Is your submission for a project of limited duration?
I recall one time-limited project that resulted from a successful submission, with funding for six-months and no possibility of further funding. The six months commenced from advice that our submission had been funded – but the cheque didn’t arrive for another 3 weeks. In our submission, we had allowed 4 weeks from receipt of funds to:
- contract a project team of 8 people for a six-month period, one of whom would be appointed as project leader:
- the whole project team were to be currently unemployed mature-aged people
- the project was to involve the project team in school-based activities through a 5-month period,
- rent and equip a shop-front,
- arrange vehicle availability,
- liaise with local media, advertise and promote the project,
- introduce the project team to the local network of 10 schools:
- the schools had all been involved in designing the project, including the individual school activities, and preparing the submission, and
- commence the project evaluation.
The project plan was designed to allow:
- first month for preparation and establishment,
- second, third and fourth months for 10 school-based activities to be undertaken,
- fifth month for a major activity involving all schools, which was a multi-cultural art and craft festival, and
- sixth month to wind-down, complete the evaluation and write the project and evaluation reports.
The project achieved everything we had planned – and a great deal more.
The secret of success was:
- extensive discussion and agreement with key people prior to preparing the submission,
- keeping the project to a manageable size, and
- scheduling and monitoring preparation, implementation and evaluation within the limited time and resources.
Organisations are preparing submissions, grant applications or proposals to access funds to support the provision of services, programs or activities. Such services, programs or activities should result in an enhancement or improvement in the life or lifestyle of service-users.
Preparation of these documents is divided into two separate stages:
- The project – designing the ‘project’ to be undertaken or achieved as a result of the submission
- The submission document – writing the document to include detail explaining: purpose and detail of the project
- how the project is going to be managed and staffed
- why your organisation is the best one to undertake or fulfil the project
- total project costs, often broken down into units, activities or budget categories the period of time it will run for
- benefits and outcomes for the sponsor (to whom the submission is being presented),
- your own organisation and people who will be involved with or benefit from the project itself
- how these benefits and outcomes are going to be either measured or recognised what happens at the end of the project
The work of preparing, writing and presenting a submission often falls to staff members, yet the committee or board and senior management have a responsible role in:
- attracting funds
- ensuring provision of services, programs and activities or products are of a consistent
- quality and provided in an effective, efficient and humane manner, and
- ensuring operational responsibility and financial viability
Submissions are prepared either by responding to a known, advertised or regular advertisement or direct approach.
Being financially responsible for the organisation, the committee or board and senior management need to be, and be seen to be, the ‘owner’ of all submissions forwarded in the name of the organisation .. which means that they:
- know and understand each submission submitted in the name of the organisation
- are committed to each submission, with a formal motion to this effect recorded in appropriate minutes or reports
- are satisfied that each submission (both the project and the document) is in line with the organisation’s philosophy, purpose, strategic and policy framework and financial priorities
- have formally accepted each submission in detail, including consideration of the full ramifications of implementation
- are willing to approve additional resources if necessary to ensure a successful implementation of each project, ie willing to consider any necessary changes if the successful outcome of a project comes under challenge: an example would be where funds are suddenly withdrawn or additional resources are needed to maintain and complete the project
- are assured that all staff affected by a potential project have been advised of the preparation of any submission: such preparation should avoid any later misunderstanding or misinterpretation
- are aware of any possible negative effects of a proposed project on existing commitment or obligations.