Emerging Issues and Trends


1. Planning Problems -Planning a project plan and proposal takes a lot of time and effort. So make sure you save and share your past work so your effort does not go to waste. Some proposals may not have been accepted, or maybe you never actually submitted them, but that
does not mean they are useless. Most proposal writers prefer to start working from an old proposal even if they plan on changing everything. Starting with an existing document to modify is often less stressful than starting completely from scratch.
2. Fear of rejection-It is normal to fear rejection. It is also quite likely you will be rejected at times. Even professional fundraisers face rejection on a regular basis. However, do not let this stop you from applying in the first place. If you never apply you will never win. Even if your proposal is rejected, there are still many steps you can take to increase your chances for next time. Always try to continue the relationship with the donor. Send them a thank-you letter and keep on trying!
3. Deadlines-Most people seem to hate deadlines. However, deadlines are essential for successful fundraising! It is quite common for organisations to view fundraising and proposal writing as something to do ‘when there is time.’ Organisations are usually busy with projects and meetings so there is rarely free time available. Having deadlines forces organisations to plan ahead and stop putting things off for later. Even the best fundraisers have missed a deadline or two (or more). While this is an unfortunate missed opportunity, it is not the end of the world. Most donors with competitive application processes re-open their opportunities every quarter or every year.
4. High donor expectations -Donors are acting more and more like shareholders in ventures, demanding more transparency, greater accountability, and better results in regard to their social investments.”
5. Confusing formats -There are as many proposal formats as there are several donors and each donor as a different format
6. The Donor Fatigue Phenomenon-Recent empirical data have indicated a decline in donor funding and the folding up of most projects due to donor fatigue phenomenon:
Reasons for Donor Fatigue
 Increased pressure on foreign aid budgets,
 Changes in funding policy,
 Over-reliance on single sources of funding,
 Increasing numbers of organisations competing for funds for similar projects.
 Low-quality proposal presented to them for funding e.g. “shopping list”, and not analytical and systematic.
 Some requests conflict with the national policy of donor countries
 Development projects not being sustainable to generate own income.
 The inability of partners in Africa to meet reporting requirements
 Improper management of funds leading to donor withdrawal.
1. The Cover Page
2. The Executive Summary
3. Introduction /Background
4. Statement of the Problem
5. Programme Objectives
6. Implementation Plan
7. Evaluation (Reporting included)
8. Sustainability
9. Budget
10.Risk Assessment and Management
11.Management and Staffing
12.Appendices /Supporting Documents
Also called the Title page, indicates:
 The project title
 The name of the lead organization
 The names of the other organizations collaborating with the lead organization, if any
 The date and place of the project preparation
 The name of the donor agency (or potential sponsoring agency) to whom the proposal will be sent to(use their Logos)
The Project Title:
 Should be short (not too long)
 Should be concise (not too general)
 Can refer to a certain key project result or leading project activity
 Should be able to tell the reader what to expect from the content of the proposal
Give Examples of Project Titles
Title #1 – The Systematic Development of a Local Initiative to Create a Learning
Center for Community Education
Title #2 – A Local Learning Center for Community Education
 Zero Hunger
 Waiting Mothers Shelter
 Determined, Resilient, Aids-Free, Mentored, Safe (DREAMS)
Proposals with more than 10 pages should have contents page, and should include:
 Table of Contents
 List of Figures (if any)
 List of Tables (if any)
 Acronyms (if any)
 The summary should include:
 The problem statement
 The project’s objectives
 The project methodology
 Implementing organizations
 Key project activities
 The project duration, and
 The total project budget
The Executive Summary is usually written after developing the proposal, and is often not more than two (2) pages. Could even be less than a page depending on the length of the proposal.
 History of the organization
 Organization’s Mission(purposes and goals, programmes and activities, and clients or constituents
 Legal Status and type of organization (School, Clinic, etc.)
 Key accomplishments and reputation
 Management structure (leadership)
 Visibility in the community
 Annual budget
 Other donors who partners with the organization
Describes the specific problem or problems the project is trying to solve Points out why a certain issue is a problem for the community or society as a whole Explains how the needs of the target group are a direct consequence of the described problem (s)
Priority needs:
Prioritize the identified needs
Explain the criteria or method used in prioritizing the needs identified
Proposed approach (methodology):
Describes the strategy or strategies chosen to deal with the problem (s) and how it will lead to improvement
For example, if the priority need is (improved access to safe water and sanitation) – approaches that can be used could include – (describe each approach): Provision of affordable and appropriate water facilities to the community; and Promotion of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) for all households in the community.
Describes what the long term benefits to the target group are.
 Enables you to understand what the core problem is and why the project is important
 Main overall objective that project will achieve usually framed as a sustainable improvement in human conditions or well- being.
