may be aroused in the
donor. It is important for the fundraiser to understand this process.
The act of giving includes elements of faith, hope and charity. Faith that the fundraiser truly
represents the cause and will act as an efficient conduit for the donor's money. Hope that the
gift, however small, will make some difference, Charity as an act of altruism, a gift without the
expectation of any material return. It is also important for the fundraiser to understand that the
donor might have some personal reason for wanting to give, and to build on that interest. People
may want to support a cancer charity, for example, through fear that they might get the disease,
or because a close friend has recently died of it. They may feel strongly about an issue -such as
the environment -and want to do something about it. In supporting your cause, they are also
supporting their cause, doing something that they feel needs doing and that they want to see
Fundraising is a people business
People do not give to organisations. They do not give to abstract concepts. They give to help
people or to do something to create a better world. Your job as a fundraiser is to show how you
are helping do this. One way of doing this is through case studies -illustrating your work with
actual examples of the people you have been able to help, showing how you have been able to
change their lives, showing what you have done to create a better environment, etc. In this way
you can show donors how their money can make a difference.
Another is to focus your fundraising on particular aspects of your work: the income generation
project you are planning to introduce in the village, that you hope will transform people's lives;
the community publishing programme that is getting underway, where you are all full of
enthusiasm and excitement about its potential. By focusing on specific projects rather than the
overall work of the organisation, it is easier to excite and enthuse your donors.
Fundraising is selling
Fundraising is a two-stage process. The first stage is showing people that there is an important
need which you can do something useful about. If they agree that the need is important, and that
something should be done; and if they agree that your organisation is doing something
significant to make a difference; and if you can show them how some extra support could be
used to do even better -then asking for money becomes easy.
Fundraising is more about selling an idea that the donor can make a difference than about
asking for money. Once people have been sold the idea, then they will want to give. Fundraising
is also more about 'selling' than 'telling'. It is about persuading people to give, and showing
reasons why the work is important. Your success depends on your ability to get people to do
something to help.
Credibility and PR
People prefer to give to organisations and causes that they have heard of. This means that the
organisation's credibility and good public relations are extremely important. Press coverage of
your work, trumpeting your successes in the newsletters you send to supporters, getting
endorsements about the quality of your work from experts and prominent figures can all
encourage people to realise the importance of what you are doing and have the confidence that
you are doing a worthwhile and successful job -which makes it much easier for them to support
Donors don't know how much to give
One problem is that donors don’t know how much they are expected to give. They may not want
to give an enormous amount. On the other hand, they may not want to give too little, and so
Saying thank you
Saying thank you is extremely important. It recognises and values the donor’s generosity. Those
who say thank you on every appropriate pretext will see this investment repay itself handsomely
in donor loyalty and may well be surprised at the level of repeat giving that can be stimulated by
this process. It makes the donor feel that their money is actually having some impact.
Long-term involvement and commitment
What you really want are people who will give to you regularly and substantially. All the effort to
find a donor and persuade them to give will really only bear fruit if they continue to give over
many years an maybe increase their level of giving. And if they are then prepared to ask their
friends to help you or to put in long hours as a volunteer, then that’s an added bonus. To achieve
this means getting them involved with the work of the organisation and committed to its success.
Accountability and reporting back
When you take money from somebody, you are responsible for seeing that:
• The money is spent on the purposes for which it was raised. Failure to do this is a breach
• The money is well spent and actually achieves something.
You may be obliged to report back to the donor as a condition of the grant. But you will want to
do this anyway to show them that you have used their money effectively. This is not only polite, it
is good fundraising practice -as an enthusiastic donor who has seen the money make a
difference may consider becoming a more committed supporter.
5.2 The skills required in fundraising
There are a number of important skills that you will need if you are to be successful. If you
understand what skills are required, you can:
• Assess your strengths, so that you concentrate on doing those things you are good at.
• Learn what skills you need to acquire, and set about obtaining the necessary training
• Find ways of compensating for your weaknesses by mobilising others to help you
Commitment to the cause
Commitment is one of the most important attributes that a fundraiser can bring to the job. If the
cause does not seem important to you, then how can you convey to others the importance and
urgency of doing something about it? You must really believe in the cause you are addressing
and in the work that your organisation is doing. Your enthusiasm and commitment will encourage
others to become equally committed through their giving.
The ability to ask
Many people feel uncomfortable with the notion of actually asking for money. Anyone who has
this difficulty will not be a natural fundraiser -whether the task in hand is to write a four-page
appeal letter, make a speech at a meeting of the Rotary Club, telephone a business to ask for an
in-kind donation, organise a committee to run a fundraising event, or pay a personal visit to seek
the support of a major donor. All this requires an ability to ask effectively for what you need.
People have choices as to what to do with their money. They have competing demands on what
to spend it on. Your job is to persuade them that supporting your organisation is a really
worthwhile 'investment' of their hard-earned money. You need to make a really good case and to
present it in a persuasive way. This requires good selling and communications skills. In particular
you need to be able to marshal compelling arguments, to be able to write letters which excite
interest, talk fluently and interestingly about the cause in public or in private, create a sense of
excitement through your enthusiasm, and share your hopes and visions for the future.
Confidence and dealing with rejection
When you are asking for money, you need to radiate confidence. If you are apologetic or
hesitant, people will not give to you.
One of the biggest problems is maintaining your confidence in the face of rejection. Since more
people are likely to say "no" than say "yes" -that's a fact of fundraising life -it is very easy to get
downhearted. Many approaches will be unsuccessful, simply because of the enormous
competition for funds, or just through bad luck. After a couple of rejections, you really begin to
believe that nobody wants to support you. You then start acting as if nobody wants to support
you. You become apologetic and you talk as if you expect to be refused. And maybe you even
avoid asking- so as not to be rejected.
A good fundraiser has to be able to cope with rejection, starting each fresh approach as if it were
the first, and to be prepared to learn from experience.
