Thinking and planning
Put your pen down and think about the project. Yes, your work is important. Your organization changes lives every day. Schools, soup kitchens, shelters – whatever you do, people depend on you.
But you’re not the only one. What makes you different? Since most of the people reading this are Catholic fund raisers, let’s put it this way – what gift of the Holy Spirit makes you unique? How is that gift an integral part of this project? How does this project advance your ability to serve?
Take a walk around the site where the project will take place. Talk to the staff. If the project is up and running, talk to some of those being served. If you are at another location and can’t be there in person, get someone to send you pictures and do the interviews over the phone or via Skype. Anecdotal evidence, details, quotes – even if they don’t make it into the proposal you need them in your mind as you write.
Now think about the foundation. Does this project fit their criteria? Can you connect their interests with your goals? Do they have someone available with whom you can discuss the project? Have you tried to build a relationship with them? Foundations are major gift prospects – treat them like you would a human being. After all, there are real people on
the other end who will read and discuss your proposal.
Now pick up the pen and begin the proposal plan: Who are we? How does the project flow from our mission? Whose lives will change because of it? Why are we qualified to do it? How much will it cost? From what sources will the funding come? How will we know that we succeeded? What happens next?
You need to answer those eight questions before you begin the next phase.