Four key ingredients to obtaining a winning proposal

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Four key ingredients to obtaining a winning proposal

IWORDS supports organizations around the world in their fundraising efforts to develop and fund multi-year programmes in different causes from the social impact space. Our experience working with a wide range of organizations and causes has given us important insights about how to approach a donor, how to co-create a good project between several partners, and, finally, how to engage with donors in a meaningful way.  

In this article we share four key ingredients to obtain a winning proposal and make the words jump off the page! 

Knowing well what donors want:

More than looking for funding, preparing a proposal is about capturing the attention of a potential partner to work together in a meaningful way. Knowing the donor who we are appealing to starts with understanding what the donor’s strategy is, and how we can align our project to the donor’s interests, assumptions, and even values and beliefs. We may have a good project but if the donor is not currently working in a particular cause, country, or with a particular group of people in need, we might be of zero interest as potential partners for a donor. 

Knowing well what our clients want: 

Our participatory approaches in project design are key to our clients. We are both passionate and focused on social impact and innovation when partnering with our clients to design a good project or programme. We squeeze out the essence and the hearth of an intervention through meaningful conversations and eureka moments hand in hand with our clients. Through learning sessions, participatory workshops, and impact design strategies we add energy and great performance throughout the process. In the end, it is about finding the most significant way to tell our impact stories so they resonate with our donors. 

Co-creating a good project: 

Designing a programme can be an overwhelming task, even for partners that know each other for a very long time. We understand that a good project needs to have a clear and inspiring theory of change which demonstrates how the programmes are going to achieve impact in the most cost-effective way possible. Some of our clients are big consortiums formed by several organizations with different backgrounds, from different countries, and with different visions of success for the programme about to be developed. 

That is the reason why our fundraising team supports the building relationship process between organizations and ensures that the people who will benefit from the project (participants or beneficiaries) are at the centre of what our clients do. 

Making the words jump off the page: 

Keeping the reader inspired is what we intend to do with the proposals we design on behalf of our clients. We make sure that the impact stories that our clients share are at the heart of the proposals we design. In the process, we keep inspiring donors with successful proposals which now deliver a wide range of solutions from climate change adaptation strategies in rural Asia to sexual health and reproductive rights of adolescents on the move in Africa.

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