Preparation is Everything! How to Write Winning Proposals?

Preparation is Everything! How to Write Winning Proposals?

A proposal is a request in the form of a written document that describes a programme or project for which an individual or organisation is seeking funding to support. The proposal is essentially the business plan for the proposed project. It provides answers to the fundamental questions of any programme or project; why, who, what, when, where and how. Most proposals require the same or similar information. In some cases, the donor agency will provide some guidelines on the type of information that is required, but for the most part, their requirements have been standardised.

Funding opportunities from International NGOs, Donor Agencies and Foundations are generally accessible to CSOs. These types of opportunities are given to CSOs to support programmes that benefit the public. Such grants usually fall in the category of but are not limited to, education, health services, governance and elections, community development and women’s empowerment. To receive a grant, an individual or organisation must submit a request, which is called a proposal.

Proposal writing is an essential skill that all civil society activists and organisations must have to become financially sustainable, influential and impactful.

Over the years, WACSI has designed and delivered training and follow-on support on proposal writing. In order to make the institute’s experiences more accessible, WACSI with the support of CIVICUS has developed some online material that provides information about components of a winning proposal, the importance of developing a theory change, practical tips and red flags to avoid while writing a proposal.

These online resources will help an activist and organisation to get prepared and win a grant.

Title Source
How to Write Effective Grant Proposals
Theory of Change
Elevator Pitch
Major Proposal Writing Tips
Red Flags to Avoid in Proposal Writing

Writing a proposal is a challenging but rewarding process that begins with an idea that morphs and evolves to completion. From our experience, the most important step is to determine whether there is an actual need for the solution you are proposing. Knowing and understanding the actual needs of those you seek to serve is the sound foundation upon which every winning proposal is built. Preparation is everything!


NOTE: Opinion expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the West Africa Civil Society Institute

About the author

+ posts


Leave your comments