Most fundraisers give up too soon. People often take "no" to mean "no" - rather than as a
challenge to try to convert the "no" into a "yes". If you give up immediately, then there's no
chance at all. If you feel that they really should be interested in supporting you, then you will try
to find a way of getting them to change their mind, or find some other thing that they might like to
support. You have approached them in the first place because you need support and you feel
that they might potentially be interested in giving it. Don't just give up at the first setback. You will
find that persistence really does pay.
The fundraiser has to be truthful at all times. The need to persuade people creates a pressure to
tell only partial truths and to claim more for your work than is the case. The very complex socio-
economic factors that create poverty today are a good example. If we are to raise funds by
writing a short letter to a potential supporter, how can you hope to describe what lies behind the
poverty? And can you give a proper explanation without straying into the politics of the situation,
however unattractive or contentious that may be to the donor?
There is also a tendency to present the beneficiary as a victim. It makes it easier to elicit
sympathy and support. This is as true for people with physical disabilities as it is for refugee
families. The beneficiary may see the fundraising material and even be represented on the
boards of organisations, and be offended at how the cause is being presented. The need to
present a sensitive but truthful case, whilst making it powerful enough to persuade donors to
give, can cause conflicts within the organisation. To resolve this demands sensitivity and
understanding from the fundraiser.
A good fundraiser needs confidence, patience and tact. Confidence, because a confident appeal
is harder to refuse. Patience, to deal with the particular concerns of donors (for example, when
they ask to hear about the income ratios of the organisation for the third time). Tact and sincerity,
to ask a supporter face to face for a legacy, or to suggest a variation in a will. A good fundraiser
should also like meeting and dealing with people.
Fundraising often involves keeping in touch with thousands of supporters, all of whom imagine
that they are special and that you have some personal relationship with them. Good organisation
is essential. Fundraisers have to keep accurate records of correspondence and information on
donation history for each donor. All this must be organized so that no past event or piece of
generosity is forgotten. A good memory for faces helps too.
Imagination and creativity
Fundraisers who come afresh to an organisation will find that imagination is an invaluable
asset. The task may be to dream up new activities that will inspire existing supporters and to
create events that the public is going to be enthused by. Or to present your work in an
exciting and imaginative way. Circumstances are continually changing and new opportunities
emerging, so fundraisers need to identify new approaches and not simply rely on what has
been done in the past.
Contacts and the ability to make contacts
The fundraiser who already has a number of existing contacts in an area or sector will be at an
enormous advantage. But this is not a prerequisite. Having contacts does not necessarily mean
that they will be the right people for the organisation. A good alternative is to have the
confidence to ask anybody for what is needed, the ability to make new contacts and the good
sense to ask others to do the asking for you.
You need to grasp every opportunity that presents itself. For example, when a well-known
supporter is awarded libel damages, should your letter asking for support not be in their in-tray
next morning? Or if a leading company has just announced a major hike in profits or has been
awarded a major construction contract in your area, then a cleverly constructed appeal for funds
might just succeed.
The clearest examples of opportunistic fundraising are to be found in newspaper coverage. If, for
example, there is a feature in the paper focusing on your cause, then the results of any
advertising placed in the paper on the same day may be substantial (provided of course that the
editorial coverage is supportive of what you are doing). So if you know you are going to get
coverage, then consider taking an advertisement to ask for support or better still, get the
journalist to add this request at the end of the article, with a reply address where donations can
The annual calendar provides opportunities at different times of the year. For example in
Christian communities, Christmas and the New Year provide extremely good fundraising
opportunity, and other faiths have similar points in the year.
6 VARIOUS SOURCES OF FUNDING 3
6.1 Generating Local Resources
A burning question of many NGOs is: How to generate local resources. There should always be
a concern about dependency on external aid, and it is unfortunate that boards and executive
staffs give this aspect so little attention compared to project fund-raising. Most so-called
"Southern" NGOs and other private development groups are dependent on external aid and
many would collapse within a year or so if foreign aid was stopped. Dependency is not only
financial, but often technical. As competition becomes stronger for scarce donor funds,
strategies for generating local resources will need to be developed and tried. Self-funding goals
can be set incrementally, for example: in the first year- 10 percent; in the second year -20
percent; and in the third year -40 percent. It may take years, even decades to be self-reliant, but
sometimes when external donors see the efforts being made, they may step in to help. Ideally,
an organization should be able to raise enough local funds to fund its administrative and fund
raising costs for one to two years. Some 50 percent of the budget might be raised from local and
capital generating sources.
Many development organizations and groups are very successful in raising project funds from
external donors, but they have little if any local success. Part of this may come from the ease of
raising external funds. We have often heard development organization leaders say that it is a
waste of time, energy and money to try to generate local funds when project money is so easy to
find. Since many external donors are willing to accept the value of local volunteer inputs, local
donated materials and similar items as local matching inputs for projects, external donors
themselves have discouraged local generation of funds. It might be wise in the future for them to
require at least 50 percent of the local input in funds.
Often one hears the expression or version thereof that local fund-raising will not work since the
people are too poor to contribute. It is a way of avoiding fund-raising, often seen as tedious and
unproductive. Moreover, few development organization leaders have experience in this area, but
there are always local consultants to help, or experiences from other local NGOs. Sometimes
the idea is rejected on social or cultural terms. However, NGOs might have to leave the
development business unless they begin to generate local funding. Fund raising efforts also
educate the person targeted, about your organization and its activities, and he or she may
become a future supporter. That’s why we say fundraising is friendraising.
Some of the ways to raise funds locally are:
a) Membership contributions.
b) Overhead or indirect cost rates on projects. Negotiating for in-kind support from
government agencies (space, professionals, etc.)
c) Sale of your materials and services.
d) Projects that generate income for your organization.
e) Setting up an endowment fund.
f) Community events.
g) Interest articles about your work.
h) Mass media appeals.
Partly reproduced from The International Donor Directory, by International Partnership for Human Development,
by kind permission of the publishers.
