HOW TO WRITE Proposal for Funding | My Virtual Corner

11. Costs & Benefits (Analysis):

In a proposal, the chapter called costs and benefits is not the same thing as a line by line budget with numbers indicating amounts of money. (The line by line budget should be put as an appendix at the end of the document, not in the text).
Here in the text of your project proposal, the chapter on costs and benefits should be analytical and narrative, and relate to the previous chapters. It should discuss those budget lines that may need explanation (eg purchases, expenses or needs which are not immediately apparent or self explanatory).
You should try to make a cost benefit analysis, ie relate the quantity of the objectives reached, to the total costs, and calculate a per unit cost (eg the total cost divided by the number of children taught literacy will be the per unit cost of teaching literacy) .

Summaries or totals of the following information may help some donors to decide:
1. local costs;
2. external costs;
3. methods of financing;
4. local versus foreign exchange needed;
5. all non-financial contributions by the local community (each costed with a money equivalent);
6. methods to obtain supplies (where and how purchased); and
7. proportion of total costs requested in this proposal.

As well as the costs (including the amounts asked for in the proposal), you should make some comparison between the costs (inputs) and the value of benefits (outputs). The following could be answered:
1.Who benefits?
2. How do they benefit?
3. Justifications for the project?
4. What are the specific outputs of the project?
5. What is the average total cost per beneficiary?
6. Will value of benefits exceed costs of inputs (or vice versa)? By how much?

When the objectives are qualitatively different from each other (eg number of new parent committees formed and the number of children taught literacy) , then some arbitrary but reasonable division of "per unit" cost must be calculated.
The budget totals should be indicated in this section, then refer to appendix for the detailed budget. Other sources (donors and the amounts) must be mentioned. The total amount requested should appear here in narrative text.

12. Monitoring (Observing):

Monitoring should be done by:
1. The affected community, represented by the local committee;
2. Your agency or organization (specify who in it) ; and
3. Your donors.

How will achievements be measured?
How will they be verified?

Monitoring and follow-up should be built into the project activities. Part should be continuous self evaluation by you (the implementing agency).
The monitoring and receiving of reports from the project to the donor must be worked out and put into your project proposal. The monthly reports should be designed and reviewed as to usefulness to the donor for its ongoing planning and programming for the whole country.
One thing is for sure; there should be emphasis in reporting the results, or outputs, ie the effects of the project on the target group or beneficiaries. There is no harm in also reporting activities if the reports are brief. The reporting of achieved results, as compared to planned objectives as defined in your project proposal, is essential.

See Monitoring

13. Reporting (Communicating the Observations):

In any agency-funded project, accounting and accountability are very important. This applies to most donor agencies, UN, governmental or NGO.
In your proposal, your reporting procedures should describe: "how often, to whom, including what?" You may want to discuss this with the prospective funding agency since reporting and evaluation requirements vary among agencies, and are dependent upon type of project.
Evaluating your own project while it is under way will help you and your donors see your progress and accomplishments and the choices available for future action. Careful reporting of your project in progress is an invaluable resource for others who attempt projects of a similar nature.
Your proposal should indicate what reports will be submitted. These include regular ongoing reports, and a final report. Short, frequent reports (eg weekly sitreps) may include only events and activities. Longer reports should indicate the results of the project activities (not just activities) , an evaluation or assessment of how far the objectives were reached, reasons why they were not, and the impact or effect on the beneficiaries (target group) .
Reports should be prepared and submitted optimally every month. The proposal should indicate what reports are to be submitted and with what frequency and content. Each project (if your group is proposing more than one project) requires a separate report (two or three pages of text plus needed appendices).
A detailed monthly narrative report should include how far each of the intended objectives has been reached, what were the reasons they were not fully reached, and suggestions and reasons about changing the objectives if they were found to need changing. The narrative report can include information about events and inputs (what actions were undertaken, see below) , but should emphasize outputs (the results of those actions in so much as they lead to achieving the stated objectives) . Attention should be paid to the number and location of beneficiaries. The monthly report would best be organized into sections corresponding to the sections of your proposal.
A detailed monthly financial report should include what moneys were received and from where, what moneys were expended, listed line by line according to the budget categories in the proposal, reasons for over- or under- spending, and an assessment of how well the expenditures contributed to reaching the stated objectives of the project.
The final report should include the same topics as the monthly reports, plus a section called "Lessons Learned," and a section indicating the impact of the project on the target community and surrounding areas. The report should be concise (brief but complete).
The reports should be honestly self critical and analytical.
The same principles and guidelines for narrative reports should apply to the financial reports. The monthly budget outcomes of the project are as important to programming as the statements are to the accounting. Explanations of deviations from planned expenditures should accompany the budget outcomes.

