Grant Writing & RBM: Process and Tools

by Dr. Mahbub Hasan


  1. What is a Grant Proposal?
  2. Why are grant proposals developed? 
  3. What are the standard components of a grant proposal?
  4. Process in developing a grant proposal
  5. Result Based Management (RBM)
  6. Writing Components of a grant proposal
  7. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
  8. Project Learning and Results Dissemination 
  9. Work Plan
  10. Project cost and Budget
Dr. Hasan welcoming European Commission’s delegates to visit a good governance project in Bangladesh in 2007.


A grant proposal is an idea and a dream where community aspirations are communicated with funders by an agency or community group. Our communities have various assets, but sometimes they need external support to address the pressing and immediate needs of the community members. This chapter will focus on defining a grant proposal and when and why you should write it. This blog post will describe key elements of a grant proposal and how to write it logically using result-based management. This blog also explains how to create a project budget and work plan, by sharing an example of a request for proposals and a written grant.

1. What is a Grant Proposal?

grant is a sum of money given to an agency or individual to address a problem or need in the community. The written document that one prepares to request or apply for this money (funding) is a grant proposal (CommunityToolbox). A grant proposal is an expression of partnership to work together on common interests and achieve common goals. This document briefly explains community issue/needs, how the issue affects community members, and provide the rationale for why the issue should be addressed through collaborative efforts with the community.

A grant proposal communicates how this funding will make a positive change in people’s lives. Grant proposals are prepared as per the funder’s guidelines, including a description of the desired interventions or community change initiatives, inputs and resources -both financial and technical support required for the community initiative. Some funders may provide only financial support, some may provide in-kind support (such as technical expertise needed), and some funders/agencies partner with local agencies and community groups for community initiatives. For example, agencies like United Way Greater Toronto and ActionAid International provide both financial and technical support for community initiatives or projects. Agencies such as Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) Canada and City of Toronto provide grants to community agencies and groups for their project. An agency like VSO International provides technical support to community initiatives by placing volunteers. 

Where might you find postings of Calls for Proposals

• Web sites for individual government agencies and foundations

• Newsletter circulated by NGOs networks

• Advertisements on social media and newspapers

Grants are competitive!

Winning a grant is challenging because many agencies submit their unique project ideas for community change. Usually, a funder has specific amounts of grants disbursement in a particular year or a period. A funder cannot fund all projects. For example, while working as Program Officer of Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) in Bangladesh in 2005, our office received 54 grant proposals from local agencies. Most agencies wanted to address critical community issues and submit their project proposals. However, we had to select only 11 proposals for funding. Our team lead was the Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh. Our team initially selected 17 unique project ideas submitted by the agencies, and then we created Project Approval Document to present to the High Commissioner. Finally, we selected 11 projects for funding through a consultative process. Some key considerations for selection were:

  • whether the initiative will address pressing community needs
  • project location
  • whether the project is logically organized
  • if the project goals are  aligned with CFLI,
  • project inputs and budget are relevant and consistent with project goal and objectives
  • community engagement strategies
  • how the project activities will be monitored and results will be evaluated
  • organizational capacity to successfully complete the project

2. Why are grant proposals developed?

In the community/international development sector, agencies and groups work with the community to address emerging issues, build community assets, enhance harmony and collaboration, and socio-economic, cultural, and spiritual development. In doing this work, Community/International Development (CD) workers continuously dialogue with community members, identify their challenges and needs, and develop an action plan. In an agency setting, CD practitioners share ongoing community needs and aspirations with their program and resource mobilization team. They jointly develop a formal proposal and seek support from funders such as government agencies, private organizations, trusts, and foundations with similar interests and mission mandates. 

When is a grant proposal developed? 

As a Social Worker, you may plan to submit a proposal for a new initiative or ongoing project that might need additional resources to achieve the goal. Usually, the funders announce calls for grant proposals where donors state their mission, priorities, amount of grants, eligibility for recipient agency and criteria for the community initiatives, what activities will be funded, and timeframe for proposal submission. A grant proposal creates a partnership between two like-minded agencies that have similar interests. In this partnership, one will be directly involved with the community and will implement a project to achieve desired goals set by the community. At the same time, another will provide financial and technical support to the implementing agency to achieve community change. 

Who develops a grant proposal?

Writing a grant proposal is teamwork. A grant proposal has various components such as a statement on community needs/issues, project description, project implementation, and community engagement strategies and budget. As a CD Worker, you should have the knowledge and skills to develop a grant proposal. In this regard, you must collaborate with your colleagues with specific skill sets such as communications, creative writing, project management, human resource, and financial management. Your teamwork will increase the probability of winning in this competitive process.  