Membership fees increase the commitment of members to the organization and they can help
stimulate new funding from others in the community. For some organizations, such fees annually
bring in a sizeable amount. For others, the amount is minimal but important because it helps pay
some of the administrative costs. There is a temptation at times to use these funds for projects.
Try not to do so.
Sometimes donors will allow the applicant to include an indirect cost on the project budget.
Government funding sources often permit this. Percentages vary, sometimes it is 10 percent, but
rarely should one go as high as 25 percent of the project cost. These funds are used to defray
costs such as rent, electricity, telephone, secretarial services and basic administration.
Many local NGOs are finding it lucrative to sell their materials and services. Some have
developed "How To Do It" or self-study books and materials on a wide range of topics, from
family planning, to appropriate technology and to soil testing kits. Periodicals are sometimes
sold. Some publishing companies may even allow you to sell other people's books for a small
profit. However, we know one organization that published 5,000 copies of a scientific book and
ten years later still had over 3,000 copies -giving away many of the 2,000 copies because it
failed to spend money on marketing the book.
Some NGOs have gone into selling products. One needs to do a market analysis of the products
intended for sale. Moreover, there needs to be a steady supply of quality produced items.
Generally, we have found that handicrafts do poorly compared to mass-produced products. Most
of us have also encountered Third World, thrift and other shops where products from many
countries are sold. A good location, such as at an airport or next to a tourist hotel can lead to a
Increasingly, we find organisations selling their services as consultants to governments, other
NGOs, community groups, and even business. Local NGOs often have developed an expertise
in certain areas (water development, sanitation, land reform and settlement, small enterprise
development, and so on), which are in demand. Others hold training seminars, undertake
research and evaluations, or provide management skills. Contracts are signed with the group
requesting these skills. They stipulate the kind of activity to be undertaken, terms of payment,
and if any products are to be developed. Local NGOs should seek to cover the salaries of their
staff for the time they are used as consultants, plus their travel, per diem and other costs, and
assess an organization charge.
Projects can also generate income for the local NGO. There are many examples of projects that
are income generating. Some of these are:
• Establishing revolving funds. Credit is provided at an interest rate above the projected
inflation rate, but below commercial rates. These funds can be created for farmers,
smaller community enterprises, home builders, and so forth. One needs to be careful that
all management costs are covered from the return of capital and that there is still a
• Using a truck to market farmer produce in an area and bringing products on the return
trip for sale. After deducting operating costs, there may be a profit.
• An organization's volunteers, teachers, and other development workers can be self-
sustaining and even have some income by growing and selling vegetables, buying and
selling used clothing, seeds, tools, and many other items.
• Purchasing grains or other products when the price is low, holding them, and then selling
them when the price is high.
• Establishing community stores to make everyday items available to the community at a
reasonable cost, but still with a profit to the organization.
• Establishing chicken raising, fish farms, block making, and similar projects.
In some countries, local NGOs collect tin cans, newspapers, used clothing, metal and other
items that can be sold for reprocessing. We have sometimes been surprised by the large
amounts of money this might bring in, but there must be a structure for collection.
Local NGOs have also used garage sales, bake sales, house cleaning, car washes, lotteries
(these can be more of a problem than one thinks), dinners, plays, special music events, festivals,
and many other ways for raising money. All of these require some investment and organization;
however, if well planned, they can be very profitable.
Creating an endowment fund is another route to financial self-support. Wealthy contributors
might be asked to help set up the fund. Recently, donor NGOs and government have also shown
There are many other ways of raising money. We wanted to touch on this topic in order to let you
know that how important it is to avoid a dependency on external aid.
If you can get a human interest article in a newspaper or magazine, people might come forth to
support your work. The article should carry your address and telephone number at the end of it.
Mass media appeals are much harder and more costly to develop. As a result, most Third World
NGOs cannot afford to use mass media like television and radio. However, we know of small
NGOs in the United States and Europe that have used simple low-cost movie cameras to film
their work and after professionally putting the film together, have shown it over cable television
and have received large contributions.
6.2 Government Grants
One of the best ways of obtaining funds locally is to interest the government in your services.
There are many examples of local NGOs being given grants for training, or to carry out
development activities such as reforestation, nutrition education, water systems development,
vaccination campaigns, literacy campaigns, and so forth. Funds might come from all levels of the
government: national, state or province, district, municipal, community.
For some organisations government funding is the mainstay of their work. For others it is
marginal or just one of several sources.
The scale of the funds available from government sources is potentially extremely large, and is
likely to increase steadily as government moves away from providing services directly to the
purchase of services from another body (often under some form of contract). This process of
'privatisation' of service provision, pioneered in Britain under Mrs Thatcher, is now an accepted
mechanism in many countries for the delivery of a wide range of services, including social
welfare programmes, environmental conservation and community development.
Voluntary organisations as part of civil society
The availability of funding from government for voluntary organisations depends in part on the
relationship between the two sides:
• Government may see voluntary organisations as a threat, since some exist to expose
need and failings in society and to campaign for change. As such, their objectives may
run counter to government.
• Government may see voluntary organisations as a mechanism for delivering services
efficiently and with the added benefit of drawing in outside money. As such, the voluntary
sector may become a valued partner, with government seeking to create an environment
where voluntary organisations are able to thrive.
• Voluntary organisations may be seen as being part of a 'civil society', whether or not they
criticise or show up the failings of government. In India the strengthening of local
democracy through the 'panchayati raj' reforms which encourage organisation at the
village and community level and the establishment of a government-voluntary sector
forum at national level are both manifestations of the civil society dimension.
Often the relationship between the two sides is complex, perhaps containing elements of all
6.2.1 National Government
National government will relate largely to national organisations in a number of different ways:
It may want to offer funding to support national organisations dealing with issues of concern -for
example population, environment, rural development, watershed management. In this way it will
benefit from the energy and ideas that voluntary organisations will bring to discussions on policy.
