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Writing a Proposal Jürgen Carls University for Peace P.O. Box: 138 – 6100 San José, Costa Rica Tel.: (00506) 205 90 75 San José,

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Presentation on theme: "Writing a Proposal Jürgen Carls University for Peace P.O. Box: 138 – 6100 San José, Costa Rica Tel.: (00506) 205 90 75 San José,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing a Proposal Jürgen Carls University for Peace P.O. Box: 138 – 6100 San José, Costa Rica E-mail: Tel.: (00506) 205 90 75 San José, Costa Rica

2 2 Definition of a Project A project is a combination of inputs, managed in a certain way, to achieve one or more desired ouptuts, and ultimately one or more desired impacts 2

3 3 Project Duration The objectives of a project are always limited in time Most donors are used to projects that last between 2 to 4 years To accomodate donor needs, longer projects are usually divided into phases of 2-3 years 3

4 4 Types of projects Experiment or study Strategic or applied Simple or complex Small or large 4

5 5 Programs and Projects A program consists of several projects A project is more specific than a program A project has one or more objectives A project promises outputs within a given time 5

6 6 A Program Consists of Several Projects 6

7 7 Donor Questions on First Looking at a Project What is new about this project? As a result of this project, who will be better off and in what way? 7

8 8 Selecting a Topic with Right Balance of Risk and Returns Donors are looking for projects that have low risks and high potential returns /impacts. When considering a new project, estimate the size of the risk and of the potential returns. Reject topics that bear high risks with low returns. 8

9 9 Topics that Attract Donor Support will: be sufficiently important to be worth doing be useful, and seen as priority by project beneficiaries be “manageable” i.e. have a reasonable chance of achieving results within a limited amount of time, with a reasonable quantity of available inputs show the right balance of risk and returns attract partners that have a comparative advantage to carry out the project 9

10 10 Writing to inform – Writing to persuade  Write to convey information  Write clearly and logically Example: exams  Write to persuade your reader to do something  Write with urgency and passion Example: advertisements 1010

11 11 The most important thing about writing to persuade Appeal to the self-interest of your readers! This means you need to know as much as you can about them 1

12 12 Donors are the Readers of Your Proposal Finding out their agency’s priorities Finding out individual likes and dislikes of the donor´s representatives You need to identify their self-interest, by: You can find out these things from your Donor Intelligence Unit, from researching donor sites, and by meeting donor staff face-to-face 1212

13 13 Tips on Writing with Passion Use strong words like: urgent, vital, essential, new Avoid vague words like: possibly, under certain circumstances, ceteris paribus Use short and sharp sentences to push your message along Use arresting words or phrases Use the active voice as much as possible Put statements in a positive form Use definite, specific, and concrete language 1313

14 14 Characteristics of Project Objectives Correspond to a core problem Achieve the objective to overcome the problem Contribute to the achievement of development goals 1414

15 15 Core Problem - Objective Core Problem:low maize yields Objective:increased maize yields Note: The objective is often a positive re-formulation of the core problem 1515

16 16 How to prepare well-elaborated budgets for proposals Use a budget format that will be consistent for all proposals, except in those cases where the donor already has a prepared format Each budget position should have a foot note indicating the costs per unit Generally speaking, budgets should show figures that are rounded to the closest $000 1616

17 17 How to prepare well-elaborated budgets for proposals The budget should be realistic Avoid calculating too low or too high Overheads are legitimate costs and must be included in all budgets Each budget should have a budget summary 1717

18 18 Budget formats Each donor organization has different formats Example: Illustrative budget format 1. Coordination of the project (salaries, administration, operational costs, travel) 2. Costs of Components/Results/Products 3. Subtotal coordination and results 4. Unforeseen expenses 5% 5. Subtotal coordination and results 6. Overheads(10 – 25%) 9. Total 1818

19 19 Qualities of a well-elaborated Budget A well elaborated budget should be clear, transparent and easy to read When looking at the budget anybody should be able to read and understand it without the necessity of your presence to explain it 19

20 20 Rounding to the closest 000 Costs for position Personal Panel speaker Worker Honoraries 1 st year 42,580 24,500 17,000 2 nd year 42,580 24,500 17,550 1 st and 43 24 17 2 nd year 43 24 18 Operation Costs Commissions and Services Others 15,525 2,000 16,750 2,000 16 2 17 2 Administration Costs Others 12,241 3,103 12,202 2,920 12 3 12 3 Column BColumn A Column B is much easier to read than column A! 2020

21 21 Rules for the presentation of a well-elaborated Budget A project which disposes of a too low budget is frustrating Do not promise a lot based on the money you have If a donor reduces his budget then adapt your objectives and activities accordingly and make sure that your donor will understand that less results will be achieved An inflated budget and ambitious will completely disappoint your donor Resist the temptation to rise salaries and travel expenses Offer a moderate and realistic budget which allows you to be certain that you will reach the promised results 2121

22 22 Indirect costs (overheads) Every project has direct costs for achieving the results/objectives Besides, every project has indirect costs (rent, electricity of your offices, library of your institute, accounting services, etc.) These indirect costs are necessary to maintain the institution, infrastructure, etc. 2

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