3. What are the standard components of a grant proposal?

• Statement of the Problem / Needs Statement

• Project Description (goals and objectives and methods/activities)

• Evaluation Plan

• Budget Request and Budget Justification

• Applicant Qualifications 

• Future Funding Plans / Plans for Sustainability

• Appendices (Work plan, Audited Financial Report of the Agency, Annual Report, Agency Policies etc) 

 Source: Community Toolbox

 How do you prepare a winning grant proposal? 

• Following all directions

• Well-organized proposal sections that are integrated and easy to comprehend

• Well researched and documented statement of the problem

• Statement of the problem or need in a way that explicitly addresses the funder’s priorities

• Creative or innovative strategies for addressing the need

• Feasible goals and objectives

• Measurable objectives

• A sound evaluation plan

 Source: Community Toolbox

4. Process in developing a grant proposal

Successful grant writing is a bottom-up approach. You should engage community people (who are directly or indirectly impacted by the community issues)in this process. Remember, community people are the experts and have first-hand experience with the issue and needs. As CD workers, our role is to capture the community voice, including needs and aspiration, and transform it into a community initiative. 

After identifying the issues through community consultations, our next step would be gathering relevant statistics, relevant research reports, and recent news stories from mainstream media, both electronic and print media such as newspapers and television. Funders want to hear a compelling story about the community by sharing their voices, concerns, and aspirations. To explain a community issue and its urgency for support, we should provide facts from recent statistical reports, research reports, and news stories. Identify community assets and resources that will be utilized to address the community issue. Most funders want to see what community resources will be utilized.

Understanding the grant call and requirements is the most critical step in the grant proposal writing process. You should review funders’ websites, their vision, mission, priorities, and guidelines for the specific grant call you are interested in applying to. Most funders organize orientation sessions to discuss their priorities and funding guidelines. You should join such a session to gain more deeper knowledge about the grant call. Your participation in the orientation session may help you for building a network with funders and develop a partnership. You can contact the funder for clarification about guidelines.   

Community engagement in every stage of the project cycle is an essential indicator for winning a grant proposal. So ask the community how they want to contribute to the project cycle, such as planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. It is our responsibility to explain the project cycle to the community and share how they can participate and provide leadership in the community initiative. One of the ways to engage the community in the project/initiative is to recruit project staff from the community. Of course, the staff has the required skill sets and experience to perform the tasks. We can always build staff capacity through ongoing training and mentoring. Recruiting volunteers is another way to engage the local community with your initiative. Your project should plan how many volunteers you need to recruit, what skill sets are required for performing the volunteer roles, and how the volunteers will be appreciated. 

While developing a grant proposal, you should discuss it with local agencies and gather their perspectives on the community issues. Collaboration with other local agencies will make your grant proposal stronger, and sometimes is a requirement of the grant. Collaboration may mean that local agencies write a ‘letter of support’ for your grant proposal application. As well, you can obtain letters of support for your project from local elected representatives and administrators who are interested in working on the issues.

Finally, ensure that your agency has an updated website with a clear and unique vision, mission, values, principles, and program and project details with stories. These should be outlined in your strategic plan. Your agency should have updated financial information, audited reports, and annual report. Your agency should have updated policies such as human resources, administration, finance, Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. 

5. Result Based Management (RBM)

Canadian Government agencies often ask for a project’s Result Based Management framework. This RBM framework allows funders to understand whether the funding developed logically, how the project will be implemented, and how its progress and achievements will be measured.


Result Based Management (Concepts and Terminology module 2)

What is Results-Based Management?

The aim of Results-Based Management is to improve management throughout a project and a program life cycle: from initiation(analysis, project planning and design),to implementation(results-based monitoring, adjustments and reporting), and to closure(final evaluations and reports, and integrating lessons learned into future programming). By managing better, you can maximize the achievement of results, that is, the positive changes you set out to achieve or contribute to with your programs or projects (Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.8)

According to the Global Affairs Canada, Results-based Management RBM means:

  • defining realistic expected results based on appropriate analyses;
  • clearly identifying program beneficiaries and designing programs to meet their needs;
  • monitoring progress towards results and resources [utilized] with the use of appropriate indicators;
  • identifying and managing risks while bearing in mind the expected results and necessary resources;
  • increasing knowledge by learning lessons and integrating them into decisions; and
  • reporting on the results achieved and resources involved.

(Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.8-9)

The aim of Results-Based Management is to improve management throughout a project and a program life cycle: from initiation(analysis, project planning and design),to implementation(results-based monitoring, adjustments and reporting), and to closure(final evaluations and reports, and integrating lessons learned into future programming). By managing better, you can maximize the achievement of results, that is, the positive changes you set out to achieve or contribute to with your programs or projects (Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.102-103).

