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Effective Proposal Writing 1. Proposal Writing What’s a “Proposal”? A proposal is a formal, written request to individuals and agencies with money to.

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Presentation on theme: "Effective Proposal Writing 1. Proposal Writing What’s a “Proposal”? A proposal is a formal, written request to individuals and agencies with money to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effective Proposal Writing 1

2 Proposal Writing What’s a “Proposal”? A proposal is a formal, written request to individuals and agencies with money to give away. The proposal provides background information on your project or program and outlines reasons why granting you money would be mutually beneficial. Consider it your “sales” or “marketing” document. 2

3 Proposal Writing Granting sources will fund:  projects, programs  capital fundraising projects  endowments  church programs, but not for religious purposes  rarely for operational expenses — why? 3

4 Before You Begin  Grant application process both a science and an art —  Systematic, analytic approach to prepare is the “science”  Creating proposals, building relationships is the “art” 4

5 Before You Begin  Know your cause —  Believe in your cause.  Understand your project thoroughly.  Get the details from those in the know.  Both “Head” talk and “Heart” talk are important. 5

6 Before You Begin  Always work from the funder’s point of view — be donor-centred.  Does your request for money align with the funder’s objectives?  Follow their application process to the letter.  Use their style, language if feasible.  Be human—people give to people. 6

7 Before You Begin  Funders have different needs and so may require different approaches; BUT  All proposals have elements in common;  Information for one proposal may be used for others—prepare a template and “cherry pick” the content;  Investment of time upfront = long term benefits 7

8 The Proposal Writing Process Three overall steps 1.Background Research on Prospective Donors 2.Establishing Contact 3.Writing the Proposal Key— Know your audience — Tailor each proposal to the funder 8

9 Background Research  Match your criteria with those of the granting agency. What are their:  Philanthropic interests  Geographic limitations  Size of gifts granted  Timing for granting gifts  Timing of application process  Any other restrictions 9

10 Establishing Contact How you establish contact depends on donor:  Letter, email, phone call seeking information or a meeting  Prepare one-page concept paper or letter of intent outlining your project 10

11 Establishing Contact Letter of Intent  Sometimes called letter of inquiry or query letter.  Similar to a covering letter.  Agency uses letter to screen applications.  Granting agency will review letter and determine whether or not to invite an application or full proposal.  Can save both applicant and grantor time and effort. 11

12 Letter of Intent  On letterhead, signed by the most appropriate person  1 to 2 pages, maximum—brief  Letter:  introduces your organization  summarizes project and expected results  outlines project costs  states amount requested Establishing Contact 12

13 Letter of Intent  Begin with statement like:  “We write to state our intent to apply for a grant of $XXX from XXX Foundation to support XXX.”  Conclude with:  “We welcome your invitation to submit a full proposal.” Always respect the potential funder’s wishes and stated needs regarding contact. Establishing Contact 13

14 The Proposal — Key Components Key components of a proposal  Covering letter  Executive summary  Introduction of your organization  Outline of opportunity/need  Project description — an outline of how you will meet the opportunity/need  Your goals and objectives 14

15 The Proposal — Key Components Key components of a proposal  Anticipated outcomes of your project  Your strategies, methods, and timelines  Budget (high level)  Recognition and ongoing donor stewardship  Other information as may be requested Now, to expand on each key component... 15

16 The Proposal — Covering Letter The covering letter  Similar content to your letter of inquiry  1 to 2 pages, max — concise  Signed by “best” person— chair of your governing body, minister, someone who knows the contact  Brief outline of how your project relates to funder’s interests  Impact/outcomes — who benefits? 16

17 The Proposal — Executive Summary Executive Summary  Write it last and devote time to it.  1 to 2 page stand alone overview.  Summary of issues, approach and impact.  Stress your credibility, qualifications.  Show the vision, but base it in reality.  Include your “ask”. 17

18 The Proposal — Introducing You Introduction of your organization  Who are you?  What do you do?  Whom do you serve?  What have been your successes? Never assume funder knowledge. They may know of you but not really know you or understand what you do. 18

19 The Proposal — Outline of Opportunity Outline of Opportunity or Need  How was your need identified?  Research undertaken to support conclusion?  Is the issue solvable?  Implications if issue not resolved?  If you have clients, people who use your services, give them a voice here. 19

20 The Proposal — Project Description Project Description  Goals and objectives  Outcomes  Human resources required—staff, volunteer  Strategies, methods and timelines  How the project will be evaluated Now for the project description’s components... 20

21 The Proposal — Project Description Project Description — Goals and Objectives  Goals — your vision statements  Broad ideas beginning with phrases like:  To enhance...  To provide...  To improve...  To advance... 21