It may wish to bring voluntary organisations into policy formation - to draw on their expertise and
their experience of mobilising people and creating change. It may seek to deliver national
development programmes using the voluntary organisation to undertake the delivery - as a
matter of expediency (because the structure is there) or of efficiency (they are more cost
6.2.2 Local Government
Local authorities will be responsible for the delivery of a wide range of local services, whether at
state, regional or city level. The functions for which local and regional government is responsible
will vary from country to country, but are likely to include health, education, social services,
recreation and leisure services, transport and housing.
It is in the areas of their own particular responsibilities that they are most likely to make grants
for many of the same reasons that national government supports voluntary organisations. Giving
support may also provide good publicity for government and a feeling 'that something is being
done' about an issue of public concern.
Support might be given in a number of ways, including:
• A grant. The local authority may have an established programme of offering grants to
• A fee for a service provided under a contract. Here the money is related to the work
done, which is work that the local authority is responsible for, where it has decided that it
is more cost-effective to pay a voluntary organisation to undertake the work programme.
• The giving of services or support in kind. Local authorities can assist in many ways, for
example through the provision of premises or property.
• Some form of partnership with the voluntary service being run alongside a statutory
service adding to it or complementing it -for example, a cultural education programme for
tribal minorities provided alongside the mainstream curriculum education in schools.
6.3 Overseas Donors and Donor Agencies
There are enormous numbers of foreign donor agencies, which might be divided into the
Volunteer sending agencies such as Médecins Sans Frontières (France), Voluntary Service
Overseas (UK) or the Peace Corps (USA). When these programmes started the aim was to send
usually younger people overseas to 'give service'. Today, many of these agencies now send
people with those specialist skills that are requested by local NGOs, who are often required to
contribute something towards the cost of the assignment. An interesting scheme from the UK is
BESO, which provides retired executives looking for a new challenge. There are also a number
of agencies which send young people on short-term assignments, where the benefit is likely to
be more for the young person than for the receiving organisation. Typically, these are 'gap year
schemes' for young people after they have left school and before university or a job.
National and global charities which raise money from the public to support development
projects in 'the third world', In Europe, these include Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid,
ActionAid, Brot fur die Welt, StommestifteIsen, Radda Barnen, Aide et Action, etc. Some of
these are generalist agencies, some have a particular perspective (children or the elderly), some
are connected either closely or loosely with a religious denomination. They will usually have a
country office or even a regional infrastructure in the countries where they provide support,
whose function it is to identify 'project partners', assess project applications, account to head
office for the money that is donated, offer technical and infrastructural support to their project
partners alongside the financial support that is being provided, participate in policy analysis and
development. The support given to project partners is often long-term. Sometimes there is child
sponsorship, community sponsorship or project sponsorship, where the individual donor
providing funds to the donor agency ties their support to a particular project, a particular
community or even a particular family or child, and where the donor expects to be kept in touch
Specialist charities which are dealing with such things as intermediate technology, leprosy
relief, blindness, deafness, family planning, water management.
Smaller specialist charities usually set up through the vision and enthusiasm of one individual
to pursue a particular idea or address a particular need. Organisations such as Farm Africa,
Send a Cow, Tools for Self Reliance, Book Aid International, Arid Lands Initiative, Green
Deserts, Action on Disability and Development show the diversity of the sorts of initiatives that
are being developed. Typically, these organisations will have no fundraising base of their own,
but will be raising money from foundations and international aid sources for their work. Their
work will usually be confined to one or two projects, simply because of their small size. But these
will be used as 'demonstration projects' to demonstrate new approaches and possibilities.
Support groups for local projects. These are often set up by someone visiting your project or
a volunteer who has worked with you on their return home. They set up a fundraising initiative to
support your work by raising money and channelling it to you. This may start as a fundraising
committee, but can develop into a charitable institution. For example, Mother Theresa in Calcutta
has many local support groups raising money for her work across the world. And the Karuna
Trust in the UK supports an orphanage in Pune. One strategy for raising money is to get
enthusiasts to set up support groups for you.
Denominational initiatives. Many religious denominations channel support to the developing
world through their affiliate churches and religious institutions across the world. The money can
come from the religious body itself and the foundations it controls, or it can come from public
subscription. Sometimes this aid is purely for welfare, education and development. Sometimes
there is an evangelistic agenda or religious objective behind the provision of the aid.
6.4 The Five Stages of a Successful Application
Research the structure and responsibilities of government. You need to know who is responsible
for what, and how decisions are made before deciding your approach.
Find out about current policies and priorities, and how your work can advance their agenda. This
includes official policy, published reports, and statements made by government and politicians
on particular issues.
Find out what's currently on offer and what sort of funding has been made to voluntary
organisations in previous years. Identify and match possible funding programmes with various
aspects of your organisation's work. In some countries, directories of government funding are
produced. You can also talk to 'umbrella organisations' operating in your sector.
Find out what, if any, links you have had previously with any statutory authorities, and whether
any of your trustees or members have good personal contacts with any likely funding sources.
Approach possible funders to discuss their requirements and how you might be able to meet
their objectives cost- effectively.
2 Application Procedures and Deadlines
Find out about the application procedure: when you need to apply by (there may be an annual
cycle for the submission of applications, and if you miss the deadline you will have to wait until
the next year), and how to apply (whether there is an application form, what information you will
need to supply, how the work will be evaluated, and what referees you will need).
Find out who is responsible for making the decision, and get to know as much as you can about
how they function.
3 Submit your Proposal
Write a confident and well argued proposal in the format that is required.
Be as factual as you can.
Show that you will be effective and efficient in the use of their money, The donor agency is
publicly accountable to see that their money is well spent.
4 Lobbying and Publicity
Back up your application with lobbying. Government and politicians respond to pressure. Make
sure that everyone important knows about your application and the benefits that it will bring. Get
experts and important people on your side. Try to reach everyone who will play a part in coming
to a decision on your application.
Get media coverage for your organisation, its work and the ideas behind your proposal.