Results-Based Management and the Theory of Change

A theory of change explains how an initiative is expected to produce its results. The theory typically starts out with a sequence of events and results (outputs, immediate outcomes, intermediate outcomes and ultimate outcomes) that are expected to occur owing to the [initiative]. This is commonly referred to as the “program logic” or “logic model.” However, the theory of change goes further by outlining the mechanisms of change, as well as the assumptions, risks and context that support or hinder the theory from being manifested as observed outcomes (Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.13)

The theory of change is a fundamental part of managing for results. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat describes it as follows:

Every program [and project] is based on a “theory of change” – a set of assumptions, risks and external factors that describes how and why the program [or project] is intended to work. This theory connects the program’s [or project’s] activities with its [expected ultimate outcome]. It is inherent in the program [or project] design and is often based on knowledge and experience of the program [or project design team], research, evaluations, best practices and lessons learned

(Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.12)

Theory of change reinvigorates the analytic roots of Results-Based Management, emphasizing the need to understand the conditions that influence the project and the motivations and contributions of various actors. When Results-Based Management is properly applied, project design is based on a thorough analysis of the issue and the context in which it exists, which informs an evidence-based solution to the issue: the theory of change (Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.12)

Global Affairs Canada’s results chain

Global Affairs Canada’s results chain is divided into six levels. Each of these represents a distinct step in the logic of a project. The top three levels—ultimate, intermediate and immediate outcomes—constitute the actual changes expected to take place. In the context of development, these are also referred to as development results. The bottom three levels—inputs, activities and outputs—address the means to arrive at these changes (Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.15)

Within the results chain, each level of outcomes is very distinct, with clear definitions of the type of change that is expected at that level. These definitions, along with the definitions for inputs, activities and outputs, are defined below (Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.15).

RBM Frame Work:

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.20

Defining Results Chain

  1. Ultimate outcome– Change in state, condition or well-being of beneficiaries/project participants

The highest-level change to which an organization, policy, program, or project contributes through the achievement of one or more intermediate outcomes. The ultimate outcome is known as Project Goal. An ultimate outcome reflect changes in the lives of women, men, girls and boys in the partner country. For example:

  • Enhanced economic prosperity for the poor, particularly women and youth, in country X
  • Increased food security of food insecure populations in region Y of country X
  • Reduced suffering in communities experiencing acute food insecurity in country X

An ultimate outcome usually occurs after the end of the project, but should, when feasible, still be measured during the life of the project as changes may occur earlier. Once the project is over, the achievement of the ultimate outcome can be assessed through an ex-post evaluation.

Source: Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.16-17

b)     Intermediate outcomes – Change in behaviour, practice or performance

Intermediate outcomes articulate the changes in behaviour, practice or performance that intermediaries and/or beneficiaries should experience by the end of a project. For example:

  • Increased use of business development and financial services by micro enterprises, particularly those led by women, in province Y of country X
  • Improved use of essential maternal health services, including those related to sexual and reproductive health, by women in village Y of country X
  • Improved provision of gender sensitive and rights-based antenatal care to pregnant women by health professionals in region X

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.16-17

c) Immediate outcomes – Change in capacities

Immediate outcomes represent the first level of change that intermediaries or beneficiaries experience once implementers start delivering the outputs of a project.

For instance, “Increased knowledge of antenatal-care practices by health professionals in region X” may result from the outputs of “Training on antenatal-care practices provided to selected nurses and midwives” and “Mentorship program established for trainee nurses.”

Immediate outcomes articulate the changes in capacity that intermediaries and/or beneficiaries should experience during the life of a project. For example:

  • Improved business skills of urban women and youth in city Y of country X
  • Increased knowledge and skills in developing, ratifying and/or implementing legal instruments among personnel in organization X in the countries of region Y
  • Enhanced access to improved water and sanitation facilities for women of reproductive age, newborns and children under age five in rural areas of country X
  • Increased ability of health workers to address the nutrition challenges of women and children, especially girls in county Z

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.17

d)     Outputs – Products and services

Output: Direct products or services stemming from the activities of an organization, policy, program or project.

Outputs are the direct products or services stemming from the activities of an implementer. For example:

  • Community volunteers (f/m) trained to disseminate key messages on essential nutrition and hygiene actions in village Y, X, and Z of country X
  • Training on responses to sexual and other forms of gender-based violence provided to field investigative teams (f/m) in province Y of country X
  • Water and sanitation facilities built/refurbished in rural areas of country X

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.18

e)      Activities

Activities: Actions taken or work performed through which inputs are mobilized to produce outputs.

