How to Write a Concept Note for Funding

Donor funding; how to write a successful concept note for potential donors. Also find sample concept note for funding & examples of a concept note for proposals.


Template for a Concept Note for Donor Funding

1. Title: it should be snappy, informative, and distinctive. It may be divided into two parts with the first one being short and catching the readers’ attention and the second one more ‘serious’ and informative.

2. Background: it may be composed following two guiding questions: a) Why it is crucial to address the problem identified?; b) What has already been done to solve the problem?

3. Objectives: they should relate to the more general objectives as previously agreed and entered into the local action plan.

4. Outputs: they should be directly related to the project objectives. Typically they are tangible items, such as a newly constructed technical facility, the publication of information materials, or events, such as workshops or stakeholder meetings. Depending on the project in question, intangible items might also be mentioned, such as a rise in awareness.

5. Activities and duration: a summary of the planned activities to achieve the project objectives should be included here.

6. Beneficiaries and impacts: this section will be important for getting “buy-in” from the donor. It should contain: The expected benefits, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, and when and where they will occur; The underlying assumptions and the reasons why these benefits can be expected; for a specific group of beneficiaries; Considerations concerning how and by whom the impacts will be assessed.

7. Project management (includes monitoring and evaluation): this section should explain how the objectives will be achieved and how the project will be managed and evaluated. It should become clear who will lead the project and what roles and responsibilities the various people in charge of tasks such as financial management, monitoring and evaluation will have.

8. Budget (only if requested by the donor agency): before drawing up the budget, it is necessary to get an overview of the inputs needed to achieve the objectives. These may be, for example: people, travel costs, vehicles, equipment, supplies, services, works, facilities and overheads.

Tips for The Development of your Concept Note

  • Do not overwhelm the reader with details, but avoid sounding vague or unsure about what you want to accomplish. Be positive and definite.

  • Consider your audience. In most cases, you will have to write different concept notes for different donors for the same issue. Only when your concept note fits into the framework of the donor, your request will have a chance. Get as
    much information as possible on objectives, “hot topics” and interests of the organisation you are sending the concept note to.

  • Consider your language. If your concept paper is going to be reviewed by scientists in your field, scientific terms and technical jargon may be acceptable. However, if your proposal is being reviewed by generalists or lay persons, this type of language will not communicate your ideas effectively.

  • Only include budgetary information if it is specifically requested.

  • Appearance is important. This concept paper represents you! The type size should be large enough to read easily, and margins should be standard size. Check for spelling errors before submission. Attention to details is important. Number all pages. Place your name and date in the header. Include your contact information with the concept paper.

  • Identify a door opener if you are not writing your concept note for an announced call from the organisation. Sending random concept notes to the general address of an organisation are rarely successful. If you do not know anybody who could introduce you to somebody of the targeted organisation, try to establish personal contact by phone or with in a meeting. Only once you have convinced somebody who supports your concept idea within the donor organisation, you will have a realistic chance with a “wild” concept note submission.

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  • How to Write a Concept Note for Funding | Concept Note PDF Sample & Format PDF - Some Thoughts and Samples in PDF

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