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Basic Guidelines for Writing a Proposal

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Presentation on theme: "Basic Guidelines for Writing a Proposal"— Presentation transcript:

1 Basic Guidelines for Writing a Proposal
Provided compliments of BaiDos Project Management & HR Assistance Mary Ann Hvizdos, Ph.D., Co-Principal

2 Section 1 – Executive Summary (Slides 2 -6)
Tips for Writing Executive Summary Limit to 1 page Write after you’ve drafted other sections Write “tightly” – edit & edit again Critical section of proposal – may be only page a program officer reads Essential Information in Executive Summary Statement of problem Solution to problem Funding requirements (the ask) Organizational capacity

3 State the Problem Identify & define problem or need that your nonprofit is prepared to meet.

4 Describe Solution to Problem
Summarize how your proposed program will solve identified problem or need. Include the following information: Number of individuals (guests, students, patients, etc.) to benefit Program duration Staffing needs

5 State Funding Requirements
Total funds needed for program Amount requested from foundation Sustainability What is the plan to keep the program* operable or to continue providing services* after foundation funding has ended? *The word “program” through remainder of PP also can refer to services your nonprofit offers or proposes to offer.

6 Explain Organizational Capacity
Sing praises of your nonprofit organization . Be sure to highlight History & Mission Programs & Services currently offered Expertise. Why is your organization best suited to offer proposed programs or services?

7 Section 2 - Statement of Need (Slides 7-10)
Tips for Writing Statement of Need Prove need for proposed program/service Pull at funder’s heartstrings Write tightly Limit to 2 pages Essential Information in Statement of Need Facts or statistics Hope Uniqueness

8 Facts or Statistics Conduct your research
Provide updated, recent data that supports need for proposed program/service Should you present national, regional or local data? Ask yourself: “What type of data best supports your Statement of Need?”

9 Hope Present hopeful not grim picture
Provide real-life examples or anecdotes But do not overwhelm the reader with bleakness (no need to provide them with tissues)! Be realistic

10 Unique What makes your proposed program/service unique?
Demonstrate that your proposed program addresses identified need differently, uniquely or even better than similar programs

11 Tips for Writing Program Description
Section 3 – Program Description & Implementation Process (Slides ) Tips for Writing Program Description Section 3 is “meat & potatoes” of proposal Provide reader mental image of proposed program/service Graphics (tables & charts) acceptable Limit to 3 pages Essential Information in Program Description Objectives Program description Staffing Evaluation Sustainability

12 Objectives Define program/service objectives
Objectives must be measurable Objectives must be time bound

13 Program Description Detailed description of program (service) from launch to conclusion Provide implementation timeline in graphic format A graphic is helpful to the reader

14 Staffing How many current staff or volunteers are available to staff your proposed program/service? How many new hires will be needed for staffing? Staff qualifications & responsibilities Administrative structure & support (organizational chart helpful)

15 Evaluation Outcomes measurement – Explain how you will measure or assess the outcomes of your proposed program/service. Consider these four categories: Improved life conditions Changed behaviors New skills New knowledge

16 Sustainability Financial provisions post-foundation funding
Underscores importance of a nonprofit having a written fundraising plan

17 Section 4 - Budget (Slides 17-20)
Tips for Constructing Budget Make realistic projections Check math Use graphics when possible Essential Parts to Program Budget Expense budget Revenue statement Budget narrative or justification

18 Expense Budget Calculate salary expenses that relate directly to program/services operations Calculate cost of benefits organization offers staff Calculate non-salary expenses related directly to program Determine if any organizational costs can be allocated to program budget Include overhead expenses (rent, utilities, insurance, etc.)

19 Revenue Statement Explain how program revenues will be generated
Estimate these revenues

20 Budget Narrative or Justification
Typically presented as footnotes to Table or Graph Explain in this narrative budget requests that could be considered unusual

21 Section 5 - Organizational Capacity (Slide 21)
Tips for Writing about Organizational Capacity Establish your nonprofit’s credibility Explain nonprofit’s ability to implement program Limit to 1 page Essential Information about Organizational Capacity History & Mission Explain mission’s correlation with proposed program Provide Current program/services overview Customer profile Board & staff profile

22 Section 6 – Conclusion (Slide 22)
Tips for Writing Conclusion Limit to 2 paragraphs Write “tightly” – edit & edit again Essential Information in Conclusion Make final appeal Reiterate proposed program/service & its need Reiterate “the ask,” stating dollar amount & why funds needed

23 Typical Required Attachments
Copy of IRS 501 (c) 3 letter Current Board of Directors & professional affiliations Operating budget & revenue sources Most recent audited financial statement Key staff resumes Organizational chart

24 For Further Assistance Contact BaiDos Project Management & HR Assistance through our Website Or message Mary Ann at Or call Mary Ann at

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