Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Seven Things Every Proposal Should Contain

To get a complete template for writing a successful proposal, see:

For this article, we are going to cover the 7 things that should be included in every proposal if you want to get funded. Like a blind date, you need to build trust and confidence and likability in a finite amount of time. So here's how you do it.

1. Provide essential details about your agency (size, how long you've been operating, location, community served, mission)

2. Describe your operations (what is your registration or incorporation number, who can join, how does one become a member of your organization, is there an advisory board, do members vote, what constituency or demographic groups are part of your organization?)

3. Lay out your organization's structure and hierarchy (names and titles of organization leaders, contact person and information, who will be the people in charge of the program or project for which you are seeking funding?)

4. Explain your goals, objectives and activities (What needs does your project fill? Use objectives that are SMART--simple, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound). What is the scope of your activities -- geographic, group, time-frame.

5. Why and how will your program be successful? (Tell the potential funder what makes your program unique. How does it differ from what other organizations are doing? In doing so, also tell the funder about your past successes and accomplishments of your organization.

6. Name your strategic leverage and alliances. What outside organizations are your references? What other organizations and key individuals support your effort? From whom else have you sought or asked for funds and support? Has the organization itself funded you before?

7. What's it going to cost? The main things funders are looking for is value for money. (Include the detailed operations budget and the funding sources for your budget. Do you have past audited financial statements? Include them. What about future sources of funding beyond the program period? List anticipated co-funding sources or future funding sources.

The idea is to build up trust, social proof and confidence in your ability to deliver on what you promise. Do a good job of delivering on these elements and you are more than half the way to getting your proposed project funded.

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