 Improving the quality of life in —— community
 Eradicating poverty and social injustice among women in ……(Location)
 Eliminating maternal mortality in …………(location)
 States in concrete terms the benefits to be received by the project beneficiaries or target group as a direct result of the project
 Provides a more detailed breakdown of the project goal
 Most projects usually have more than one objectives
 These are often changes in conditions/utilization/behavior/practices or household resources.
 SMARRRT: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Results-Oriented, Relevant, Realistic, and Time bound
 Exercise -Objective or Not?
 To form farmers’ groups and networking as method of enhancing technology transfer in the community
The implementation/activity timeline is a way of visually describing the sequence of major program activities over time and should set clear benchmarks and timelines that can be used to track overall program progress.
 Describes in details activities and resource allocation.
 Who will implement the project activities?
 When will the project activities be implemented?
 Where will the project activities be implemented?
A project implementation can be divided into two:
Activity Plan
 Specific information and explanation of each of the planned project activities
 A clear statement of the duration of the project
 When will the project begin and end?
 Suggested format to present the activity plan:
 Simple activity table – that shows sub-activities, tasks, timing and responsibility
 Gantt Chart – that shows the dependence and sequence for each activity
 List all project activities.
 Break activities into manageable sub-activities, and then into tasks – avoid breaking activities into too many activities.
 Clarify sequence and dependence – by relating activities to each other to determine their sequence and dependence.
 Draw up a timeline for each task – by giving each task a start up date, a duration, and a completion date.
 Summarize the scheduling of main activities – by summarizing the timing of the entire main activity
 Use milestones – Milestones are key events that provide a measure of project progress and targets for the project team to aim for.
 Define expertise – The level of expertise needed should be decided for each task separately.
 Allocate tasks among the team – Distribute responsibilities in consultation with the members of the team.
Resource Plan
 Establish cost categories – e.g. Administrative, Capacity Building (or Training), Equipment, Operations (Overhead), etc.
 Summarize the cost information for budgeting
 Identify units, quantity per period, and estimated unit costs.
Calculate costs per period and total project costs
Project Results
Describes the services or products to be delivered to the target group directly from the project Should be measured through the use of objective indicators Percentage (%) of households that have gained access to safe water and sanitation in Ebulbul
community by 2021 Percentage (%) reduction of infection rates among children of Ebulbul community reduced by 2021.
This is both narrative and use of monitoring and evaluation tables (frameworks) Provide a brief narrative describing the method(s) of data collection and storage that will be utilized for the project. Describe how you will review data and monitor results to determine
whether desired results are being achieved and whether implementation is on track. Describe the systems that will be used to monitor and evaluate the project, to identify weaknesses and learn from them so as to reduce the chances that they will arise again.
 Monitoring – can be defined as the ongoing process by which stakeholders obtain regular feedback on the process being made towards achieving goals and objectives.
 Evaluation is a rigorous and independent assessment of either completed or ongoing activities to determine the extent to which they are achieving stated objectives and contributing to decision making.
Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
 Formulate clear indicators for each objective and result
 Indicate how and when to conduct monitoring and evaluation activities to determine project’s progress and outcome.
 State which methods will be used to monitor and evaluate the project.
 Identify who will carry out the project evaluation.
Example Narrative
A detailed M&E system will be developed during the first three months of the project, based on the agreed results framework and the baseline studies.
In order to create a specific space for reflection mid-way through the project , an internal midterm evaluation will be carried out. At the end of the programme, an external evaluation will be commissioned and shall give information on the achievements and impact of the programme and provide recommendations for the future. The Terms of Reference for this evaluation will be discussed with ———– (partners and Donors).
 Present the schedule of project progress and financial reporting in the proposal – usually this according to donor requirement.
 Reporting could be quarterly, six monthly, and annually. Terminal reporting is also usually required.
 Donors usually provide their own reporting format for narrative and financial reports.
 Reporting should not only be activity based, but also result and outcome based.
 Lessons, challenges and way forward should be included in the report.
 Qualitative and quantitative data should be used to develop the report.
Example Narrative
XXX will submit monthly narrative progress reports to as per the contractual agreement. These reports will provide updates on results achievement, challenges, mitigation measures and lessons learnt. Baseline, and End term project evaluation; End- term evaluation will be carried out in the last month of the implementation of the project. It will seek to assess the output and effect of project’s work in relation to its objectives. The evaluation will identify key challenges, lessons learnt and make recommendations for improving programming of a similar nature. The endterm evaluation will be the responsibility of XXXX
Sustainability can be defined as “the sustained ability by individuals, institutions to continue contributing to real and lasting change” after the programme has ended. Thus there is a need to aim for institutional sustainability for the partners, including financial sustainability;
programmatic sustainability and individual sustainability—— Economical/Financial sustainability-How to support the project without future grants. Institutional sustainability-Management capacity to continue with the established project
activities. Socio-cultural sustainability-Long-term acceptance of the project results by beneficiaries. Environmental sustainability-Direct or long-term impact on the environment or project dependency on a certain environmental concern.
