© Independent Living Institute
Independent Living Institute,
Storforsplan 36, 10 tr
123 47 Farsta
Tel. 08-506 22 179
Disability Awareness in Action
Resource Kit No. 5
by Agnes Fletcher
© 1996 Disability Awareness in Action, All rights reserved
As a fund-raiser, you must make sure your application fits what you know about the funding agency and make your application very easy to understand.
In drawing up your first few funding proposals, it may help to ask someone who has experience in preparing plans and costing, even if this experience isnt related to disability organisations.
Always apply in writing, not by telephone or in person.
If there are any requests for further information, respond quickly.
If you are successful, its very important to thank the funding agency for their help. You may be re-applying to them for something else in the near future.
Build Your Relationship With the Funder
Its also worth keeping in touch, telling your contact with the funding agency about the progress and success of the project they are funding or any problems that arise. Keep to any reporting date deadlines. A fully informed funder is more likely to consider further support.
If you are not successful, it may be worth asking to speak to an administrator and asking for advice on what was wrong with your application. Funding agencies get an enormous number of requests and are not able to fulfil them aII. Advice from someone on the inside might help you in the future.
Letter of Inquiry
Your first letter should be made up of the following pieces of information.
|Your organisations name, address and telephone details
Address of funding agency
I am writing for information on the possibility of funding assistance for a project that we have identified.
The project is concerned with (give title or brief description of the project idea, including its objectives, expected activities, outcomes and estimated budget needs].
We would be grateful to know if your organisation would consider providing technical or financial assistance for such a project If so, how should we apply for the necessary assistance? Please provide us with the relevant application forms, if there are any.
Should you not be in a position to help us, we would be grateful if you could recommend other organisations that may be interested in our proposal.
What to Put in a Proposal
Only send a full funding proposal if it is called for in the agencys application guidelines or it is asked for. If an agency asks you to follow a specific format, always do so. If it doesnt specify what should go into the proposal, you can safely follow this outline:
Tell Enough But Not Everything
You do not have to tell everything about each subject. Provide just enough information to adequately describe each section and no more. If you put too much in, the person reading the proposal will get lost in minor details and miss the important points. After your proposal is written, read it over very carefully. Identify any unnecessary sentences and paragraphs and get rid of them.
There are very few places in your proposal where it is appropriate to make elaborate general statements, other than perhaps in describing the long-term goals and philosophy of your organisation. The rest of the proposal should be in specific, plain and simple language. Otherwise, the person who reads your proposal may not know what you are talking about.
QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED BY YOUR FUNDING PROPOSAL
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Amount requested from funding agency||____||____||____|
|Amount from all other sources||____||____||____|
Name of Your Organisation
What is the organisations guiding philosophy? Keep this short.
What are the most important events in the history of the organisation? Just mention really important achievements or changes in direction.
Describe the results or impact of activities. Where possible, support claims of impact with statistics or other evidence. Summarise the results of any previous evaluations of the organisations work. A very good way to convince a funder that your organisations projects are well-managed is to give evidence that you have evaluated past projects.
You might want to include a few quotes from beneficiaries, community leaders or experts familiar with the work of the organisation, as well as statistical evidence of achievements. Mention any honours, awards or special recognition received.
Describe the paid and volunteer staff: numbers of people, their job titles and responsibilities if it is a small staff; departments or divisions in a larger organisation; and geographic location of staff if the organisation has several offices.
Show your organisations involvement with any other local, regional, national or international organisations, including both governmental and non-governmental groups.
Describing the Project
In this section you let the funding agency know why the project is needed. They may not be experts in disability and may have little or no idea of just how hard life is for disabled people.
You need to let them know about the situation you are trying to improve and the project you think will do this. An outline of what this part of the proposal might look like is given below.
How many disabled people in how many regions or provinces are affected? What kinds of disabled people are they - rural or city dwellers, men, women, children, older people? Support what you say with evidence from government reports or statistics, studies by non-governmental agencies, universities, or recognised experts. Name your sources.
What are some of the consequences of the problem? For example, if you are concerned about levels of education, describe economic and social consequences.
You can use the experiences of your members and staff as sources of evidence when describing the problem.
Goals and Objectives
Different people have different definitions of the words "goals" and "objectives". Many use "goals" to talk in a general way about the situation they would like to develop in the long-term. For example: "Full participation and equalisation of opportunities for all disabled people is certainly not a situation that exists now, nor is it likely to exist in the next few weeks, months or even years! It is a goal that we are all working towards.
The goal of your organisation might be "to gain full participation and equalisation of opportunities for all disabled people" in your local area. You can then measure any activities undertaken by your organisation in terms of that overall goal.
"Objectives" often describe what you hope to happen in the short-term. These are milestones on the way to long-term goals. Objectives need to be specific. An objective should state:
Objective: to ensure literacy for ten disabled women within two years.
Describing Your Plan of Action
Your plan of action is a description of the stages you will go through to reach your objectives. It is important to make clear, both to yourself and to the reader, the reasons why you have chosen these particular stages. In other words, you need to explain the "strategy" (or philosophy) you are following that led you to decide on these stages.
You should show the cost-effectiveness of the project and how it can continue after the grant ends. For instance, you are cost-effective because you use volunteers or other local resources. You can continue because income-generation is part of the project.
You need to make sure that your project meets the standards set by the funder For example, if the funder wants evidence of development and your project is about self-help, you need to explain the relationship between development and self-help. Funders dont always have experience of what you are trying to achieve. They may not know why your project fits their standards unless you tell them.
It is a good idea to point out what is special or unique about your project and how it could be a model of excellence.
Explain any significance your plan of action has for the future; for cost benefits and benefits in quality of life resulting from training in independent living.
Project: training in independent living skills.
Long-term benefits: raised quality of life, employability, social participation.
Timetable of Activities
Describe very briefly the major activities that will occur during each year of a multiple-year project. This schedule should include times when major capital expenditures will take place.
Explain who will have overall responsibility for directing the project.
Describe the responsibilities of others involved in the project (use job titles not their actual names) or groups of people (both paid and volunteer). Be brief! This information will explain your budgeted about for salaries.
Be sure to mention if any special community, professional or other advisory committee for the project will be set up and explain what it will do.
A timetable generally shows what jobs will be carried out during each month of the project year. This is done on a chart with a line for each task to be performed and a column for each month, marking the months during which the task is carried out along the line for that task.
Below is an example of a timetable for an independent living skills training project.
|Plan training course||X|
|Buy equipment and materials||X|
Include in the timetable all the planning stages for all activities. This might include:
Explaining Evaluation Methods
Monitoring is keeping a record of something; observing and recording an activity or performance as you go along.
Evaluation is judging the value or effectiveness of something and usually happens at the end of a particular project or process.
Monitoring is useful for evaluation. Funders like the fact that you are looking at your project in a professional way. An evaluation also gives you useful information for any future plans.
When writing about your evaluation and monitoring methods you could follow the outline given below.
For example, if one objective calls for reducing illiteracy among older disabled people by 30 per cent after one year, the results will be measured against this standard.
Say what data or facts you will collect for your evaluation.
Decide how you will collect and record the data needed for your evaluation;whether to use questionnaires or interviews. Will the data be collected as part of the ongoing business of the project? Who will collect the data?