Finding funding

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Finding funding

A good proposal is the beginning of the road to success in finding funding for your project. The next step is submitting your proposal to appropriate funding organisations.

Selecting a funding organisation

Funding organisations are of many types; large United Nations backed international organisations for example FAO or UNDP, government aid programmes such as DFID, large charities such as Christian Aid, local non-government organizations (NGOs charities and trust funds. Some commercial organisations and philanthropic individuals are also willing to provide sponsorship.

Nowadays the internet is a very important resource when searching for these funds, as many large organizations have web pages dedicated to their funding opportunities. Below are some examples of such pages. BfD does not take responsibility for the content of the below sites.






There are also some databses that allow you to search for opportunities across many organisations.

Funds for NGOs

Advance Africa

Terra Viva

Which of these organisations and funds you can apply to depends upon your country of residence, and whether you are applying as an individual or are attached to an NGO, a government department, an academic institution or another organisation. If you are attached to an academic institution then check out any grants or trust funds you could apply for. Sometimes there are obscure trust funds, which receive few requests for funding, because nobody knows about them! The bursar at your college/university should know what is available. 

 Approaching a funding organisation

  • No funding organisation can be expected to grasp immediately the value or relevance of every project proposal they receive. Be prepared to explain what you want to do from first principles.
  • Make sure that your project proposal lies within the remit of the organisation you are approaching. Before you submit any proposal you must do thorough homework: find out from the secretary of the organisation the type of project they will assist, their objectives and their policies.
  • Grant-giving organisations usually have a board of trustees who meet at regular intervals (every six months, or every year) to decide how the organisation's funds should be dispensed. For this reason you must be prepared to wait for quite long periods before you receive a decision. Also you must start seeking funding a year or 18 months ahead of your proposed starting date.
  • If for some reason you need funding quickly to overcome a particularly urgent crisis then mark your application 'Emergency Request' (but only if it really is an emergency).
  • Be selective about the organisations you apply to. Do not send your proposal to every address you can find.
  • If a funding organisation issues application rules, follow them very carefully. Provide all the information they require. Answer all their questions. Stick to their deadlines.
  • Do not be secretive. Be straightforward about disclosing the names of other organisations you are approaching, or other funding you have already obtained. It is quite normal, and indeed expected that you will apply to more than one funding body.
  • If you have selected several funding organisations that you think might be interested in your proposal, then do not send your proposal to all of them immediately. Try sending it to one or two first. If you proposal is badly worded or confusing by the time you find out, your chance to improve it will have gone if you have already sent it to everyone on your list.

Monitoring responses

  • Read the replies you receive from funding organisations very carefully. Often they will try to help you to see why your proposal did not meet their criteria.
  • If they do not tell you, do not be afraid to contact the organisation and ask why your proposal was rejected.
  • If your proposal receives a poor response, you must next ask yourself why? Be self critical: Are your plans unrealistic? Are you asking for too much? Is your proposal readily understandable? Does your proposal appear truly worthwhile?
  • Do not be demoralised. If the objectives of your proposal are worthwhile and realistic, you will find funding eventually.
  • If you do receive funding, acknowledge this immediately. Keep the donors informed of the progress of your project and keep in contact with them.
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  • Language English
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  • Author Bees for Development
  • Publisher Bees for Development
  • Published Date October 2016
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