14. Appendices (Attachments):

The text of your proposal should be a single, brief yet complete argument from beginning to end –– easy to read. Because many important details will make the text too convoluted and difficult to read, they should be put into appendixes at the end.
Typical of documents to put in appendices are:
1. lists;
2. diagrams;
3. detailed budget;
4. job descriptions; and
5. any other necessary detailed documents.

When you have written your first draft of the project proposal, go through it and look for any descriptions of details in your text that may draw the reader away from the smooth flow of the argument. Move them to an appendix, and in their place put a brief note about them and ask the reader to look in the appendix for the details.
Now read the document again. With those details tucked away in an appendix, does the flow of argument become smoother, yet not weakened by their absence in the text? Yes? Good! You've just found another way to make use of the appendices.
Appendices can include any other material that will allow officers of donor agencies to decide whether or not to approve funds. The purpose of the appendices is to be able to include all the necessary and important details (which the meticulous reader will examine) , but not in the text of your document where you want a smooth flowing, brief argument. It tucks those details away for use when wanted.

15. Detailed Budget:

The line-by-line budget should be put in an appendix. Each line on your detailed budget should have the total costs for one budget category. The lines should be grouped into similar kinds of costs (eg salaries, vehicles, communications, fuels, transport).
If you can, distinguish between non expendable items (ie equipment that can be used again later) and expendable (ie supplies that get used up).
The budget should be a realistic estimate of all costs involved in implementing and operating the project. If possible demonstrate the potential for eventual self support, or support from other resources other than the one to which you are applying. Costs estimates should be broken down in to logical categories (line items) such as: salaries; supplies and materials; equipment; travel and per diem; rent; telephone.
Voluntary contributions made to the project by you and members of your organization should be listed and estimated as closely as possible in cash terms, or shown as "no charge." Specify physical facilities that are available or, are to be made available for the project. Specify your organization's existing equipment and supplies that will be used for this project. Include any other inputs to be used for this project from government or from other organizations.
Often, funding agencies prefer to match grants, or assist with part of the total budget rather than give the entire sum. Therefore it is suggested that you show the total budget when applying, and indicate when you expect or hope to get other funding assistance.

16. Abstract (Executive Summary):

Write this part last. This is the section on which a potential donor will read and make that vital preliminary decision: whether or not to seriously consider assisting.
This should not be written, or even contemplated, until all above sections are written. Avoid writing it as an introduction. Think of it as a concise summary and conclusion.
The optimum size is half a page; the absolute maximum size is one page. Any longer and it is in danger of not being read or considered. It should summarize only the key recommendations and be written for busy board members or executives who may read up to fifty of them and may not initially read anything more than the executive summary for each proposed project.
Ironically, while you write the abstract last, you then put it directly after the front or title page of your proposal.and when you finish writing it: . . .
Now that you have written your draft proposal, hand it around for comments and suggestions. View the proposal critically and be prepared to do some rewriting and rethinking if necessary.

17. Some Final Guidelines Comments:

The most likely projects to be funded will be rapid, sustainable, small scale, low budget interventions for the most pressing needs identified by the communities.
Often proposals will be evaluated as to how they will contribute to wider, integrated sustainable development of the geographical area.
Active participation of women in identification, implementation and monitoring of a proposed project should be encouraged. The proposal should clearly describe the number of women involved in project design and implementation, and as beneficiaries.
Any projects that are part of larger or longer term plans must indicate other (preferably secured) funding sources to ensure continuity and sustainability.
Projects which are developmental, promote self reliance, and are ultimately locally sustainable have a higher chance of being funded. Your estimate of when the project could be self sustaining should be indicated in your proposal.
The success of projects requires the co-operation of all segments of the target community. There must be a sense of community "ownership" of the projects (including both local residents and displaced persons affected) . That means there should be some initial activity of "community development mobilization," "social animation" or similar community facilitation to ensure all members of the affected community participate in decisions concerning the proposed project. Active participation of the community as a whole (all members) in identification, assessment and implementation of the project is usually a prerequisite for approval.
A good project should be replicable. That means it should be possible to implement the same project in other communities.
Accounting and accountability are very important.
Many of the resources of those beneficiaries can be hidden by the concern we may have for their plight, but this can be deceptive. The hidden resources of your target group usually include skills and wisdom, and surprisingly many material resources, both capital and supplies. Your objective as a mobilizer and trainer should be to stimulate a process of uncovering hidden resources among the beneficiaries and encourage a social process of reducing dependencies and increasing self reliance.



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I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.