5 Say thank you
If you succeed in getting support, then say thank you enthusiastically and frequently.
Give them as much good publicity as you can for the support that they have given you.
Report back regularly, and be accountable for the money you are spending. Sometimes this will
be specified as a condition of grant.
If you fail, then don't give up. Think about how you might approach them next time, and what you
could do to improve your chances of success.
7 PROJECT PROPOSAL WRITING 4
A project proposal should contain the following sections:
Table of Contents
II. Project Context or Justification
III. Problem Statement
V. Anticipated Outcomes or Results
VI. Work scope or Implementation Plan
VII. Project Evaluation
VIII. Project Budget
IX. Project Sustainability
Appendices, including timetable for activities.
There are variations of this outline, and as noted previously, some donors require projects to
follow their guidelines. However, let us look at what each section in our outline contains.
The title should be short and evoke the donor's attention. Titles can tell the donor what kind of
project it is and sometimes who the target group will be. Title pages need to be well laid out. We
find it useful to put the date of submittal in one of the corners at the bottom of the title page.
Some applicant organizations use official stationary for the title page. However, this is not
Table of Contents
A table of contents can be helpful to donors in reviewing a project. It should be kept to one page.
Since donor personnel have many proposals to review, a summary is helpful in telling them what
the project is about quickly. If properly presented, it can lead them to study the proposal closer.
A summary also makes the proposal appear more professional. In the summary, one should
include the following:
• Organization or group making the request: address, telephone, fax, e-mail.
• Description of your organization in one paragraph.
• Project manager(s).
• Problem statement.
• Goal and objectives.
• Amount requested. We find that it is not necessary to include the full budget. The total
amount and one or two lines of what the money will be used for suffices.
We thank International Partnership for Human Development, London, for the permission to use pages 5-16 of The
International Donor Directory (1997) for this project proposal outline.
You might add a paragraph on the partner organisation: name, address, telephone, two-line
The Summary section should be short, preferably one page, but never longer than two pages.
You might find it easier to write the summary last.
Main Part of the Application Form
Normally, we repeat the project title at the top of this page. The Introduction should describe in
more detail your organization, and set the stage for linking the project to your organization's
mission and program goals/strategies. It should be no longer than half a page.
2 Project Context
Some project proposal writers put the problem statement before the project context; however,
we prefer it the other way since it identifies the conditions surrounding the problem, and then you
can later present the problem statement in a more concise fashion. Either approach seems
One should be extremely careful not to make this section too long. Keep it to two pages. If
necessary, documentation or other material can be annexed. While some people put a
description of their organization and their partner group in this section, we prefer to put it in the
Introduction. Obviously, if the project problem relates to organizational and administrative
concerns, this becomes a part of the project context. For example, a family planning project may
address concerns of training supervisors or of service contract management, but the description
of the organization itself (mission, objectives, etc.) should be in the Introduction. Only if needed,
can one describe the organization in more detail here, if it does not detract from presenting the
project context with its concerns and problems.
This section should present a brief history of the region, the people, the social, economic, health,
and other conditions, highlighting those that the project will impact on. Apart from describing your
organization, which was done earlier, you should present your organization's involvement in the
project or region, in previously addressing this or other problems (achievements) with the target
group and/or other groups.
An outline to follow is:
• Describe history of area and people.
• Describe social, economic, health and other pertinent conditions.
• What has been your organization's involvement in this region: what achievements?
• What is the government doing to address these problems? Private sector groups and
churches? What plans do these have to address these problems?
3 Problem Statement
This should be a short and concise descriptive statement of the problem(s) and need(s) to be
addressed, how the problem impacts the lives of the people who are the project's target group. If
data is available, it should be used (i.e. 70% of the target group of children under 5 years of age
suffer from at least one form of parasite infection - name source). It is suggested to always state
why this problem has priority over other problems, and why your organization has a particular
role in addressing this problem.
4 Project Goal(s) and Objectives
Try to present a simple one sentence goal statement. For example, "the project will improve the
health of children under 5 years of age in the northern two states of the country". It lets the donor
know what your organization intends to do to address the problem. Objectives can be separated,
if there are multiple ones, into primary or major, and secondary objectives.
Objectives should state in measurable terms who will benefit, the time frame needed to achieve
it, and the development units or outputs. Some examples;
• To provide 10,000 children under 5 years of age with parasite treatment in El Quiche
Department (Guatemala) in the first year.
• To construct 10 water systems in one year to benefit 10 villages with about 5,000 people
in El Quiche.
• To train 50 family planning workers in 6 months for northern Para, Brazil.
Objectives should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed.
This is one of the most important sections of any proposal. The work scope or implementation
plan that follows later will be designed in order to achieve these objectives.
5 Anticipated Results and Assumptions
Some project proposal developers feel this section is not necessary since it repeats the
objectives or results stated earlier. However, most donors insist on this section. For ourselves it
enables us to take a closer look at our objectives and allows us to analyse them in terms of
tangible and intangible results. Anticipated are tangible results or those that are measurable and
found in the objectives. Intangible results, on the other hand, cannot easily be measured, and
may not be contained in the objectives.
For a parasite treatment project, the anticipated and tangible results would be the number of
children treated in one year, the number of treatments per child, increase in weights, decreased
bouts of diarrhoea (although this is harder to measure), number of children treated in clinics or
health posts who have been treated previously (the number should decrease). Intangible results
would be improved health, better absorption of nutrients, more energy and more alert children,
and so forth. If they are in your objectives, try to make them measurable.
In the case of a water project, tangible results would be 10 wells in 10 villages by the end of one
year, number of household taps, number of community water tanks, amount of water flow,
amount of water available to the community or home daily, or for irrigation and home gardens,
formation of a water committee, collection of water fees, etc. Intangible results would be
improved health and hygiene, savings from carrying water, reduced parasite infection, etc.
