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NGO Portal is a comprehensive knowledgebase of NGO’s and Non-Profits from India and around the world.
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Grants Management

Concept Note3

Step 4. Outputs (What will have been achieved at the end of the project?)The outputs of the project should be directly related to the project objectives. Outputs may include:

events, such as workshops or harvests

intangible things, like decisions

tangible things, like new buildings

information, perhaps in the form of publications or videos

It is worth spending time with colleagues, partners, and friends brainstorming all the possible outputs, as well as those directly related to the objectives.Key outputs that are achieved during the life of the project may be useful milestones that you can refer to when writing the full proposal.Step 5. Beneficiaries and Impacts (Who will benefit from the project and how?)Brainstorm this section with the design team or other colleagues. Think of all the possible groups who may benefit from project activities and as many different benefits as may occur.Impact is what the donor is "buying." In making promises about the impact of a project, you need to:

describe the benefits you expect, how many of them can be expected, and when and where they will occur.

present your reasoning for why you expect the benefits to accrue to a given group – if necessary, state the assumptions you are making.

consider whether to suggest that the project will have either an impact assessment component or will be assessed by a separate impact measurement project.

Possible beneficiary groups

Poor individuals (age? sex? location?)

Farm families (including dependents)


Poor urban consumers

Other population groups

Benefits also accrue to radio stations, NGOs, and other organizations, but you should play down these (although not omit them altogether) and play up the benefits to partners such as farmers and their organizations who are the poorest and the target of the donor’s development aims.Show impact in terms of the Development Goals, such as:

poverty alleviation

food security

preserving the environment

improved nutrition and health

Develop your own impact checklistWill your project result in:

more education for the poor?

higher family incomes?

better health for poor families?

gender-specific or age-specific impact?

enhanced community participation?

new use of indigenous knowledge?

more public sector accountability?

inputs for improved decision-making?

new food source for the urban poor?

new jobs created?

import substitution?

other economic benefits? Which sectors?

improved child nutrition?

other human benefits?

Important note: Explain how you will measure the above. Impacts that can be quantified are the most impressive, and are more likely to sell your project to the donor.

Step 6. Project Management (How will you achieve the objectives? How will the project be managed and evaluated?)The best objectives in the world can only achieve the desired outputs and impacts if the project can be effectively managed. Your design needs to include a plan covering the roles and responsibilities of the various people who will manage the project. In a concept note you need only to briefly describe who will lead the project and who will be responsible (and when) for the main project tasks including financial management, monitoring and evaluation.

Step 7. BudgetUnwillingness to prepare project budgets is one of the two most common failings of inexperienced project designers. Even top-quality projects will not get funded if their cost estimates are unrealistic, overly greedy, or full of gaps that will cause future delays and frustrations.Budget preparation skills are an essential tool for all who seek funds to implement good science projects.Go back to your list of inputs. Remember to make an allowance (as generous as you have been to yourself) for the budget of possible partners, and to include indirect costs for both you and your partners. If your project will receive funds from other sources (in kind from beneficiaries and partners, contributions from the radio station’s core program, etc.), be sure to highlight these contributions in the concept note and perhaps mention them in the covering letter.Depending on its size, your project may be approved by a donor in the field or at its headquarters. Field approval is usually much quicker and easier to obtain. As a rough guide, you may consider:small: <$100k for 3 years – usually approved at the donor’s country field officemedium: $100k - $300k for 3 years – may be approved at donor’s headquarters large: >$300k for 3 years – approved at donor’s headquartersBe sure to include and label all projects costs, even if you are not asking for money for them in your concept note. It is very important for all parties to understand the true and full project costs, and to avoid hidden expenses.

Important note: Remember that nothing is so frustrating as an under-funded project due to a poorly designed budget. For this reason you should develop a budget which is as accurate as possible to include in your concept note.

Step 8. Background MaterialIn the concept note, organize background material in two sections.1.       Under "The Problem and Why It is Urgent", discuss the project in terms of Development Goals of poverty alleviation, food security, preservation of the environment, and nutrition and health. In this section provide background statistics if available, citing sources, writing in a general sort of style. 2.       Under "What Has Already Been Done", be sure not to focus only on only one organization’s activities. Donors will want you to acknowledge the contributions others have made and are still making – some may be organizations that they are supporting; some may be your proposed partners. (If this is a follow-on project or second phase, describe the outcomes of the earlier work in detail.)

Step 9. Selecting a Good TitleTitles need to be catchy, informative, and distinctive. Try using a two-part title. The first part should be short, snappy, catchy; the second part can be more serious and informative. Test your title out with a few colleagues.Example:

Fishers for the Future: radio listening groups for fishermen and fishermongers in Ghana


Marian Fuchs-Carsch, Consultant, ISNAR Trg. ModuleHelen Hambly Odame (University of Guelph, Canada

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