Activities are the direct actions taken or work performed by project implementers. Activities unpack an output into the set of tasks required to complete it. There can be more than one activity per output. For instance:


Output: Training on responses to sexual and other forms of gender-based violence provided to field investigative teams in province Y of country X


  • Develop training curriculum and materials for field investigative teams on the prevention of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence
  • Deliver training to field investigative teams on the prevention of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.17-18

f)       Inputs

Inputs: The financial, human, material and information resources used to produce outputs through activities in order to accomplish outcomes.

Together, inputs, activities and outputs represent “how” implementers will work to achieve a project’s expected outcomes.

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.19

Completed RBM Logic Model Template:

Fill out the logic model template using the outcome and output statements you’ve developed during your brainstorming sessions.

*Note: In the context of this project, gender sensitive is defined as: gender sensitive awareness campaign, training materials, and programs that are designed based on gender analysis to promote equal roles for women and men in healthcare (e.g. women and men as doctors and women and men as care providers); to challenge gender stereotypes and biases that lead to discrimination and harmful practices (e.g. boy preference, sexual abuse/harassment, gender-based violence); to support the rights of women and girls in health decision-making, particularly in sexual and reproductive rights; and to promote equal participation of, and benefit to, women and men (girls and boys).

Outputs and Activities Matrix

Immediate Outcome 1110Improved equitable access to clean drinking water for women, men, girls and boys in region Y.
Output 1111Wells built in community X, in consultation with local stakeholders, especially women as primary water managers in the community.
Activity 1111.1Undertake gender sensitive consultations with community members, especially women
Activity 1111.2Prepare well construction plan
Activity 1111.3Conduct geological survey and water testing.
Activity 1111.4Procure construction materials and equipment.
Activity 1111.5Contract construction firm.
Activity 1111.6Facilitate community oversight of well construction.
Output 1112Existing wells of region Y rehabilitated using gender equitable participatory approaches.
Activity 1112.1Conduct water testing.
Immediate Outcome 1120Increased ability to maintain wells among female and male members of community water collectives in region Y.
Output 1121Training on well maintenance developed and delivered to female and male members of the community water collectives in region Y.
Activity 1121.1Conduct project management gap analysis with male and female community members and gender equality and environmental technical advisors.
Activity 1121.2Design training and handouts.
Activity 1121.3Deliver training.
Activity 1121.4Evaluate course.
Activity 1121.5Conduct ongoing mentoring with selected male and female community members.
            Output 1122Technical assistance provided to community water collectives of region Y for the sourcing of parts from local and regional suppliers.
Activity 1122.1Research suppliers.
Immediate Outcome 1210Improved equitable access to health facilities for women, men, girls and boys living in region Y.
            Output 1211Regional health centres in region Y rehabilitated and equipped.
Activity 1211.1Conduct needs assessments with health centres’ staff.
Activity 1211.2Prepare procurement plan.
Activity 1211.3Implement procurement plan.
Activity 1211.4Prepare rehabilitation plan.
Activity 1211.5Implement rehabilitation plan.
            Output 1212Gender sensitive awareness campaign on the availability of health services in newly rehabilitated health centres conducted.
Activity 1212.1Develop messaging. [Remaining activities removed for the purposes of the How-to Guide.].
Immediate Outcome 1220Improved skills of local health centre male and female staff in gender sensitive triage, diagnosis, and primary healthcare in region Y.
            Output 1221Gender sensitive materials for skills development programs and on-the-job coaching on triage, diagnosis and primary healthcare developed.
Activity 1221.1Conduct project management gap analysis with regional government staff and gender equality and environmental technical advisors.
Activity 1221.2Design gender sensitive training slides and handouts.
            Output 1222Gender sensitive skills development programs and on-the-job coaching on triage, diagnosis and primary healthcare provided to male and female staff in regional health centres.
Activity 1222.1Deliver gender sensitive training sessions to female and male staff.
Activity 1222.2Evaluate training sessions.
Activity 1222.3Conduct ongoing mentoring with selected male and female staff.

6. Writing Components of a grant proposal

How to write a grant proposal: a step-by-step guide

Blog Source:

A grant proposal has critical components, and you must answer the following questions to make your grant proposal. You will get instructions for the word limit. You are required to create short paragraphs to write each section. Please do not forget to answer all questions in your shorter paragraphs under each section.

Situation Analysis

To write this section (1), you should conduct situation analysis. Problem Tree analysis is important tool/method for situation analysis.  

Problem tree analysis

The problem tree is one of the methods used most frequently at Global Affairs Canada—although staff and partners may choose to use others. This is a visual situation analysis tool that enables its users to break down a very complex issue into its components, and then to examine and explore the cause-and-effect relationships between these components. It enables users to identify potential reach (intermediaries and beneficiaries), activities, outputs and outcomes for a project and gives users an idea of other key stakeholders and how they relate to and experience the issues. As such, it is particularly well suited to supporting the articulation of a theory of change and the development of a logic model.