A statement might be made concerning the environmental impact of the project. For example, for
a water project, would the water table be lowered to the point that it will effect other water
supplies, cause the saline level to increase, etc. One should also look carefully at a project in
regard to soil erosion and deforestation. Many donors want to know if you have considered
environmental impact. While the project may bring a benefit to the people, would it later cause
6 Work Plan (Implementation)
• A detailed implementation plan should be presented. It can be presented in a step by
step fashion of activities. Some points to consider are:
• Was the local population involved in planning the project, and how will they participate in
its implementation? Many donors want the local population involved from the planning
stage, through implementation and evaluation. Describe this role along with their inputs.
• The number and kind of personnel needed to carry out the project. Provide their
qualifications, whether they are available locally, and how they would be recruited.
Mention who they would be responsible to, or report to.
• Describe the relationship for this project between the applicant and the implementing or
field agency. What administrative and supervisory responsibilities does each have?
• Describe your action plan or methods -how you will implement the project. For example,
for a water project, after hiring a water technician and mobilizing the community, pipe,
cement and other materials will need to be purchased. Materials will need to be
inventoried and stored (how and where, and by whom). How long will this start up phase
take? Try to present your project in phases or stages.
• Describe how and why you selected your target group, target villages, and so on. In
describing educational and training activities, many project writers fail to describe how
they will identify and select candidates for training. Selection criteria should be presented.
• Describe at each step what resources are needed. Try to stay away from mentioning
funds, which is better kept for the Budget section. We describe resources in terms of
pipe, pumps, vehicles, seeds, training manuals, space or locale for courses, tools, and
other items. Always try to quantify resource needs, i.e. 100 training manuals, 10
kilometres of plastic piping, 50 new family planning promoters, 3 supervisors, and so
forth. Technical assistance inputs should be described.
• Try to show what alternatives there are to your plan of action or methods and why you
did not choose them.
Basically, this is the section of the project where you will describe how you are going to carry out
the project to achieve your outputs and project objectives.
7 Monitoring and Evaluation
This section is very important. It tells the donor how and when the project will be evaluated. The
evaluation should be designed to determine how well the objectives are being achieved. The
project should be evaluated at certain points during its implementation, with a final evaluation at
the end of the project. In a 2- or 3-year project, monitoring should take place at least every six
months. This section should include:
• Person(s) who will undertake the monitoring/evaluation.
• Time periods for the evaluation, i.e. every 6 months or at the end of each project stage.
• How data or information will be recorded, analysed, and presented.
• Criteria for evaluating outcomes or achievements, and progress made toward achieving
• How and to whom evaluations will be presented.
• How evaluations will be used by the project, the community, the implementing agency,
and project holder (if different than implementer).
It is important to feed back to the project staff and community the results of the evaluation. They
must take part in solving problems, but first they must understand them. It also gives them
encouragement when achievements are on schedule. Evaluations should be reviewed by
agency boards or persons designated by them, since this information has a bearing (usually) on
the NGO's mission and development strategies.
The evaluation section should also address problems, how they were solved or what can be
done to solve them, recommended changes in outputs, resources, and administration,
modifications of objectives, and other pertinent data. A simple statement can be made in the
project proposal that these points would be addressed.
8 Project Budget
Projects generally under-budget rather than over-budget. Certainly, ambitious, high cost budgets
are sometimes presented. Budgets must be realistic to cover project inputs or costs to achieve
outputs. Budgets should:
• Be expressed on a yearly basis. For a 3-year project, each year's budget can be shown
in separate columns, with a last column for totals.
• Show costs in dollars and local currency. The exchange rate used should be indicated
below the budget.
• Always show what local funds and other resources are available. Many donors like to see
a 20-50 percent local input.
• Always divide expenditures into major sections, such as personnel, travel, equipment and
materials, course costs, office costs, technical assistance, and so on.
• Allow for inflation or other currency fluctuations, and for unforeseen costs. We sometimes
add 5 to 10 percent to the cost of the project for these items (Contingencies). It depends
on the country, and the kind of project presented.
• When presenting salary costs, calculate the monthly salary x 12 months to arrive at one
• Show fringe benefits in a separate line item from salaries. Remember, some countries
have a 13th to a 15th month bonus, besides other benefits.
• Separate travel costs. Show line items for: air travel, land travel, vehicle maintenance,
per diem or hotel and meals, other travel.
• Under office expenses: show separate line items for rent, communication (postage,
telephone, fax, internet), stationary, office equipment, maintenance, and other.
• When showing the costs of materials, indicate the per unit cost.
• Show local inputs. Project applicants often forget that when volunteers are involved in a
project, their input has a local value. It can be calculated easily by determining the
number of hours weekly or monthly they will work on the project over the project's
lifespan, times the minimum established wage in the country or region of it. One is often
surprised by how large this input can be. Use of vehicles and office space can be
calculated as local inputs as well. Estimates can be made for donated local materials,
such as the gravel, wood, sand and hand tools donated by a village for a water project.
Educational materials that have already been developed and will be used for your project
can also be given a value. The more local inputs/value one has, the more attractive the
budget and project itself becomes to the donor NGO.
• When purchasing equipment such as a vehicle, computer, vocational shop machinery,
tractor, and similar items, remember to depreciate them at 20 to 25 percent per year. You
should also indicate how these would be maintained and replaced, and if maintenance is
available locally. It is a good idea to set up an equipment replacement fund if your project
At the end of the budget section, one might add a paragraph on cost/benefit ratios. Some
agencies try to calculate cost- effectiveness, but for most projects we do not recommend such a
Some projects contain a full page or more of budget notes. Try to keep notes to a minimum, no
more than 2 or 3 notes.
An example of a budget format is the following:
Line Item (Expenditures: In US$)
Salaries (list and calculate)
Purchase of motorbike
Gasoline: $20 per month X 12 months.
Registration, insurance and maintenance
Per diem: 10 days per month at $15 per day x 12 months
ORT salts: $0.10 X 1,000 packets
Printing of 500 posters: $1.00 each.