22 The Proposal — Project Description Project Description — Goals and Objectives  Objectives—how you will accomplish your goals  Measureable  Qualitative vs. quantitative  Clear, distinct beginning with phrases like:  To increase/decrease...  To reduce/eliminate...  To recruit/update 22

23 The Proposal — Project Description Project Description — Outcomes  The results of an activity  The impact of a service  Measurable—How will you know you’ve achieved your goal?  “Hard” and “soft” benefits  What’s the return on the funder’s investment —the ROI? They will want to know. 23

24 The Proposal — Project Description Project Description — Human Resources  Who will be leading the project?  Why are they uniquely qualified?  Outline experience, special skills.  Who will be doing what specifically—staff? volunteers?  Key contact person 24

25 The Proposal — Project Description Project Description—Strategies, Methods and Timelines  Outline your methodology  How will the project be carried out?  Any innovative approaches?  Ensure your project’s goals, objectives and strategies/methods relate to each other.  When will things get done? 25

26 The Proposal — Project Description Project Description — Evaluation  Who will be doing it?  When?  What data will be collected and how?  How will success be measured? 26

27 The Proposal — Budget  Keep it easy to read, clear. (narrative model)  Align budget with the project’s outline.  Include total costs, a contingency amount and your ask.  Will more financial support be needed? From whom?  Include volunteer time if appropriate as an in kind amount in revenue (also has to be expensed as there’s no net benefit). This increases your total budget which is beneficial when funders grant based on a percentage of the organization’s revenue. 27

28 The Proposal — Recognition Recognition and Ongoing Donor Stewardship  How will you recognize your funder?  What does the funder expect/want?  How will you keep funder informed of results? Remember, recognition expectations of secular funders may differ greatly from church custom. 28

29 The Proposal — Other Information Other information as may be required  Financial statements  Names of members of your governing body  Your charitable registration # from CRA  Names of staff persons  Names of others partnering with you  Quotes, testimonials, letters of support, references 29

30 The Proposal — Content Checklist A check off list of contents may be helpful.  Signed and completed application form  Most recent financial statements  Minutes of most recent annual meeting  Names of governing body executive, including positions held and contact information  Confirmation of charitable registration  A profile and history of the congregation and its accomplishments  Mission, vision and values of your congregation  Fast Facts about your congregation  Picture of proposed item  Cover Letter  Executive summary 30

31 The Proposal — Tips  Who should/could write your proposal? Someone who:  knows your project well  is passionate about the project  has excellent writing skills  has time to focus You may hire an outside writer who specializes in writing proposals. She/he can be informed by those knowledgeable and passionate about your project. 31

32 The Proposal — Tips  Believe that someone wants to give you money.  Keep things simple—the content of your proposal far outweighs the packaging.  Keep it professional—the proposal represents you.  Customize your proposal to your donor—the shotgun application approach will not work.  Frame your request in positive terms and how your work will make the difference. 32

33 The Proposal — Tips  Avoid in-house jargon, colloquialisms. Define all acronyms.  Try to direct your proposal to a person and not use “To Whom it May Concern”.  Enhance with pictures, diagrams, charts to bring project alive; remember to credit your sources.  Use the active voice.  Use spell check plus grammar and style check functions on your computer—then proof read again. 33

34 The Proposal — Tips  Be concise but not at the expense of essential content.  Number all pages.  Place your name and date in the footer.  Begin early—give yourself lots of time to prepare, to review, to consult and to redraft.  Get your proposal in on time. 34

35 The Proposal — Tips  Check the detail carefully.  Do figures tally?  Are names spelled correctly?  Get a second opinion “from away”.  Can they understand it? (write at the grade 6-7 reading level)  Is it logical, coherent, easy to read?  Does it interest them?  Does it move them? 35

36 The Proposal — Tips  In summary, after reading your proposal can the funder answer the 5 W’s?  WHO is the project helping?  WHAT will the project do to provide this help?  WHEN will the help be provided?  WHERE is the project taking place?  WHY is the project needed and WHY should your donor be interested? 36

37 The Proposal — Information Sources          (Enabling Accessibility Fund)  (Job Creation Partnership)  (Summer Jobs Program) www.  (Program to Improve Facilities and Infrastructure) 37

38 The Proposal — Conclusion  Savor your successes — they will come!  If at first you don’t succeed, remember “no” can often mean “not now”.  Learn from your experience then try again! “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Wayne Gretzky 38

39 Thank you for attending! Presentation courtesy of Doug Flanders Former Director, Major and Planned Gifts The United Church of Canada This presentation was made possible through generous gifts for Mission and Service. 39

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