Its key steps are:

  1. Identify the core problem(s).
  2. Identify the causes and effects.
  3. Note the relationships.
  4. Review the problem tree.
  5. Create a solution tree.

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.69

Problem Tree Analysis

How to Use a Problem Tree Analysis (VEELE Winter 2022)

In a problem tree, the trunk represents the core problem(s), the roots represent the causes of the core problem and the branches represent the effects.

A solution tree is a diagram that translates selected elements of the problem tree into a rudimentary theory of change.

Once the first four steps of problem-tree exercise have been completed, compare the findings to those findings of other exercises, such as program/portfolio review and donor mapping, and budget and organizational priorities, to determine which elements of the situation the project will attempt to address. Next, develop a solution tree for the selected elements. For each selected negative statement, the solution tree should contain a corresponding outcome statement, and output or activity statement.

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.69

Stakeholder mapping

Stakeholder mapping is another tool used during the situation analysis stage. Stakeholder mapping enables the design team to identify key stakeholders—including intermediaries and beneficiaries—their relationships to each other, and their level of interest in, and influence over, the issues at hand.

Stakeholder mapping can be done as a separate exercise or as part of the problem tree exercise. Key questions to ask for every issue explored are:

  • Who owns this?
  • Who controls this?
  • Who decides this?
  • Who is responsible for this?
  • Who has the power to change this?

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.70

Project Participants/Stakeholders

  • Who is directly affected by the issue?
  • Who is indirectly affected by the issue?
  • Who is (community groups) currently working with/connected with the affected population?

Stakeholders include beneficiaries, intermediaries, implementers and donors as well as other actors:

Beneficiary: The set of individuals that experience the change of state, condition or well-being at the ultimate outcome level of a logic model. In its international assistance programming, Global Affairs Canada-funded implementers usually work through intermediaries to help achieve changes for beneficiaries. Global Affairs Canada implementers may also work directly with beneficiaries. In this case, beneficiaries may, like intermediaries, also experience changes in capacity (immediate outcome), and changes in behaviour, practices or performance (intermediate outcome).

Intermediary: Individual, group, institution or government, that is not the ultimate beneficiary of the project, but that will experience a change in capacity (immediate outcome) and a change in behaviour, practices or performance (intermediate outcome) which will enable them to contribute to the achievement of a sustainable change of state (ultimate outcome) of the beneficiaries. Intermediaries are often mandate holders or duty bearers that are responsible for providing services to the ultimate beneficiaries. They are the entities that implementers work with directly.

Private firm, non-governmental organization, multilateral organization, educational institution, provincial or federal government department or any other organization selected by Global Affairs Canada to implement a project in a partner country. Depending on the context, an implementer may be referred to as an implementing organization, executing agency, partner or recipient.
Donor: Global Affairs Canada or another donor organization that provides financial, technical and other types of support to a project.

Other Stakeholder: An individual, group, institution, or government with an interest or concern, – economic, societal or environmental – in a particular measure, proposal or event.

Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016, p.8

Project Description

In this resection, you should create RBM logical template and describe each section. Please see section/topic. Funders usually expect that you provide an RBM template and describe your project idea in a compelling way within 1000 words. The project description is the critical section where you logically share your plan and theory of change. Here is some tips to write this section:
· How do you plan to address community needs utilizing community assets and capacities?

· Demonstrate that each project objective is SMART (i.e., Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-specific) and therefore credible.

· Use activity/action words: facilitate, conduct, deliver, promote, train, provide, repair, etc.

· Under each objective, briefly describe specific activities that relate to the objective. 

· Your project objectives and activities must be based on Community Development Principles and Elements.  

· Detail why your proposed strategies and activities are unique and innovative and will effectively respond to the community’s needs.

Describe alignment between community needs, agency involvement, and funder’s priorities 

· Outline your agency’s vision, mission, experience, and priorities in dealing with the issues in the neighborhood and project participants

· Demonstrate community development and resident engagement expertise and knowledge of your agency regarding the local community

· How does your request reflect the priorities of the funder? 

The theoretical basis for the interventions 

· Your project activities, objectives, and goals should be connected to at least one or two Community Development theories (e.g. Systems Theory, Anti-Oppressive Practice, Indigenous Worldviews, etc.). We have discussed some theories in this resource book. 

· Create a diagram on the theory of change. This will make your grant proposal unique, and it will get the attention of funders. This basis of your theory of change should be your RBM.   

Project Organization

In this section, you should highlight some key points such as:

a)     How will the proposed project be implemented? Outline your human resource plan (number of project staff and volunteers who will be engaged in the project). Please allocate staff and volunteer costs in the project budget.

b)     Create a project organogram to show human resources for project administration.

