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An Online Course: Secrets of Winning Proposal

Writing impeccable concept notes and winning proposals has remained a huge challenge in the development sector (NGOs, INGOs) in our context. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, a shortage of funds has become common. More recently, funders are looking for precise concept notes even before the full proposal. Hence it has become mandatory for the employees of the development sector to grasp the pertinent knowledge and master core skills related to the same.

The course intended to provide a strong theoretical foundation of the concept note and proposal writing and enable the participants to hone their writing skills to get their goal accomplished.

This course helped in developing the winning proposal for any projects or programs with the proper guidance from our experienced trainer. This course is also guided to draft the proposal as per the needs and necessities of the project. 

The “Winning Proposal” course was facilitated by Mr. Kushal Pokharel, Independent Researcher and Media Writer.

The course was held for 4 days and it was such a wonderful session for all the participants who wanted to enhance their writing skills. The session started with a general introduction of the speaker and all the participants were asked to introduce themselves one by one. 

The professional part of proposal writing was discussed through this course. The course covered a firm theoretical foundation of the concept note and proposal writing, skills of writing a good concept note and proposal, getting familiar with the challenges of drafting such documents, and developing critical insights on the course content through sample readings, reflections, and analysis. 

According to Mr. Pokharel, Grant Writing Jobs are high on demand in the market which includes Freelance proposal writers & Grant writers, Persuasion and Creativity: Keys to Success, Work for multiple organizations including business and development sectors as consultants and Knack for good research skills always a prized quality for market.

A proposal can be academic as well as business type. It shows the passion for how much you want to do in your respective sectors. If you want to make a winning proposal then your passion and determination should reflect in your proposal. For example, if we are serving the donor community then we should look from the perspective of the donor and write our proposal based on the strategies, vision & mission of the donor. Before writing a proposal, more detailed research on the profile and websites of the donor should be done. Proposals should be written to the point. Proposals should be written in a concisely summarized version of our ideas. Proposal writing should be done formally. The values mentioned in our proposal should be aligned with the value of the donor.

Mr. Pokharel also taught the participants about the meaning & concept of Concept Note, the major steps involved, the significance of Concept Note, Key elements of Concept Note, and tips for drafting a Concept Note. 

He defined the term “Concept Note” as a note written to invite the donor’s attention and initiate a discussion. It is the purpose of a project to the donor before submitting a full application. He also stated that Concept Note ranges from 1 to 4 pages and it defines the core problem, offers a broad outline or strategic approach design to resolve it, and states the general objectives. He explained the importance of the Concept Note. He added that the Concept Note ensures whether the project is in line with the donor priorities (donor’s perspectives). It eliminates irrelevant project ideas from the donor’s side and it provides flexibility for the organization to work or rework on the idea before submitting a full proposal. He discussed various stages of drafting a Concept Note which includes figuring out our Proposal Idea, searching donor agencies and potential funders, and lastly, drafting the note. He said that the title of the Concept Note should be informative and precise, Background should include the importance to address the problems & things that have already been done to resolve the problem. Similarly, General Objectives, Outputs (Tangible and Intangible), Activities & Durations, Beneficiaries & Impacts, Project Management, and Budgets should be mentioned in Concept Note. He also added that the Budget should be included based on a donor’s requirement. He also introduced different ways to write a project summary.

Mr. Pokharel also clearly discussed the meaning of the Proposal, types of Proposal, and Key elements of the Proposal. He defined Proposal as a plan or suggestion, especially a formal or written one, put forward for consideration by others. He said that a proposal is a written offer of product, service, or ideas. He also mentioned the major classification of Proposals which includes Internal & External Proposal, Solicited & Unsolicited Proposals, and Unknown Solution & Known Solution Proposal. 

Along with this; Mr. Pokhrel discussed the common elements of the Proposal i.e. Cover Page, Abstract, Scope of Work or Research Plan, Project Budget and Budget Justification, Direct cost & Indirect cost, Curriculum Vitae of personnel involved in the proposal, and other supplementary information as demanded. He also explained the Format of Proposal Writing. He also showed videos on Common Mistakes in Proposal Writing and other relevant videos about Concept Note, Proposal Writing, and its major components.

The winning proposal course encouraged participants to draft a winning proposal for any program or event, and also provided tips and tactics in drafting the better proposal. Participants got proper guidance from the trainer who has been working in the same field for years and learned to write a better format for the proposal.