Rent: $100 per month X 12 months.
Communication: $125 per month X 12 months.
E. Course Costs
Five nutrition courses:
30 people in each at $10 per day per
person X 30 X 5 courses.
F. Contingencies (Unforeseen and inflation).
Estimate: 10% per year.
In the budget, one should show other grants that are anticipated. Sometimes donors want to
know how and who will manage the funds, and what kind of accounting system you have.
9 Project Sustainability
Increasingly, donors want to know how the activity will be continued once their grant is
expended. It is a good idea to address this point in every project.
There are at least three kinds of sustainability:
Financial Sustainability: the proposal should indicate how the project can continue or be
sustained after donor funds are expended, i.e. through the use of locally generated funds,
government funding, etc.
Technical Sustainability: Indicate that the target group can provide technical inputs to the
project after donor funding ends, that they have the training, skills and materials to continue to
sustain the project.
Managerial Sustainability: The proposal should show that the local target group and/or
applicant will continue to provide organizational or managerial inputs after donor funding. Can
the community or target group itself reach a level where it can manage the project and organize
for expanded or new activities? What will local leadership and organization be like at the end of
There should be very few appendices. If there are too many appendices, the document is
unattractive and turns away donors. We suggest that only pertinent and very important
documents or information be appended. One such appendix might be a time line of activities.
This shows by month or quarter year what activities will be undertaken. Others might be a map
of the project region, letter from responsible government official, information highlighting
problems to be addressed, letter of support from another donor, staff credentials, etc.
GENDER-SENSITIVE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
NOTES FOR THE PROJECT COORDINATOR
When you consider encouraging gender-sensitive project development it is a good idea to
organise a workshop in gender-integrated planning. For those participants that did not attend a
gender workshop before it is essential that they first have a basic understanding of the issues
concerned. The day, therefore, has to start with introducing the major gender concepts and have
participants reflect, through participatory exercises and group work, on their own experiences.
There are various handbooks on gender planning. A very useful one is the gender training
manual Gender and Development, published by the Centre for Development and Population
Activities in their CEDPA Training Manual Series, volume 3.5
It is very important that everybody, including those who already received some gender
sensitisation should learn that gender planning is more than just adding a women's component
to projects. At the end of the day the participants should have learned that the major concept for
formulating strategies and measures is empowerment. It is a very important concept in the
Gender and Development (GAD) approach and focuses not only on the participation of women
in the development process, but also on the differences in power between the sexes. Lack of
participation in decision-making, lack of access to resources (information, knowledge, property,
land, etc.), benefits and opportunities are crucial factors causing the disadvantaged position of
women. The focus in GAD, therefore, is on reaching equitable, sustainable development through
the empowerment of men and women.
The trainer should employ a participatory, experiential methodology based on the principles of
adult learning. Individual participants are encouraged to manage their own learning and share
responsibility with the trainer(s). This methodology draws on the participants' experiences and
encourages active problem-solving and critical and analytical thinking.
Each session follows a pattern of evolving understanding. First a short introduction of the topic
by the trainer, followed by group work and group work presentation, and rounded off by the
trainer who highlights important points, for instance, with the use of handouts.
Another important point is that the learning experience should be as practice-oriented as
possible. Gender has to be related to real life experiences for recognition by the participants.
From this they can learn how stereotypes, values, norms and traditions influence our perception
of gender relations. The lessons they learn can then be used to generalise the insights to a
higher level which is needed for gender planning.
Explaining gender planning
After an introduction to the major concepts in mainstreaming gender, the planning process as
such has to be discussed and it should be emphasised that gender must be integrated in all the
planning phases: from problem identification (situational analysis and needs assessment),
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through design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to the end-evaluation. One also has
to emphasise that women have to take part on an equal basis with men in all the planning and
project activities, such as sitting on management committees.
In the discussion of the various phases of the planning process it should be again and again be
emphasised how important the collection of gender disaggregated data is for the planning
process. The lack of reliable baseline data on both men's and women's situation is one of the
major reasons for negative results of projects. One should also discuss the need to collect
qualitative data, e.g. on decision-making at household and community level, on reasons for non-
participation of women, etc. Especially when one is working within the empowerment approach
qualitative data are needed to identify underlying values and perceptions which influence
behavioural patterns and power relations between men and women. It is exactly these
perceptions and role expectations which are so difficult to change.
Goals and Objectives
In the discussion on goals and objectives one should point out that one sometimes has to set
priorities after the formulation of goals/objectives, because often not all objectives can be
implemented at once. Another issue for discussion is the fact that objectives are not always
measurable. For instance, a project to increase women's awareness of their legal rights or to
encourage their leadership is often not quantifiable. One has to develop qualitative indicators for
measuring changes in attitudes and perceptions and use a longer time frame. In monitoring the
activities one should focus on the process as well as on the impact of the interventions.
Quality Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation
Quality assessment is an instrument for policy makers to check whether gender is integrated in
project proposals. A quality assessment is a form of evaluation asking specific questions as to
gender. An example checklist is provided, see Handout. This instrument can be used as a final
screening of the project proposal before it is sent to a donor agency or a government official for
When discussing monitoring and evaluation it has to be emphasised again that both men and
women have to take part in these activities. Monitoring and evaluation are topics which often are
new to participants. It is important that they acquire a basic knowledge of what is involved and
which tools one can use.
The sessions on planning can be rounded off with a recap of the whole planning process.
A Personal Action Plan
It is very important to attach an action component to your workshops. Too often workshops are
dead ends because people do not commit themselves to implement what they have learnt. This
is a waste of time and energy and a major constraint on moving forward with the integration of
gender in all development efforts. One, therefore, has to end the workshop with the question
"How and where are we going from here?"