Institutional and financial sustainability of XXXXX
One important factor which contributes to the effectiveness of the project is XXXX partnership with local organisations. XXXX collaborates with local organisations that have a far superior understanding of the context, in particular when it comes to culture
and social issues.
XXXX does not see this programme as an isolated intervention but as one part of a continuous long-term collaboration with stakeholders .Local partners will remain in the context also after the completion of the programme, thereby building the blocks of sustainability of results.
A budget is an itemized summary of an organization’s expected income and expenses over a period of time.
– Budget format vary from organization to organization and from donor to donor
– It is very necessary that an organization compiles strictly and punctually with its donor organization’s budgeting and reporting requirements
Two main costs are:
Direct costs – costs associated with direct project activities – (e.g. a training workshop). Operational costs – expenses related to internal activities of the organization and are considered fixed costs in the short term – (e.g. staff salaries, rent, utilities, etc.)
Units, Quantity per Period and Estimated Unit Costs – are used to calculate costs associated with direct and operational costs.
Project Risks are events or conditions that if it occurs have a negative or positive effect on projects objectives in terms of, cost, time, scope ,standards. These are pre-completion and operational risks Pre –completion risks –these are risks the affect the project reaching completion and being able to deliver the right results eg delays ,cost overruns —they are considered the highest area of risks and least manageable. Operational risks in project are such as poor design or build, rise in operation costs ——. In risk management: identify the risk, Determine severity of risk, allocate the risk to a party that can manage it and quantify /price the risk.
Risk Assessment Example Narrative
A summary of XXXX risk analysis is presented in annex X. The risk analysis has been done with input from stakeholders in XXXX. The table includes only the risks which were judged to be most important, based on the combined assessment of the probability
of the risk to occur and the impact of each risk on the programme results. The impact and probability have been assessed based on a three level scale; high/H – medium/M – low/L. The identified risks are divided into external, context related risks and internal, organisational risks.
 Describe the project personnel including the individual roles each will play.
 –Explain the communication mechanisms that exist between the positions.
 Other information such as CVs should be attached to the annexes
 Information on the implementing organizations (e.g. annual reports, success stories, brochures and other publications);
 Additional information on the project management structure and personnel (CVs for
the members of the project team);
 Maps of the location of the target area; and
 Project management procedures and forms (organizational charts, forms, etc.)
 Analysis related to the general context (e.g. a civil society sector assessment)
 Policy documents and strategic papers (e.g. a local environmental action plan)
Top Reasons Why Proposals Do Not Get Funded
• Funding source does not believe you understand the problem
• Funding source does not believe in your solution
• Funding source does not believe in your qualifications
• Funding source does not believe or trust your budget
• The proposal is not aligned to the interests of funding source
• The proposal budget exceeds the range of funds from the funding source
Before Writing a Proposal
Before you write a proposal, heed this advice: Do not start writing a funding proposal before you have done the necessary research, thinking and planning.
In addition to the above advice,
1. Research the problem and gather enough data/references about the topical issue/ subject; gather related and enough information about the problem.
2. Knowing your organization and assess your capability to seek funding. Thus, know yourself in terms of who you are (your organizational identity), what are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (a design for self-evaluation), and what is your track record (a demonstration of capability)
3. Plan the project to reflect the context (know the context and the circumstances that created the problem the project is addressing and what the problem is, that is, provide problem statement or rationale/reasons why the project has to be done, and description of the target community and direct project beneficiaries), objectives to be realized (be clear about your objectives before you write your proposal (strategies to be used to achieve the objectives) and the implementation process (the activities to be carried out under each strategy, what are the expected outputs, when will the activities and outputs happen- implementation plan, who will be involved – the management plan, how will progress be monitored and how will the project be evaluated – evaluation plan, what resources will be needed to carry out the activities- the budget plan). Remember that donors usually accept the most relevant and best written proposals before applying for funds, it is extremely important to research on:-
• Funding interests of the donor. Thus, make effort to know which donors in your area give money to the kind of projects you are selling. Therefore, you need to know:
• Set of priorities of the donor. Each donor has his/her own set of priorities which cannot be changed easily. Hence there is need to: know the profile of each donor, for example, mission, priority areas of funding etc. Each donor agency has its own way of operating. Therefore, it is important to get information about how the donor works.
• Special features, which are: financial year, yearly deadlines when proposals are accepted, when approved funds are released/received, endorsement. Is the application submitted directly or through some other organizations?
• Donor wants. Most donors want to: make an impact or a difference, acquire knowledge, understanding and information; share knowledge, understanding and information; increase their influence in addressing what they consider to be the problems in the world

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