3. The importance of the proposal

Proposals are key documents in CARE’s emergency response programmes. While the primary purpose of the proposal is to help secure funding for CARE’s interventions, it is important to understand that the proposal document has other critical functions and that proposals need to be of a good quality to serve all of these. The functions of the proposal are:

  • Fundraising– Proposals secure CARE’s funding. The proposal must convince the donor that the need that CARE has identified is important, and that CARE has the capacity and the right approach to address the needs and achieve good results, and to ensure accountability. A poor quality proposal, or a proposal that misses the submission deadline, may result in CARE missing out on important funding opportunities.
  • Design– The proposal documents the design of a project. Good quality outcomes depend on good quality project designs, and on a needs-based approach so the proposal must be more than just a sales pitch. The proposal must represent an appropriate design (activity and budget design) that will help CARE to have a positive impact on humanitarian needs as well as consider the longer-term implications of its interventions to support the recovery of the affected population (see section 7.2 for good design principles).
  • Implementation-The proposal serves as a key management tool for the implementation of projects. The proposal and budget should follow a clear logic, and provide adequate description of activities and expected outputs to help a project manager implement the project. It also assists with identifying staff required to carry out project activities. The expected outputs and outcomes must be clear and achievable.
  • Accountability-The proposal is the document that CARE will be held accountable against in terms of what CARE has delivered. The project manager will need to report against what CARE stated in the proposal, so it is critical that the content is feasible programmatically and financially, and achievable within the approved time frame.