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Writing a Successful Project Proposal by Kathleen Dowd-Gailey

Community-Based Watershed Management, March 2012, Juneau AK. Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition

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Writing a Successful Project Proposal by Kathleen Dowd-Gailey

  1. 1. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO…WRITE A GOOD PROJECT PROPOSAL?
  2. 2. EVALUATE THE OPPORTUNITY• Two categories of consideration:I. Organizational & programmatic evaluationII. Practical considerations and RFP componentsBefore you even begin to prepare a proposal: “You’re starting with No…”
  3. 3. KNOW YOUR ORGANIZATION…• Beware of mission creep! • Does this proposal fit w/in our mission? • Do the goals of the proposal fit w/in our projects? • Be careful not to create a project/program just to try and compete for a grant…• IF it fits with our mission… • Is the project ready to go? • Designs, permits, environment clearance. • Can the organization handle the new project? • Staff capacity?
  4. 4. KNOW THE FUNDER…• Research the Foundation • What have they funded in the past? • What size have most of their grants been? • What are their priorities?• Remember - Foundations are non-profits too!• Build a relationship with the funder • Call with good questions • OK to ask for feedback, not opinions
  5. 5. KNOW THE RFP• Read the entire RFP before starting the application!• Follow all instructions (not just those that are easy).• Understand exactly what is being asked and what the program requirements are. • If unclear call for clarification.• Know what type of funding requests are allowed • Program/project • Admin costs?• Clearly explain your project – don’t assume reviewers know details you haven’t told them…
  6. 6. WRITING THE PROPOSAL• It’s an art, not a science…• Have a compelling story to tell.• Why would the foundation want to fund your organization? • How does it meet their mission, not yours…• ALWAYS have a second person review the proposal (more if possible/needed) • Spell check; fact check; does story make sense?• Letters of recommendation – • ONLY if asked for OR there is a compelling need. • Plan time to obtain • Offer to draft
  7. 7. MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS• The relationship doesn’t end with the ask• An honest relationship is the best• Ask for feedback if proposal isn’t funded• “No” isn’t the end of the relationship – it’s just the beginning!
  8. 8. QUESTIONS?

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