Do not forget to review the funders’ website and priorities and match it with your project goals and ideas. Moreover, use keywords, terminologies, and facts used by funders which will help you to show alignments between your project and funders’ priority.

Community Engagement

Most funders are interested in how you plan to engage the community in every stage of the project cycle, i.e., from project inception to closing.

Shared ownership

Whether your project focuses on international development, humanitarian action, advancing democracy or international security, stakeholders must have a voice in decision-making and the project must make an active effort to meet their specific needs. In other words, the project must be “based on shared ownership of decision-making.”In the context of development, participatory approaches came into practice in “response to ‘top down’ approaches to development, in which power and decision-making [was] largely in the hands of external development professionals” (Global Affairs Canada, p.25)

Involving the appropriate people

Taking a participatory approach means that the design team[1] should ensure that all key stakeholders—including intermediaries and beneficiaries, both female and male—are involved and consulted throughout the project’s life cycle, from planning and design to implementation, monitoring and reporting. While a participatory approach usually requires a good deal of time and resources during the project planning and design phases, this approach yields enormous and sustainable benefits over the long term (Global Affairs Canada, p.25)

Allocating appropriate time and resources during the project life cycle

Appropriate time and resources should be allocated to ensure that all key stakeholders are involved in planning, joint monitoring, evaluation and decision-making throughout the project life cycle (Global Affairs Canada, p.25).

Using the appropriate methodologies

A participatory approach can be facilitated through many different methodologies. Project teams should choose those most appropriate to the context in which they are working. Whatever methodologies are selected, it is vital that expected outcomes and indicators be developed through a consensus building process involving all key stakeholders. Any methodology chosen must also encourage equitable and gender sensitive participation (Global Affairs Canada, p.25)

Why is a participatory approach important?

A participatory approach increases effectiveness

A participatory approach is integral to the success of managing for results and increases the chances of achieving and maintaining expected outcomes. Here are three reasons to use a participatory approach.

a)      It expands the information base needed for realistic project planning and design.

Results identification and assessment hinges on comprehensive information collection. Bringing together the project’s key stakeholders—including intermediaries and beneficiaries—will help ensure that their knowledge, experience, needs and interests inform project design. This is essential for obtaining information about local, cultural and

socio-political contexts, and about other practices, institutions and capacities that may influence the project, thus ensuring a more realistic project design (Global Affairs Canada, p.26)

b) It encourages local ownership and engagement.

Close collaboration and participation of beneficiaries, intermediaries and other stakeholders during both the design and implementation phases increases the likelihood that outcomes will: reflect their needs and interests; be relevant to, and realistic for, the local context or situation; and be monitored on an ongoing basis. It creates a sense of ownership of the project and its expected outcomes (Global Affairs Canada, p.26)

c) It makes achievement of the expected outcomes and sustainability more likely.

When beneficiaries and intermediaries are fully engaged in the design, implementation and monitoring (including data collection) of a project, the expected outcomes are more likely to be achieved in a sustainable fashion. In other words, participation increases ownership of the results achieved and makes it more likely that local people will continue to be active agents in their own development (Global Affairs Canada, p.26)

In writing Community engagement section, you should focus on the following points: 

  • Demonstrate how the project participants, such as low-income residents and other equity-seeking groups, will be involved and participate in the project. 
  • Explain methods used for community involvement, engagement, participation, and empowerment (avoid “clientizing” community members).
  • What strategies are you using to build power in the community?
  • What steps will you take to try and ensure the project is sustainable?

Integration of Gender Equality, Environmental Sustainability

  • Gender equality results are fundamental to program effectiveness, as it ensures that women and men receive the tailored support they need to achieve similar outcomes. Global Affairs Canada’s Gender Equality Policy for Development Assistance Objectives
  • To advance women’s equal participation with men as decision-makers in shaping the sustainable development of their societies
  • To support women and girls in the realization of their full human rights, and
  • To reduce gender inequalities in access to and control over the resources and benefits of development


Women Empowerment:
§  Women’s empowerment is central to achieving gender equality.
§  Through empowerment, women become aware of unequal power relations, gain control over their lives, and acquire a greater voice to overcome inequality in their home, workplace and community.

Source: Global Affairs Canada, p.27

7. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)

Monitoring and evaluation have always been fundamental aspects of good project and program management. In project management, the term ‘Monitor’ means to collect performance data with respect to a plan, produce performance measures, and report and disseminate performance information (PMI, 2013, p.546). And Monitor and Control project work means the process of tracking, reviewing, and reporting the progress to meet the performance objectives defined in the project management plan (PMI, 2013, 546).

