Writing a project requires people to spend time in understanding what is expected by donors who want to fund the project, deciding on the ideas of a project in consultation with the organization and other interested parties/stakeholders, deciding on the budget with interested parties/stakeholders and finally writing project proposal. In a three-part article written by broken chalk concerning the requirements of how to write a project proposal for EU projects Broken chalk made various suggestions on how to write a project proposal. Through this article, we will provide applicants with a brief guide on how what they should be doing before they start writing a project proposal for any project be it in the European Union or not.
Understanding what is expected by donors who want to fund the project:
Before applicants begin to write the project they must have a thorough understanding of what is expected to be written as a part of the project proposal by donors. This is our experience in Broken Chalk.
To illustrate this we would like to provide an example of a project which is posted on the grants and tenders section of the European Union. The project that the Broken Chalk is working on is a project titled “Conditions for the successful development of skills matched to needs”. There is a description of the project on the funding and opportunities page of the EU website. We went through the various annexes of the general EU guidelines as well as the call document to understand the needs of the EU donors for the specific project.
Applicants need to ensure that they need to go through various documents, again and again, to ensure that they have a precise understanding of the needs of the donors who in the case of the project that the Broken Chalk is pursuing is the European Union.
Deciding on a concrete idea for the project:
Before starting to write a project applicants should take time to decide on a concrete idea for a project. The broken chalk is in the process of seeking ideas from its volunteers, interns as well as people in the organization responsible for project management on the project titled “Conditions for the successful development of skills matched to needs”.
It is suggested to the applicants that they consult as many people as possible and make a note of as many ideas as possible with many people so that there are options from which the best possible option can be selected. When selecting the best possible option for applicants should consult with the board of the organization so that the viewpoint of the organization is represented in the formation of the idea of the project. Consultation with the board will be especially useful in a situation where no other members of an organization are willing to contribute to various ideas.
Budgeting for a project:
Once an idea has been agreed upon then it is strongly recommended that applicants start budgeting for the project. Budgeting is the idea that there must be an account for how much will be spent on what items of the project.
Applicants must remember that the process of budgeting is not as simple as just including the costs of a product. Therefore, they must keep adequate time in hand to ensure that there is a proper account for the items on which they would like to spend. The project idea should drive the costs of the project that is budgeted. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that applicants have a concrete idea in mind and it is agreed upon with the board of the organization before starting the process of budgeting. There is also a need to have an understanding of the top line support budget that the EU or other institutes have to offer so that the idea takes this factor into consideration.
When budgeting for a project for the EU or other financial institutions there is a need to consider both personnel and direct costs of the project. Personnel costs take into consideration the cost of employing people. e.g. salary of people. Direct costs take into consideration the costs of the project. For example, if a massive room has to be built to teach students then the project costs should include the cost of building material such as brick and steel. The budgeting of the project ideas must at least 90% of the time account for contingencies as well as overhead costs. Overhead costs refer to costs of operating a business minus the direct costs. Contingencies are supposed to be utilized during the case of any emergencies. All of these costs (contingencies and overheads only when needed) need to be accounted for and only then should be sent to the European Union. As a rule, 10% of the overall costs and 5% of the overall costs are dedicated to overhead costs and contingencies respectively.
It is recommended that applicants send the budget estimate of the project in the form of a Microsoft Excel document to donors whether in the European Union or elsewhere.
For posts on how to write EU projects refer to:
Written by – R.Aniruddh