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10 questions every proposal should answer

- Challenges to proposal writing - What do funders look for? - 10 questions every proposal should answer - How to get to submitting successful proposals

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TEN QUESTIONS EVERY PROPOSAL SHOULD
ANSWER TO BE SUCCESSFUL
24 June 2021
WHO
Nelson Joseph
Senior Consultant
Carolin Gomulia
Senior Consultant
WHAT
We build better NGOs
We help NGOs to be funded
better
Talking points
• Challenges to proposal writing
• What do funders look for?
• 10 questions every proposal should answer
• How to get to submitting successful proposals
Presentation with about 7 slides. We will try to make it an interactive
session but will also keep time for engagement and Q&A at the end.
1. Short turn around times and poorly
written ToRs
2. Programme teams don’t deliver good
content
3. M&E data not available or poor
4. Compliance documents
missing/difficult to obtain
5. Underestimation of time needed to
finalise a proposal.
6. Realising too late some of the
‘fineprint’ requirements
7. Too many other things to do - no
dedicated time and headspace to
focus
8. Difficulties to understand some of the
donor requirements/asks
Challenges to proposal writing
● Need: How your work will improve the situation
● Clarity of Purpose: List your goals
● Measure of Success: Create an image of what your end goal looks like
● Realistic Budget: Do your figures make sense and add up? Check and triple check!
● Competence: Show goals you have achieved in the past. Demonstrate success.
● Acknowledgement of Potential Problems: Account for possible risks and provide
mitigation measures—shows clear and thorough consideration of the interventions
● Vision: Account for the competition you are up against
● Flexibility: Consider partnerships or other ways to deliver and offer the best value for
money
● Exit Strategy: Outline a plan for if/when donor funding stops. Must consider
sustainability.
● Attention to Detail: Answer all questions and provide requested information (and show
you’ve done so!)
5
Things (Almost) Every Funder Looks For
6
The Proposal elements

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10 questions every proposal should answer

  • 1. TEN QUESTIONS EVERY PROPOSAL SHOULD ANSWER TO BE SUCCESSFUL 24 June 2021
  • 2. WHO Nelson Joseph Senior Consultant Carolin Gomulia Senior Consultant WHAT We build better NGOs We help NGOs to be funded better
  • 3. Talking points • Challenges to proposal writing • What do funders look for? • 10 questions every proposal should answer • How to get to submitting successful proposals Presentation with about 7 slides. We will try to make it an interactive session but will also keep time for engagement and Q&A at the end.
  • 4. 1. Short turn around times and poorly written ToRs 2. Programme teams don’t deliver good content 3. M&E data not available or poor 4. Compliance documents missing/difficult to obtain 5. Underestimation of time needed to finalise a proposal. 6. Realising too late some of the ‘fineprint’ requirements 7. Too many other things to do - no dedicated time and headspace to focus 8. Difficulties to understand some of the donor requirements/asks Challenges to proposal writing
  • 5. ● Need: How your work will improve the situation ● Clarity of Purpose: List your goals ● Measure of Success: Create an image of what your end goal looks like ● Realistic Budget: Do your figures make sense and add up? Check and triple check! ● Competence: Show goals you have achieved in the past. Demonstrate success. ● Acknowledgement of Potential Problems: Account for possible risks and provide mitigation measures—shows clear and thorough consideration of the interventions ● Vision: Account for the competition you are up against ● Flexibility: Consider partnerships or other ways to deliver and offer the best value for money ● Exit Strategy: Outline a plan for if/when donor funding stops. Must consider sustainability. ● Attention to Detail: Answer all questions and provide requested information (and show you’ve done so!) 5 Things (Almost) Every Funder Looks For
  • 7. Ten Questions Every Proposal should answer Beneficiaries 1. How many (primary and secondary) and which type of people will benefit from the project (demographics, need)? Organisational Context 2. What are the overall aims of your organisation and how does it fit in with the context of the project? Relevance of external environment 3. How does your project fit in with the context (other organisations, gov. Strategies, existing programmes)? Complementary actions are often well received. 4. What is the relevance of the project to the funding criteria and policies?
  • 8. Ten Questions Every Proposal should answer Monitoring & Evaluation (Accountability & Learning) 9. How will you monitor the project (in terms of outcomes and/or processes) so that you have valuable data for the Evaluation ? - Process & tools Sustainability 10. What happens when the funding ends? How will the results/benefit make a lasting impact? Continuation? Project Details 5. What are the aims of the project (SMART outcomes required)? 6. What are the key activities & timeline? Cost/Budget 7. How much funding is required, for what (the inputs)? What do you base the numbers on?
  • 9. Important Issues These are important cross-cutting themes that donors often expect to be built into proposals and demonstrated throughout: ● Equality - Proposals should demonstrate impact across genders and population groups. ● Diversity - Minority groups, the disabled, the youth and others should be considered. ● Value for Money - the most advantageous combination of cost, quality and sustainability ● SDGs - Demonstrating integration with the SDGs is critical. ● Climate Conscious - Donors look for proposals that actively reduce the impact on the environment.
  • 10. Tips for writing better proposals 1. Plan enough time & budget 2. Complete and concise 3. Suit the donor 4. Stick with the donor’s format 5. Follow all instructions and read the fine print 6. Correct and specific 7. Present yourself credibly 8.Be realistic, be accountable 9. Make it sustainable 10. Avoid the “Budget rejection trap”
  • 11. Stay in touch! Need support with your proposals? Sarah Fernandez sarah@mzninternational.com Carolin Gomulia carolin@mzninternational.com Joseph Nelson joseph@mzninternational.com Check out our blog and upcoming events on our website: www.mzninternational.com FUNDING BRIEFING July 7th How to Get Donor Mapping Right August 11th 10 Tips for Writing Better Project Proposals Latest blog article: Upcoming webinars: