What Is A Proposal

A proposal is an essential marketing document that helps cultivate an initial professional relationship between an NGO and a donor agency over a project to be implemented.

The proposal outlines the plan of the implementing organization about the project, giving extensive information about the intention, for implementing it, the ways to manage it and the results to be delivered from it.

The Difference between a Proposal and a Concept Note

A proposal is a very important document. In some cases, a concept note precedes a proposal, briefing the basic facts of the project idea. However, the project idea faces a considerable challenge when it has to be presented in a framework.

The proposal has a framework that establishes ideas formally for a clear understanding of the project for the donor. Besides, unless the ideas are not documented in writing, they do not exist. Hence, a proposal facilitates appropriate words for the conception of an idea.


Proposal as a Tool for Competition

Proposals have recently become more sophisticated. This reflects the increased competitiveness and larger resources existing in the NGO sector. The trend of inviting proposals for contracting development programs began with the allotment of substantial resources for development that triggered off the mushrooming of NGOs around the world. Enormous opportunities existing in the sector have led to the trend of making proposal writing a profession. Proposal writing poses many challenges, especially for small and unskilled NGOs. Here, we discuss some basic and necessary information required for developing a proposal.


The Importance of Writing a Proposal

Proposals are important:

  • Because without a proposal, there is no understanding of whatever
  • A donor believes more in a written document
  • Helps planning activities and making budgets
  • Reflects the competitiveness of several NGOs seeking limited resources


The problems we face in writing proposals

Before we start learning about proposal writing, it will serve our purpose if we outline the exact difficulties we face working on the proposal. The following are the common problems we face while trying to write a proposal:

  • Confused about the format?  There are as many proposal formats as there are a number of donors and each donor as a different format. Although the basic information requested by various donors is generally the same, yet we often encounter snags that make the entire process confusing.
  • Planning problems? Although a good idea exists, yet when we try to plan it out extensively, we face many unexpected challenges.
  • Fear of proposal rejections? No matter how much of an expert we are in writing proposals, the underlying fear of proposal rejection hovers over us while writing it.
  • Tight deadlines? This is perhaps the most universal problem for all proposal writers. For some reason or the other, we are expected to complete working proposals under very tight deadlines.
  • Solicited and unsolicited proposal? Solicited and unsolicited proposals are quite confusing. Many NGOs work hard and submit proposals to donors, but soon they get a letter saying that they had never asked them to send.