Topic 1 Fundamental components and required elements

Cover letter

▪First impression of the sponsor/ funding source for the organisation applying for funding

▪First opportunity to attract the sponsor/ funding source’s interest

Executive Summary

▪Objective: brief information (of the reader) about the following proposal.

▪Complete, but brief content

▪Suggested extent: 1 page (maximum)

Need statement

▪Objective: conviction of the sponsor/ funding source for the existence of a real need on which the proposal relies and that the implementation of this proposal is an appropriate and effective investment.

▪A detailed explanation of the steps and stages followed for targeting the funding proposal

Methods/ program design

▪Accurate plan for goals achievement

▪Details and timetable (who, what, when of the assignments)

▪Selection and files configuration, which will be included in the proposal

▪Evaluation of all the files to be included in the funding proposal.

Tip: Many organisations utilise/ hire an external partner for the evaluation process, to get more objective results.

The most important part of a funding proposal is setting goals:

– it determines the success or failure of the application.

– the sponsor/ funding source will judge whether the objectives of the program are achievable.

  • What does S.M.A.R.T. planning mean?

– It is about a method, which allows the formulation of objectives in a clear way.

– Aims for faster and direct results.

– The acronym “SMART” describes the most important features of an objective and stands for the words:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound


▪What do you hope to accomplish/ specific results?

Tip: S.M.A.R.T. Goals, «Smart objectives»

What are they? How do they apply to a funding proposal?

S.M.A.R.T. Goals, «Smart objectives»


it is a general statement of intent, which may not refer to the expected results in a clear, detailed way.


The program will contribute to the reduction of unemployment.   


it refers to the intended results in a clear and detailed way. It matches with the general purpose.


The identification of the individual actions that will contribute to the reduction of unemployment.

The most important characteristics of an objective

  1. Specific
  • General statements are avoided, e.g. “the program will contribute to the development of the local community”.
  • The objective must be associated with a specific number, amount, clear percentage.
  • Thus, the sponsor/ funding source acquires a clear picture of the organisation’s expectations, the deadlines for the implementation of the program and the direct results, clear information of where, how and why.
  1. Measurable
  • Each objective must be achieved within a period of time (reference point), which presents evidence of the quality of the effort that must be done.
  • It is practical to have the ability to record and quantify the progress of the objective e.g. “How much traffic should we get from the email marketing at the end of next month?“
  • Reference statistical data e.g. “After the completion of the program, X (the number of people) will be those who will find a job.”
  1. Acceptable
  • The objective must be entrenched in reality, and not be overly ambitious
  • The organisation considers the resources and capabilities that the community has at its disposal.
  • Useful questions: «Will the project be funded by the local community?», «Will it motivate supporters?»
  1. Relevant
  • Objectives should always be relevant and not contradict other goals and priorities of the organisation, keep pace with the strategic plan and its mission.
  • The objective of the programme should cover questions like: «Why must this programme be implemented?» «What impact will the programme have on the local community?»
  1. Time bound
  • The timeline in which the objective will be completed must be clearly stated.
  • Clear starting point and clear end date (deadlines).
  • Calculation of all activities of the organisation to achieve the objective (advertising, events etc.) and considering the results of previous programs with a similar theme.
  • Recording actions that stand in the way of achieving the objective.



the objectives must be negotiable and flexible, without this meaning that they must be general and abstract. During the program, the data may change and may be needed to redefine the objectives.

Sustainability/ other funding

Contributions in kind (e.g. facilities, equipment, etc.)

Answers to basic clarifying questions “What is the timeline of the cooperation’s implementation? Is it limited or has long-term goals?” “How do you plan to continue funding the project? Is it sustainable over the long haul?”

Information about the organisation Provide a brief history of the organisation (mission, services, etc.)

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Tip: Do not assume that the person reading the sentence knows your background.

Short budget

  • Expected expenses (personnel costs, direct project costs, administrative or overhead expenses)
  • Expected income (income and any additional contribution (e.g. donations)

Additional materials

Sponsors/ funding sources are likely to want to examine the following:

  • IRS letter proving that the organisation does not have significant financial obligations
  • list of your board of directors and their affiliations
  • budget for the current financial situation of the organisation
  • budget for your next fiscal year

Final collapse

▪Binder material

▪Control/ identification and avoiding mistakes

▪It is often required for the documents to be signed and validated by your CEO or Board President

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