How to Write a Funding Proposal
HOW TO WRITE A FUNDING PROPOSAL
Before you write a proposal, you must decide:
- What the problem is that you would like to solve.
- How you plan to solve this problem.
- How much this solution will cost
Your proposal needs to include, in the following order:
- A summary
- An introduction
- Project details
- A conclusion
- A budget
- Supporting documents and materials
Include the following information:
- The project’s title
- Detailed information about the project, such as the location, the specific activities, the number of people involved, the founding date, etc.
- The organisation’s name and full contact details (including the name of a contact person)
- Your registration details
- The total budget figure as well as the amount of money you are asking for
- The organisation’s bank account details and fundraising number (if applicable)
Provide detailed background information about the organisation, including when it was established, what it does, and what it has achieved since it started operating. It should also describe the present situation in the community and how the project is relevant. For example, if your project is about orphans and vulnerable children, include details about how many children there are in your district, and how many of them are orphans.
Provide details about the problem you are hoping your project will help. Explain how you know that this is a problem in your community (for example, write about how you have researched the numbers of orphans, and how educators and church leaders in the area have informed you about the problem. You can even include quotes from community leaders who have given you information, as well as details you have obtained from the local government offices). Write about the people you hope your project will help, and give numbers, if possible. Mention the names of other organisations that may also be helping to address this particular problem in your community or area.
Main points to be covered:
- Details about your organisation
- Details about the problem you want to address
In this section, describe exactly how your organisation plans to solve the problem you have explained. Provide details about your organisation’s goals. Remember that these goals must be realistic, and you must have a way to measure how much progress you are making. Under each goal, write a few steps of how you plan to achieve this goal, and by which date you hope to achieve it. The steps must be realistic, practical and directly related to the goal.
In this section, also give details of all your resources (other than financial); for example, the number of staff and volunteers and the equipment and office space you already have. It is important to try and show that your project is well planned, that it is relevant, and how it will help the community. Finally, write how you intend to check (monitor and evaluate) whether your organisation meets its targets and goals.
Main points to be covered:
- Steps to achieve the goals
- All your organisation’s resources
- How you will monitor and evaluate the project’s progress
In your conclusion, summarise the reasons why your project will help to address the problem described. Also, explain how the funds will be used and accounted for.
This is the financial plan that controls the allocation of funds for your project. You need to research your costs to work out your budget, remembering to allow for contingencies.
Supporting documents and materials
These can include anything that may help the donor or grantmaker understand the work of the organisation. You do not need to include all these supporting materials, only those that are relevant to you
- A copy of your organisation’s latest audited financial statements
- A copy of your organisation’s latest budget
- A list of donors (grantmakers) and the amounts contributed
- Reports to other donors
- A list of other organisations you have approached for funding, and details about their answers, if possible
- If you are appealing for materials and equipment, submit copies of quotations from local suppliers or contractors
- A project budget for the current financial year
Legal information :
- A copy of your registration certificate(s)
- Documentation about ownership of the organisation
- A copy of legal status
- A signed copy of the organisation’s constitution with a list of trustees/management
Supporting material :
- Annual reports
- Minutes of meetings
- A list of any other successful programmes or projects run by your organisation
- Letters from community leaders or organisations that are familiar with the work of the organisation or project
- If your organisation has recently been evaluated by an independent evaluation agency, supply a copy of the report
- Details and copies of certificates and awards
- Photographs of work done by your organisation, staff members, volunteers, etc.
- A list of the organisations to which your organisation is affiliated to or networks with on a regular basis
Summary of funding proposal tips
- Make sure your project meets the donor’s funding requirements
- Make sure that you plan your project before you write a proposal
- Make sure you that you meet the donor or grantmaker’s deadline
- Follow the donor’s proposal format or guidelines
- Make use of headings and bullet points to structure your proposal
- Write short sentences and keep to the point
- Be sincere and realistic about what you think you will be able to achieve
- Explain the problems and needs before you explain how you plan to solve them
- Include social, economic and political information and figures to show that you understand the situation in your community or area
- Include references for statistics and quotes (in other words, explain where you got all your facts and figures)
- Show that you know about other organisations in your area, and that you will not be doing exactly the same work
- Include a plan to show how you will monitor the project and check whether it is achieving its goals
- Include a reasonable budget and make sure it adds up
- Get a colleague to look at your proposal before you send it to the donor
- Check your spelling and grammar
- Follow up with the donor if you do not hear from them within reasonable time (three to four weeks)
What happens if the application is successful?
Wait for written proof that the money is coming before you celebrate. Make sure that the conditions and reporting requirements of the grant are reasonable and acceptable, and that you will be able to fulfil them. Acknowledge receipt of the letter and thank the donor as soon as possible. Make sure that you understand how to claim your payments.
Start a file for the project containing all your correspondence with the donor, as well as the funding proposal, the guidelines, the budget, and any other relevant documents. Keep the file in a safe place. You must then account for how you spend the money and submit regular reports to the donor, as required. Read more about this under Reporting for Donors.
What if my funding proposal is unsuccessful?
Donors are unable to fund every application they receive. Remember that good proposals for good projects get rejected all the time. If your organisation does not get the funding, ask the donor to tell you why your application was not successful. This may help you to improve your next funding proposal. It is a good idea to write to the donor to thank them for considering your proposal. They will appreciate your response and remember it.