How to Write a Project Proposal for Funding

Funding Proposal Writing

Effective writing of funding proposals is always been a meticulous and intricate act, an intellectual challenge!

More you cook your words within the script, more it gets potency. Actually, effectiveness is either the denomination of doing right things or discarding the surplus.

The impression of your proposal, analysis based on facts, planning & management of resources and commitment to the quality workout ensure the life of the relationship between writer and donor.

While writing a proposal, here is the sketch for writer’s orientation:

Writing Funding Proposal for Business Project
Table 1: Sketch of Writing Funding Proposal

Note: Without the appropriate idea, necessary research and suitable plan, one can’t start writing the funding proposal.

The detail of each of the above-mentioned points is described as below:

Why writing a proposal?

Visualize a clear image of the reasons you are going to write for. Ask yourself a few questions: whether you really need the funds or not; will you justify the funds; how much amount you actually need; how you’ll convince the donor (foundation/company/person) to provide you with the necessary amount and the basis for your relationship with the donor. After self-assessment, you’re well oriented about what you’re going to do, writing of financial proposal in an effective way.

To whom, one is to write?

For enhancing the capital for business or project, one is to require a lot of funds. There are several sorts of agencies, you can write to. The following table will make you clear about the funding agencies:

Type of AgencyAdvantagesDisadvantages
  • Increases the overall impact of your project/business.
  • Less affected by policy issues.
  • Offers a lot of money.
  • A lot of processing time.
  • The application procedure is ambiguous and much complex.
  • Funding is often delayed.
Small Corporation
  • Well defined agenda.
  • Invests in the local project.
  • Personal PR matters to get funds.
  • Limited funds.
  • Limited interests.
  • No personal links result in no gain.
Large Corporation
  • Professional and accessible staff.
  • Provides a massive sum of money.
  • No hidden agenda.
  •  Very sensitive to anything that may alienate the other stakeholders.
  • Wants direct representation on board.
Small Foundation
  • The most flexible
  • Forms a relationship and commitment to the organization.
  • Easy process.
  • Staff is not professional up to the mark.
  • Offers a small amount.
Large Foundation
  • Shares international experience.
  • Provides a large sum.
  • Professional staff
  • Well defined and clear process to apply.
  • Priorities may change as per time.
  • Lengthy application.
  • Processing time is too long.

Choose the donors

You’re writing the proposal for technical experts or decision makers. So, the proposal must be persuasive and technically well compiled. You’ve already gone through the donors but the selection of the most suitable donor matters a lot.

While choosing the donor, following points are quite useful:

  • Name of donor, address, telephone, fax number and email address.
  • Goals, missions and concerns of the donor.
  • Amount of grant, the donor may provide you.
  • Limitations and Guidance announced by the donor.
  • Deadlines provided by the donors for the consideration.

Similarly, each and every donor expects the following things from you:

  • Authentic information, knowledge and understanding regarding you.
  • Credible evidence about the success of your project in which you’re going to invest the money.
  • Sort of problems in the specified region you may face in promoting the donor.

Know yourself

This simply means your clear image about the project to the donor, self-assessment! By admitting the fact – things are not going to happen in a sole night, you’ve to order your activities in a systematic order. This also assists in building the organizational capacity. The act of knowing yourself can be accomplished by following steps:

Writer’s identity

Above all, it’s important to know that writer’s identity means the identity of the organization because one organization is writing for seeking funds. It includes:

  • The overall goal and mission of the organization.
  • Logo of the organization must display a visible and meaningful identity.
  • The complete biography i.e. competency, experience and community links of your staff members whether professional or non-professional. It also indicates the human resources of an organization.
  • Backbones of your organization going to work on the project.

SWOT analysis

This analysis works as a tool which analyses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which may further affect the business or project. According to SWOT analysis:

  • Strengths: Committed and experienced staff, professional working space and outcomes of your organization.
  • Weaknesses: Conflicts and deficiency in technological skills.
  • Opportunities: What kind of works the organization can perform effectively.
  • Threats: Variation in the focus of donor.

