Making science work for development

Fundraising from institutions: preparing winning proposals

26 - 27 March

The key to securing funding from institutions such as the Department for International Development (DFID), the European Commission (EC), Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund is a strong, well defined proposal.

Get expert advice on what institutional donors require, learn how to match your objectives to theirs, and gain practical experience by appraising elements of a proposal, based on a real life case study, from a donor perspective.

Who is it for?

  • People who are responsible for proposal writing.
  • People involved in putting together a funding proposal for donors such as DFID, the EC, Comic Relief's International Grants Programme, or the Big Lottery Fund's International Communities Programme.
  • You may be familiar with international development projects but new to proposal writing, or you may be used to fundraising but new to the institutional donors that fund international development.

What you will learn

  • An introduction to the main institutional donors and how they operate.
  • Key principles in preparing concept notes and full proposals for institutional donors.
  • The terms used by donors and what they mean.
  • How to put together a solid proposal showing what needs to be done and why, how you will achieve your objectives, who you are working with and why the donor should fund you.
  • Next steps to take on your own project proposal.


Day 1

1. Introduction to institutional donors

  • Who/what they are, general trends

2. What makes a winning proposal?

  • Key principles
  • Changing our practice for success

3. Processes for winning proposals

  • Who should be involved and how?
  • Flowcharting as a tool for improving practice for success

4. Project planning and strong proposals

  • How does project planning relate to funding applications?
  • What makes strong project planning?

5. Preparing to work with institutional donors

  • How to keep informed about donor trends
  • Building strong relationships with donors

Day 2

6. Writing for institutional donors

  • Writing style
  • Other ways of communicating your case
  • Evidencing your case

7. Cross cutting issues

  • Sustainability, gender and equity
  • Value for money

8. Using donor feedback to develop your application

  • How to use scoring grids and other feedback methods to write and critique a proposal

9. Go - No go?

  • Decision points - should we proceed with this application?