1. Role of proposal writing in an emergency

Proposal writing is a critical function in an emergency to raise funds from private and institutional donors for the response, and to provide a clear design document that project managers can use to implement activities and report against. Emergencies require a very high number of proposals to be written within a short amount of time. Failure to meet proposal writing demands will limit CARE’s ability to raise funds to meet the demands of the response and can damage to CARE’s reputation with key donors.

Position Key responsibilities
Assessment team Identify key and critical needs and gaps in line with the CO’s strategy, design initial programme strategy, and prepare initial project concepts and generic proposals.
Proposal Writer Prepare high-quality and timely funding proposals to mobilise sufficient resources for the response.
Programme Coordinator/ACD Programme Coordinate all programme development activities to guarantee the quality of CARE’s response and ensure alignment of proposals (including budget requirements) with the strategy.
Country Director/Team Leader Manage donor relations and negociation (refer also to the Chapter on Funds mobilisation).
Finance Department Prepare, review and approve all budgets prior to submission.
Support units (including logistics and procurement) Provide inputs to the project design and budget in relation to support requirements and costs.
CARE International Members Support the proposal development process including providing guidelines, instructions and advice on donor liaison, helping with drafting, and editing and submission.
Lead Member Provide support to proposal development, approval and donor relations where required.

The ACD Programme (or Programme Coordinator where it exists instead of ACD Programme) and the Proposal Writer will both be involved in the proposal writing process. The ACD programme is responsible for coordinating overall programme strategy, design and quality. The Proposal Writer is responsible for preparing proposals, including coordinating and tracking the proposal pipeline. Other CO staff including logistics  will be involved in providing inputs to the proposal and budget, under the coordination of the Proposal Writer. The finance team in particular must dedicate staff to the task of budget preparation (see also Finance).

In small emergencies, the ACD Programme may cover the proposal writing needs. However, in any medium or larger emergency, a dedicated Proposal Writer must be appointed immediately. In very large emergencies, several Proposal Writers will be required.

The presence of a dedicated Proposal Writer will have a strong bearing on CARE’s ability to raise funds quickly, so is a priority investment. The absence of a Proposal Writer will cause CARE to miss funding opportunities, and will limit the capacity of the ACD Programme to focus on programme strategy and implementation. This risks reducing CARE’s effectiveness in terms of fundraising and programme quality.

The Proposal Writer’s key functions include:

  • translating programme strategy into project concept papers and proposals
  • including needs assessment reports into project concept papers and proposals
  • writing rapid and high-quality emergency proposals that conform to donor requirements
  • coordinating targeting strategy for donors to ensure priority activities are funded first, funding allocations are balanced in line with the programme strategy and proposals are well targeted to the donor’s eligibility requirements
  • coordinating with ACD Programme and Support to align the proposal content with strategy and operational planning, including interventions, geographical distribution, financial requirements and staffing needs
  • coordinating all other team inputs to proposals, including sector specialist input, logistics and operational requirements, and finance inputs into budgets
  • coordinating the proposal review and submission process with the relevant CARE International Member or donor.

A Proposal Writer should be identified from an existing CO ERT member with strong proposal writing skills. If not available, an experienced emergency Proposal Writer can be requested through the RED mechanism (refer to Human resources). See Annex 8.1 Terms of Reference Proposal Writer, and Annex 8.2 Terms of Reference Programme Coordinator.