Monitoring & Evaluation Plan for NGOs | An Introduction


Results-based monitoring: “… the continuous process of collecting and analyzing information on key indicators and comparing actual results with expected results in order to measure how well a project, program or policy is being implemented. It is a continuous process of measuring progress towards explicit short-, intermediate-, and long-term results by tracking evidence of movement towards the achievement of specific, predetermined targets by the use of indicators. Results-based monitoring can provide feedback on progress (or the lack thereof) to staff and decision makers, who can use the information in various ways to improve performance “(Global Affairs Canada, p.24).

Evaluation: Evaluation is the systematic and objective assessment of an on-going or completed project [or part of], programme or policy, its design, implementation and results”. “In the development context, evaluation refers to the process of determining the worth or significance of a development [initiative]” (Global Affairs Canada, p.24).

Results-based monitoring and evaluation require collecting data on outcomes, along with critical thinking and analysis. They both aim to provide information that contributes to learning and can help inform decisions, improve performance and achieve better results. Results-Based Management is a continuous process of collecting and analyzing data on indicators and using these data to assess progress on or towards the expected outcomes. It provides information on, and evidence of, a project’s status at any given time (and over any given time) relative to targets for outputs and expected outcomes at all levels: immediate, intermediate and ultimate. It is descriptive in intent, in that it assesses whether change is happening. In comparison, results-based evaluation provides in-depth evidence to support a specific purpose, such as learning or accountability, or sometimes both, at a specific point in time (Global Affairs Canada, p.23).

Here are few questions and tips for creating your monitoring and evaluation section:  

· How will you recognize if you are running a successful project?  

· Determine how you will monitor your project (planned activities vs. progress and corrective actions). 

· How will you measure your program outcomes? (planned objectives and results/outcome and project goal)

· Describe types of documents (i.e., attendance, meeting minutes, etc.) and systems (excel database) your agency will use to record data and assess progress. 

· Describe methods (i.e., survey, case study, interview, Focus Group Discussion, etc.) that will be used to evaluate project outcome/results.

8. Project Learning and Results Dissemination 

Describe how project achievements and lessons learned will be shared with United Way and relevant stakeholders (other neighborhoods, agencies, policymakers).

How will your agency collaborate with UW in sharing best practices?

Demonstrate the capacity to act as a local convener/issue leader.

9. Work plan

The purpose of the work plan is to provide the Funder with information regarding the key activities and timelines for your project (Government of Canada, 2022). While an organization often relies on a detailed work plan for project management, for the purposes of your proposal you are encouraged to only include the key activities that have a direct impact on the project objectives. It should not include all the administrative steps your organization will take to deliver the project, such as the tasks necessary to hire a project coordinator or related to reporting on your project. If your project is approved for funding, the eligible activities you include in your proposal will be included in your funding agreement with the Funder and in all subsequent reporting. Only providing key activities and related sub-activities will limit the burden on your organization throughout the project lifecycle (Government of Canada, 2022).

The key activities you propose need to:

  • be realistic in terms of project duration and funding available
  • be listed in a chronological order
  • be well-defined and linked to project objectives and deliverables or outputs
  • include timelines that are feasible and reflect the requirements of the activities being proposed
  • include information to demonstrate how the project outcomes will be sustained beyond the duration of project funding
  • include the involvement of partners or stakeholders, if applicable

Compare the activities to your budget to ensure you have the resources required to carry-out the project activities.

Consult the Activities section for more information on eligible and ineligible activities.

Eligibility criteria:

  • The application is complete. The work plan is complete.
  • The proposed activities are eligible and consistent with the objective of the call for proposals.
  • The proposed activities seek to alter, reorient or connect the elements of a system in order to accelerate systemic change.

Assessment criteria:

  • The application provides a clear description of each activity.
  • The application demonstrates how the activities are relevant to the project objectives.
  • The application provides clear and feasible timelines that are aligned with project activities.
  • The application demonstrates how the project outcomes will be sustained beyond the duration of the project funding.

Source: Government of Canada, 2022.

10. Project Budget

The project budget is an estimate of all the funds needed to carry out the activities of the project. Budgets are broken down into individual lines that are determined by what the funder wants to see and the actual costs of your project (e.g. staff salaries and other project administration cost).

  • Do not put any ineligible costs under the funder’s column. 
  • Please see a budget template in Appendix .

Every project, no matter how big or small, involves costs. It’s very rare to have endless piles of money at the ready, so having a planned budget for a project is a must. As the project manager, you’ll be accountable for sticking to the budget, so you need to be sure it’s right (Australian Institute of Project Management, 2022).

What is a project budget?

