Here at Bees for Development we receive many requests for assistance to locate funding. It seems timely to publish more advice on this important topic.
WRITE YOUR PROPOSAL
Whatever you want funding for, you must first of all write an application, usually called proposal. Perhaps you need funding for a beekeeping project: library for your beekeepers’ association; equipment for your co-operative; or funding for yourself to attend a training course, or beekeeping Congress.
Whatever you want to do, you must first write it in proposal.
A clear proposal, showing well thought out and realistic plans can be your key to success.
The following guidelines provide good starting point.
- Provide clear statement of your aim.
- Be concise
- For whom is the proposal intended?
- By whom is the proposal submitted? Include your name, and that of your organisation.
- Date of application.
If your proposal is several pages in length, summarise it here in few sentences.
Give the background to your proposal and the current situation. For example, are you proposing the continuation of previous work, or will this work address new problem?
The objectives are the matters which must be achieved to arrive at the aim stated in your title.
- State each objective in single sentence, in numbered list.
- Be specific.
- Do not present number of objectives strung together in a long paragraph.
Accurately and carefully describe the methods you will use to achieve each objective. You must give clear details. For example, the statement “increase numbers of bee colonies” does not provide enough detail about how you will achieve this.
- Show timetable of events for the project activities.
- Be realistic about how long it will take to achieve the objectives remember beekeeping is seasonal.
Detail all the resources you will need. For example: list of books, number of persons, transport, access to workshop facilities, telephone, computing requirements.
- For each resource list the costs involved.
- If your project extends over more than one year, provide an annual total in addition to the total project budget.
- Your budget can be shown in local currency but provide current (and dated) exchange rate to widely-known currency, preferably that used by the organisation to whom you are applying.
Here you will state all the important outcomes you expect from the activity. You can mention likely “spin-offs” in addition to your main objectives, and any documentation that will arise from the project.
At the end of your application you can attach, as an annex:
- Brief additional information about your organisation and its activities.
- If you are applying as an individual, provide your CV.
- Number the various sections and pages of your proposal.
- Do not repeat the same statements in different sections of your proposal.
- Make sure that you have clearly separated objectives from methods. Do you know the difference? For example
1. Assist with honey marketing.
2. Provide containers for selling honey. Increase consumer awareness of honey.
3. Teach honey filtration techniques.
(1) and (3) are objectives while (2) and (4) are methods by which the objectives could be attained.
- Present typed proposal if you possibly can. However, very neatly presented, hand-written proposals are also acceptable.
- Be ready to prepare many drafts of your proposal before you reach the final document. It must be free from spelling and other typographical errors.
- Use A4 paper (the size of page in this journal) and use one side of the paper only.
- If you are preparing proposal a in language which is difficult for you, try to have it checked by someone who knows the language well.
- State what inputs you, your organisation, or another donor are also providing towards the project: these need not be financial inputs, they could be in terms of labour, or the provision of apiary sites, or administrative assistance.
- Keep your proposal as concise as possible. The shorter it is, the more chance it has of being read! If you must give lot of detail, attach it as a separate annex.
If you are planning to request funds a from particular organisation, contact them before you prepare your full proposal. They may have guidelines, or their own form for applications. They will also tell you what areas they are interested to support.
No grant-providing organisation can be familiar with every activity for which they provide funding. Beekeeping is subject which is often not fully understood or appreciated. You will need to emphasise the importance and value of beekeeping. Do not just copy information from a standard text. Try to give local facts, for example: which sector of your community practises beekeeping, or what are the local products of beekeeping? Which local crops require honeybee pollination, or how will your project affect the local community?
Too often beekeeping project proposals list all the benefits of beekeeping, some of which may not apply. For example, do not suggest royal jelly production if your beekeeping methods and markets are not appropriate for this product.
- If you do receive funding, acknowledge this immediately.
- Keep the donors informed of the progress of the project, and communicate regularly.
- Read the conditions under which the funding was provided. If the donor requires reports, or audited accounts, make sure you provide them in good time.
Why was your proposal turned down?
- Are your plans unrealistic?
- Are you asking for too much?
- Is your proposal readily understandable?
- Does your proposal appear truly worthwhile?
- Read the replies you receive from funding organisations very carefully. Often they will help you to see why your proposal did not meet their criteria. Do not be afraid to contact the organisation and ask why your proposal was rejected.
- If your proposal receives poor response, you must next ask yourself why and be self-critical. Do not be demoralised. If the objectives are worth achieving and are realistic, you will find funding eventually!
The world-wide fundraisers’ handbook
by Michael Norton
1996 270 pages Available from Bees for Development price £15.50 including postage.
A review of this publication was given in B&D42.
A guide to grants, fellowships and scholarships in international forestry and natural resources
edited by Damon A Job
USDA Forest Service, Washington, USA (1995 4th edition)
Obtainable from: USDA Forest Service, USAID Program Co-ordinator, E-mail: /firstname.lastname@example.org
Review of this publication was given in B&D41.