Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

The Who, What, When and Why of a Project Plan

BColour
 
Author: Bianca Williams

 

In preparing to apply for funding, the importance of a Project Plan is imperative – one could argue, the make or break of a successful application. Though your organisation may have an eloquent business plan, marketing plan or budget forecast in place, having a detailed plan for individual projects will ensure your project meets Funders’ eligibility guidelines, and allow timely access to relevant program-specific details. A Project Plan is a must for all winning grant applications, and makes the grant writer’s job easier too, as it provides all of the project information consolidated into one resource....at your fingertips, ready to use in your application!


WHO is responsible?

Within your organisation, numerous stakeholders should contribute to creating a project plan, however the best person to coordinate and record the information is whomever oversees the grant application process. This empowers them with the experience and knowledge of the relevant information they need to submit a quality funding application.
Stakeholders who may contribute to the project plan include your finance department (to supply budget details), program delivery staff, collaborating industry partners, research/ study groups and those who will benefit from the project.


WHAT should the project plan include?

As much project-specific information as possible! This will provide the grant writer ample information to produce a compelling, relevant and strong application.
Typically, your project plan should include the following information:
• What the project aims to achieve;
• Why the project is needed (and evidence to back this up);
• Who will benefit;
• How the project will be completed, including a realistic timeframe;
• How success will be measured and evaluated; and
• A detailed budget

WHEN should the Project Plan be created?

As soon as the Project is ready to be funded....and before you start the funding application!
Preparation and thorough detail is needed to produce a quality project plan – allow yourself plenty of time to coordinate relevant stakeholders, obtain supplier quotes, receive information from external partners and research/ gather data.

WHY do I need a Project Plan?Franklin

For the best possible chance of success – you must qualify each project to the funding opportunity. Having a Project Plan at the ready, you can determine that the project meets the eligibility criteria and guidelines, is able to achieve the funders desired outcomes, provides a case based on evidence and is best placed to meet reporting requirements of the Funder.

A Project Plan establishes the eligibility of a project before resources are committed to the task of writing an application.

Once eligibility is established, a detailed project plan will provide the application writer a full picture of the project. From one resource; relevant, factual and current information is available to produce a quality grant application.

As the saying goes 'By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail' (Benjamin Franklin).

A well-developed Project Plan is simply the best way to qualify your project, and prepare a quality grant application.