Track record

Track record shows your reliability towards donor. It is just like an evidence of your previous workout. It includes:

  • Previous outcomes and impacts.
  • Professional and technical competence in working fields.
  • Previous successful strategies and good financial management skills.
  • Reliable management competence with regard to people and project.

Project plan

One phrase is enough to answer this i.e. “What can we get money for?” This is all about strategic planning and action planning the organization is going to opt for the project. It must reflect context, objectives and process. Likewise:


Depending upon the project, common points you need to know about the context are mentioned below:

  • Domicile i.e. country, region and details of the area.
  • The economic state of the country.
  • National conflicts and issues of the region.
  • Health and educational status.


By objectives, we mean the outcomes and beneficiaries at the completion of project or business. Objectives are mainly classified into two main categories; one is generic and other is specified. Generic objectives are often related to the overall efficiency of the organization while specified objectives are related to peculiar project or business. These explicitly can be summarized as below:

  • The overall objective of the organization must provide an accumulative goal.
  • The specified objective must provide an immediate goal to the business.
  • It helps in clarifying your agenda and strategy for the development of the goal.
  • It also measures the possibility of success in the project or business.
  • It develops the framework to compile the project process.


It is the step-by-step planning towards the destination. A process must contain the following core point for the successful achievement of the target:

  • Clearly define your actions.
  • Decide the venue for the project or business.
  • Announce the timeframe i.e. starting and ending dates.
  • Calculate the human resources.
  • Identify the inputs.
  • Mention the outputs.
  • Setup a plan for monitoring of the project development.
  • Evaluate the whole mentioned process.
  • Introduce the timely improvement (if necessary).

Proposal Structure

It’s the most important part of the financial proposal written for business and project. While writing the contents of proposal’s structure, you must keep in mind the word – CROP. It is comprised of the Context, Relevance, Objectives and Process. This helps in visualizing the whole minor and major components of business or project. The main structure consists of the followings:

  • Title page
  • Summary page
  • Page of contents
  • Main body of the proposal
  • Discussion and conclusion
  • Appendices
  • Bibliography/References

The following table will clearly explain the above-mentioned bullet:

Bullet TitleContentExplanation
Title Page
  • Title of proposal
  • Title of the agency to whom you are writing this funding proposal
  • Logo, name and address of the concerning agency
  • Name of designated person who is being expected to read the proposal.
  • Date
The title must reflect the essence of the whole business or project in the minimum possible words.

It must not be so long.

 Summary PageIt must display the summary of the proposal.

It varies from proposal to proposal. Generally, It must be 1/3 of the whole discussion regarding project or business.

To cast the clear image of your proposal within the summary, following points are of vital worth:

  • What the current scenario is
  • How your organization tackle the problems at its expert level
  • Why this way to go
  • What sort of impact you are going to achieve
  • Beneficiaries of the whole project or business
  • Timeframe

The fixed and variable costs

Page of Content Outline Enlist all the main components of your proposal and do numbering as per their pagesIt aids the writer to find out the content of interest without the wastage of time.

It costs positive impression on the reader as well.

Main body of the ProposalHere is the use of word CROP – Context, Relevance, Objectives and Process.

  • Context as discussed above. It should not more than a page.
  • Relevance is the specification of project or business according to the mind of the donor. It’s must be half a page at least.
  • Objectives as stated in above section. Additionally, you have to clarify your beneficiaries. It should be on one page.

The process is planning to do this all. It must be of 4 to 5 pages.

Keep in consideration the followings:

  • Context should be short enough and based on facts and figures.
  • Explain the way of finding the solution of a question related to your project and how you’ll identify the opportunities.
  • Mention the general and specified objectives.
  • State the indented process for the whole activity.

Moreover, you can also direct the reader towards the appendices for the further details. Discuss both the degree of flexibility and sustainability of project or business in case of addressing some problems from both ends.

Discussion and ConclusionIt involves the discussion and conclusion regarding the question – why do you need money?

Must address the financial details and required the budget.

Conclude in an effective way to make a good impression.

The specific details of the budget must be mentioned in appendices.

