Donations are the lifeblood of charitable organizations. To secure funding and other resources for your charitable organization, it is essential to understand the approval process for project charters from the donor's perspective and to master the art of responsive proposal writing. This step-by-step guide will show you the key elements that charitable donors search for in determining whether a project charter is viable and responsive to the donor's "Request for Proposal "("RFP"). Furthermore, this guide will illustrate critical mistakes to avoid during the writing and submission process to maximize the potential that a donor will give due consideration to your project charter.
Things You'll Need
- Contact information for the potential donor
- Request for Proposal (RFP) from the potential donor
Conduct thorough background research on your potential donor before writing the project charter. Access the donor's website to gain information on the donor's purpose, to investigate previous projects approved by the donor and to determine whether the donor engages in the type of assistance that your charitable organization requires for the particular project.
Contact the potential donor. Direct contact with the potential donor establishes personal relationships with people who might influence the project-selection process. You can also gain additional information on the donor's purpose or the donor's funding patterns.
Analyze the Request for Proposal (RFP), and follow its guidelines when framing your project charter. A donor's RFP will inform you of the length and content requirements for a project charter and will explain the relevant deadlines and procedures to follow for submitting the proposal. Following the RFP guidelines is the best way to ensure that your project charter will be considered by the potential donor.
Set an internal organizational timeline to meet milestones required to finish your project charter. Creating proposal milestones will increase accountability for each component of the project charter and will ensure that you meet the RFP submission deadline.
Develop a resource allocation scheme for your project charter that explains how you will deploy your organization's personnel, funds and expertise to actualize your project. Illustrate that your organization is equipped and competent to responsibly and effectively implement the donor's resources to fulfill the project.
Incorporate a tracking system into your project charter that will measure the impact of donations on that particular project. Tracking systems need not be complex, but they should quantify the relationship between a donor's input and the project's desired outcome.
Compose multiple drafts of your proposal. After each draft, consult an objective third party outside of your organization to critique your project charter for clarity and conciseness.
Maintain a cordial relationship with your contact person within the donor's organization. Send a thank-you letter to follow up a project charter submission. Sustaining a personal relationship with the donor after submission might be what distinguishes your organization's project charter from other proposals.