How to Create a Project Budget – Project Management Training

A project budget is the total estimated cost of completing each project activity over each phase of a project. It’s important as it helps set expenditure expectations and is critical in getting project approval, ensuring funds are ready at the right time, and measuring performance. It’s a dynamic document, continuously monitored, reviewed, and updated throughout the project (Australian Institute of Project Management, 2022).

What are the components of a project budget?

Project budgets contain all the costs associated with the project. It generally includes:

  • Labour costs: employee wages, benefits, payroll taxes, and overheads.
  • Material procurement costs: goods, services, equipment, and supplies needed for the project that come from external providers.

Project Title:

Duration of Project:

Start date: (April 1 or the effective date of this agreement, whichever is latest) (YYYY-MM-DD)

Project completion date (YYYY-MM-DD)

Allowable ExpendituresOrganization Carrying Out the Project (Financial/In Kind)From FunderOther Source of FundingTotal Project Funding
Direct Delivery Expenditure    
1. Salaries and benefits Please include the hourly rate associated with each of the team members, and a breakdown of how funds will be apportioned to each individual.   Example: Project Coordinator: 1 Project Coordinator, 100% working time on project, annual salary $60,000 (including mandatory employement-related costs)        
2. Travel expenses   Please include the proposed location of travel, and the purpose of the travel, (conference, workshop, etc.), the estimated costs of each trip, and a breakdown of how funds will be apportioned (plane ticket, meals, accommodations, etc.)   Example: Project Coordinator: 6 trips (Ottawa-Montreal) for workshops, train tickets 6 X $114 ($684) + Travel expenses 6 x $90 ($540) = $1,224      
3. Telecommunications* Example: Internet and telephone, $2,100/year X 5% X 6 = $630   *This item could be treated as Administrative cost depends how funder categorize it.      
4. Contractual services Please include a list of services that will be contracted.   Example: Translation services for outgoing communications for 12 days per year, $700/day X 12 X 6 = $50,400      
5. Materials and supplies Example: Supplies for meetings with external stakeholders for the 6 workshops, $150 X 6 = $900      
6. Rentals (includes equipment and meeting rooms)

Please include a list of items that will be rented and the purpose of the rental. Example: Rental space for the 6 workshops, $400 X 6 = $2,400  
7. Other (Please specify)
Example: Refreshment during the 6 workshops, $475 X 6 = $2,850
Advertising space for 6 runs = $1,200    
Administrative Expenditure    
Indirect administrative expenditures (up to a maximum of 15% of the total direct Project expenditures, i.e. items 1 to 7 above)*   Example: Executive Director, 3% working time on project, annual salary $90,000 X 3% X 6 years = $16,200   Example: Accounting, 13 days (i.e. 7 hours), 15% working time on project, $90/hour X 13 X 7 X 15% X 6  = $7,374   Example: Photocopying and printing, $960/month X 10% X 6 = $576   Example: Office space of the organization, $15,600/year X 5% X 6 = $4,680        
TotalTotal AAATotal BBBBTotal CCCTotal A+B+C

* E.g. Indirect administrative expenditures may not to exceed $6,521.75 for a $50K project.


  • Compare your budget and work plan to ensure all expenses including human resources and materials required to deliver each activity are included. Expenses not clearly linked to activities may be removed (Government of Canada, 2022)
  • Administrative costs will not be approved where they are higher than funders celling (15-20% of the total funding requested from the Funder (Government of Canada, 2022).

Eligible expenditures are those considered necessary to support the purpose of the project and are costs incurred after the signature of the agreement. There are two types of eligible expenditures:

  • direct delivery expenditures: expenses related to the implementation of the project and easily traced to specific activities
  • administrative expenditures: expenses related to an organization’s ability to administer and support project activities
  • All budget costs must be rounded to the nearest dollar.

Financial contributions offset expenditures related to the project. Examples include, but are not limited to, funding provided by other levels of government and funding provided by private-sector organizations or foundations.

In-kind contributions are non-monetary goods or services provided instead of cash. For the project’s budget, a reasonable monetary value should be applied to in-kind contributions. Examples include, but are not limited to, staff and volunteer time, services, programs, office space and administrative services necessary for the proposed project that would otherwise have to be purchased. Organizations cannot request reimbursement for in-kind contributions  (Government of Canada, 2022)

Assessment criteria

  • The budget effectively itemizes and details expenditures and demonstrates that these are reasonable (in other words, costs are aligned with regional standards and other related norms).
  • The budget demonstrates how project expenditures are directly linked to the activities as described in the work plan.
  • The budget includes the required resources to deliver the project or demonstrates that the organization has the capacity to deliver based on the listed in-kind contributions.
  • The total amount of administrative expenditures does not exceed 20% of the total funding requested from the Department.
  • The total amount requested from the Department does not exceed the allowable funding level based on the project reach.

Source: Government of Canada, 2022


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