 Appendices It is comprised of the detail technical descriptions like the timetable, annual reports, financial statement and detail of budget etc. This is the place where you provide the additional, essential and comprehensive details without making the proposal so long.
Bibliography/References In this section, mention all the references related to business or project. All the references should be in proper order as per their usage in the text. Enlist all the credible and reliable references for the donors to restore trust.

Order of sections

Its pivotal purpose is to make you well-guided about the order of sections of the proposal. In other words, it will aid you in making funding proposal structurally correct and credible.

  1. Donor’s confidential (Name of donor, address, phone, email & fax)
  2. Business title/Project title
  3. Summary of funding proposal
  4. Table of contents
  5. Background
  6. Objectives (Both general and specified)
  7. Process (Resources, inputs & outputs)
  8. Conclusion
  9. Budget Summary
  10. Appendices
  11. Bibliography/References
  12. Writer’s confidential (Name, address, phone, email & fax)

Do(s) and Don’t(s)

It is actually the set of points based on the personal experience of expert proposal writers. If you’ll follow them, it will help you make your proposal well compiled. Have a look at them:

  • Develop your contact with a person to whom you’re sending the funding proposal. He/she is supposed to respond back.
  • The minimum crisis should be related.
  • Identify those who are also working in your concerning field.
  • Let expert amend your proposal.
  • State acronyms meaningfully.
  • Be polite while writing.
  • Pitch of tone should be impressive.
  • Bake your words within the proposal so that, the proposal may not exceed 8 to 10 pages as the total.
  • Expose your sense of responsibility and care.
  • Try to compile a single generic proposal for all kind of funding request. Because it varies according to the nature of business or project.
  • Use a lot of jargons.
  • Do sugar coating the budget.
  • Hiding the important information which is expecting from the donor.
  • Attachment of many documents. It offends the reader and he/she mostly closes the proposal before going into the depth of the proposal.
  • Make the proposal is contrary to the donor’s specification or merit criteria.


Useful tips can be classified into two main categories: Writing tips and Layout tips. We’ll make you able to go through both of these.

Writing tips

  • Try to write for a non-technical reader.
  • Use simple English.
  • Avoid making lengthy sentences.
  • Construct the sentence in an active way than a passive way.
  • Your proposal must be grammatically true.
  • There should be no spelling mistake.
  • Revise and rewrite as per situation (if necessary).
  • Avoid exaggeration and overlapping.
  • Repetition must be avoided.

Layout tips

  • Always use the understandable font like Arial.
  • Present your text in headings and subheadings.
  • Highlight or bold the important notes.
  • Place the nominal gap at edges, among the lines and between the words.
  • Text colour should be black.
  • Don’t mess the text.
  • Do numbering of the pages.
  • Bind the document in the correct order.

Follow up

Till yet, you’ve structured the financial proposal for your business or project. Is it the end? Definitely, No! It’s the beginning. After submitting the proposal, two types of follow up can be observed at the professional level: Follow up the proposal and follow up grant. It forms the strong basis for the good customer-client relationship. While going for the follow-up, the writer must be pleasant, polite and persuasive enough to make the reader comfortable to read.

Follow-up Proposal

After the successful submission of the proposal, if you are not being replied within the expected time, you always follow up your proposal to know the status. To follow up a proposal, one may simply write an Email or Letter. Following are the most common reasons for following up:

  • To check whether the proposal is meeting the selection criteria or not.
  • To know whether it is accepted or rejected.
  • When will final notice be issued about the proposal?
  • To discover the causes of acceptance or rejection.

Follow-up Grant

After the successful approval of your funding proposal, you may write to follow up the grant which is going to be issued to you as per request. It also displays the open doors of the donor for you. Now, you can follow up as:

  • To pay regards and thanks for fruitful response by the donor.
  • To keep the bilateral communication open at all times.
  • To update the donor about the usage of funds.
  • To report the donor about the recent progress.
  • To ensure them that funds are being utilized as mentioned in the proposal.
  • To invite the donor to your event as your honourable guest. It really works!
  • To make them feel reliable.

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