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF LEADERSHIP
1. THOU SHALT INVOLVE THY PEOPLE IN PLANNING THEIR WORK
2. THOU SHALT COMMUNICATE PLANS WITH ALL CONCERNED
3. THOU SHALT ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITIES, AND LET EVERYBODY KNOW WHAT
IS EXPECTED FROM THEM
4. THOU SHALT ALWAYS MONITOR PROGRESS OF ACTIVITIES
5. THOU SHALT ALWAYS PROVIDE FOR FEEDBACK
6. THOU SHALT PLAY A SUPPORTIVE AND NOT A PUNITIVE ROLE
7. THOU SHALT PROVIDE FOR ON-THE-JOB TRAINING WHERE NECESSARY
8. THOU SHALT BE IN TOUCH WITH YOUR STAFF AND COMMITTEE ON A
9. THOU SHALT DELEGATE
10.THOU SHALT SHARE MUTUAL RESPECT WITH THY EMPLOYEES
From: CEDPA/Supervision, 1996
A TOOL FOR TEAM ASSESSMENT
Use the following indicators of team effectiveness to assess the extent to which your group
works as a team. For each indicator, circle the number that corresponds to your assessment of
the group (1 is the lowest rating; 10 is the highest rating).
When you have given a rating for each indicator, add the total of the numbers you have circled.
Divide the total by 11 to determine the overall average score you have given your group.
1. The group designates a facilitator for meetings and discussions.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2. An agenda is presented before a meeting begins; goals and objectives are clear.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3. The facilitator makes sure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute to
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
4. Each member speaks for him/herself and allows others to speak for themselves.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5. The group tolerates differences, acknowledges disagreements when they occur,
and addresses them openly.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6. Members ask clarifying questions or use paraphrasing to make sure they
understand each other.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7. Members show trust and cooperation and allow for creativity and compromise.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8. Resources within the group (i.e., the knowledge and experiences of members)
are used effectively.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
9. The group establishes an effective balance between task orientation (reaching
the objective or accomplishing the task) and process orientation (communicating effectively,
working well together).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
10. The group accomplishes its task with a satisfying product or output.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11. The group evaluates the way it functions.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
From: CEDPA/Supervision, 1996
HOW TO GIVE CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK
Agree that feedback is important
It is important for both parties to understand the purpose for giving and receiving feedback in the
organization. Agree with your colleagues, your supervisors, and your supervisees that it is both
appropriate and useful to give and to ask for feedback. Discuss with others in your organization
how feedback might be helpful to improve communication-not only when things go wrong but
also when things are going well.
Choose the right moment
Avoid giving feedback only when it is convenient for you-make sure0 that the time is right for the
other person to hear what you have to say. If the other person does not listen to you, then you
probably will not improve anyone's situation. On the other hand, you should give feedback as
close to the event (the problem or the behaviour) as possible, before both of you forget what
happened or disregard it as unimportant. Positive feedback is welcome at almost any time;
however, if it is important, choose a time or an occasion that indicates how important it is.
Start on a positive note
When you are about to criticize what someone has done, begin by showing respect for the other
person. Talk about something positive the person has done. Most likely, you will want to remain
on good (if not better) terms with the person, and so let that person know that, in general, you
value what he/she does. No matter how poorly the person has behaved, you should be able to
say something nice. If you are too angry, you should probably cool off first!
Talk about the situation in relation to yourself-not the other person
Use "I" as the subject, not "you." This will help avoid making the other person feel defensive. If
you accuse people, they might say you are wrong, but they cannot say that your own feelings
For example, rather than saying: "you always make mistakes in our reports".
You could say: "I really felt embarrassed when our donor pointed out to me some mistakes in
last two reports".
This helps the person see the consequences of his/her behaviour and not simply the behaviour
itself. In that way, the person will feel a greater sense of responsibility for changing the
Be descriptive and specific
It is more useful to discuss specific events than general behaviour. The more recent the
event, the less likely it is that you will disagree about what really happened. The more
specific you are, the easier it will be for the person to understand what needs to be changed
and why. If you help the person see something the way you perceive it, then he or she
will be in a better position to act. Likewise, if you listen to what the other person thinks
about the situation, you will better understand the difficulties (if there are any) in changing
Don't make broad generalisations
It is not useful (and probably not even true) to make broad generalizations such as, "Nobody
likes the way you do these reports." What you really mean to say is "I don't like the
way you do these reports because..."
Another generalization to avoid is, " You 're always making mistakes in these reports! " What you
really mean to say is "You have made similar mistakes in the last two reports. Let's look at
them." If you say something specific, you will help to focus the discussion on the real issue.
Don't criticise the person, criticise what the person has done
Focus on the person's specific behaviour(s), not things that can't be changed. Remember
that you are not trying to change who the person is, you are simply trying to improve the way that
person behaves or interacts in a given situation. The other person should see that you are trying
to be objective about what has happened, from your own perspective.
If you pretend to be all-knowing, you may be setting yourself up for resistance.
HOW TO RECEIVE FEEDBACK CONSTRUCTIVELY
Take a deep breath to help your body relax.
Let the other person say as much as possible without intervening
People give and react to feedback in different ways, but usually they feel better once they have
talked about the situation from their own point of view. Let them do that so that they know you
are willing to listen to them. Sometimes people just need to vent their feelings before they can
really enter into a more rational dialogue. Let them vent first!
Ask questions to clarify what you have heard
Before you react, make sure you understand what you're reacting to by asking, "Do you mean to
say that..." or, "What I hear you say is that..." or, "In other words, you feel that..." This is known
as paraphrasing what the other person has said. It shows that you are listening to and showing
respect for the other person, even if you disagree.
Remember, just because you listen to someone doesn't mean you have to agree with them!
Look first for areas of agreement
Finding some common ground will help move your discussion toward resolution. The best way to
reach an agreement in conflict is to acknowledge those areas where you feel the same way. You
will begin to feel better about each other that much sooner.
Give yourself some time to think about it
Don 't try to solve everything on the spot. Give each other some time to think about your
discussion and to check facts. Be sure to set up a time in the near future when you both will
continue your discussion, and make sure that appointment is kept.
From : CEDPA/Supervision,1996