Sunday, September 11, 2011

Project Methodology: A Proposal’s Plan of Attack

Having a clear description of the methods that will be used to accomplish your project objectives will make a strong application even more competitive. Some funding agencies may require you to submit a documented form of their methodology. Developing a methodology is not only helpful to the funding agency, but also allows you to definitively address how you expect to use awarded funds to fulfill your project’s purpose. This publication details the purpose of the methodology as a part of the proposal narrative and what it should address.

Methods: The “How” of a Project

As a part of the proposal narrative, the methodology is where you can clearly outline how you will use the requested funds to accomplish your project’s objectives. It is the component in the proposal narrative where you bridge the gap between the objectives and the eventual outcome. It is also where you demonstrate your project’s feasibility by detailing your experiences and resources that will be drawn upon to carry out the project.

The bulk of your methodology discussion should contain detailed descriptions of what project activities will be conducted and how they will be carried out. As your “plan of attack,” your proposed methodology shows the funding agency that you have a logical and well-thought-out plan to carry out reasonable project activities that will lead to the desired outcome. The methods you describe should be presented in a coherent manner, naturally progressing from start to finish. For example, if your organization is looking for community development grants to provide increased emergency shelters for the homeless, the methodology should detail how you plan to acquire shelter facilities, offer services, and reach out to those in need of the facilities.

In addition, the methodology should be justifiable or have some form of expert approval to support the viability of the project. This could be documented through studies related to feasibility, market analyses, site control, surveys, data collection, and other forms of justification. The methodology should also demonstrate the resources that you have available to achieve your project objectives, such as a description of personnel needed and how they will be selected. You can use this section of the narrative to detail any financial and/or in-kind resources and the clientele to be served. Clearly documenting any and all resources available to a project will validate your ability to carry out and accomplish a project.

Another important issue to keep in mind is that all project needs must be reflected in the project budget. Using the example above, if the project requires collecting data on the incidence of homelessness in a community, the costs associated with surveying, compensating personnel, and other expenses should be detailed as part of the total project cost within a proposed budget.

Having a logical project methodology within a proposal narrative is a vital part of a complete proposal narrative. Painting a vivid picture of how a project will be accomplished will not only demonstrate a carefully planned application, but will also provide the funding agency with evidence of your capacity to produce the desired results. In other words, submitting an application with a detailed yet clear project methodology will increase your chances of securing the funding needed to make your project possible.

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