How to write a donor funding proposal

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Donor funding proposals are used for soliciting funds from donors. The ability to bring donors on board depends on the quality of a funding proposal. It is therefore imperative to understand the donors and identify what they look for when making decisions.

What Donors Look for in a Funding Proposal

Writing a donor funding proposal should be preceded by an analysis of the donor to understand theirDonor funding proposal writing Nairobi Kenya expectations. The analysis should also involve a careful scanning of the environment to provide good arguments for convincing potential donors.  The following four elements comprise the features that donors look for in a proposal.

1. Transparency in Accounting Processes

Donors are sceptical about the utilisation of project’s money. Developing an effective donor funding proposal requires emphasis to be put on convincing the donors that sound accountability mechanisms are in place to ensure funds are used appropriately. The proposal should show how each cost centre is contributing towards realising the overall project goals. Fraudsters masquerading as non-profit organisations create irrelevant activities within the project which are used to misappropriate the project’s resources. It is therefore vital to convince donors that every penny allocated to the project is used in activities that support the overall project goals.

2. The Impact and Relevance of the Project

Donors are only willing to fund a project whose outcomes are identifiable and measurable. Non-profit organisations aim at addressing a need it the target population that makes it necessary for a funding proposal to focus on explaining the need/problem and how investment in the project will create a solution to the identified problem. The proposal should detail the evaluation systems to be used for assessing the project’s impact. In line with proving the relevance of the project, it is important to be conversant with other organisation engaging in similar activities and identifying their shortfalls. As a result, donors can understand the project’s relevance and impact as goals are now clear.

3. Organisational Capacity

Donors seek to ascertain that the organisation can solve the concerned problem. When preparing a funding proposal, a section describing the organisation should be included. Information about internal resources and key personalities should be provided to present the organisation’s competency in implementing the project. Past achievements and the profiles of leaders should be provided.

4.Project Viability

Donors seek to establish the feasibility of a project when making funding decisions. It is therefore important to prepare a donor funding proposal that affirms that the project is feasible. Proving the project’s viability involves explaining how practical it for the project actualise its goals in light of constraints such as resources, time, and other bottlenecks stemming from the environment.

Donor funding/Grant proposal template (What to include in in a funding proposal)

1.Cover Letter

A cover letter accompanies grant/donor funding proposals to introduce the project to the audience.


This part is written after completing the plan, and it contains an overview of the other sections of a plan.  It, therefore, provides information about the organisation, the problem statement, project goals, implementation plan, and the project evaluation.  It is a critical section as it explains the entire proposal in a nutshell. Most readers go through the summary to avoid reading the whole document.  This part should, therefore, be concise to ensure the potential gets a deep understanding of the project by only reading the summary.

3.Organisational Information

Describing the concerned organisation in a funding proposal is a necessity. Donors seek to understand institutions seeking funds clearly to ensure it can implement the project.  Giving details about the past accomplishments is critical to convincing the donors that the institution has a reliable track record that aligns with the current project.   It is also important to describe the human resource capabilities to portray the organisation’s ability to implement the project.  Information about the location and essential relationships is also provided.

4.Problem Statement

A donor funding proposal should identify the problem. Donors are only willing to finance a project that addresses specific issues facing society.  A thorough situational analysis is carried out to determine the cause and the outcomes of the problem. The analysis provides hard facts to show that the problems warrant implementing a project.

5.Project Goals

This section involves identifying what the organisation will implement to solve the identified problem.  The anticipated outcomes are described objectively to help the donors comprehend the importance of their intervention.

6.Implementation Plan

A grant/ donor funding proposal should describe the actions that will be taken to realise the specified goals.  Also, the project’s timelines are given to show the time needed to accomplish specific milestones.  Besides, staffing needs are identified showing the competencies required linking them directly to the project goals.

7.Project Evaluation

Information the yardsticks for evaluating the project success are determined and a clear description of how they will be used in assessing the project provided in this section.


This section of a donor funding or grant proposal shows the continuous funding of the project. Most donors are attracted to sustainable projects which make it necessary for institutions seeking funding to identify revenue streams that will continue financing the project after the initial investment.


The budget section of a funding proposal identifies the key cost centres and gives actual figures.

10. Appendix

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