Executive Policy Unit: The Art of Proposal Writing

Feb 02, 2023
Shining The Spotlight Issue13 WEBSITE EXEC POLICY 07

NWAC’s Executive Policy Unit is responsible for writing a high volume of the funding proposals submitted by the organization based on the distinct strategic needs of each department. In 2022 alone, the unit has drafted over 50 proposals on a wide range of policy areas and programs central to NWAC’s work. These include MMIWG2S+; economic development; climate change, conservation and biodiversity; and Resiliency Lodge programming.

For any non-profit organization to carry out projects and programs, consistent sources of funding are critical. Grants can provide a critical stream of revenue to support projects and programs. However, this ultimately requires a significant amount of work as a proposal must be submitted for each grant opportunity.

So, what is a proposal? Most funding opportunities require you to submit a proposal—a description of the project or program you want to have funded. A proposal typically outlines and provides information on who is applying, what the project—or program will do, when the project/program will take place, and the budget for all of the proposed activities. Most of the time, you will be asked to provide information on:

  • who to contact
  • the organization’s background, including expertise
  • the title, timeline, description, and target audience for the project
  • how you will measure outcomes
  • the budget needed to realize the project

Planning is critical in proposal writing, and each proposal needs to meet the specific needs of the funder. When writing a proposal, it’s important to consider the following:

  • outline a clear the process of decision-making and the persons involved in proposal writing in your organization
  • plan enough time for each step of the proposal, from writing, to budget development, to submission
  • review the requirements of the proposal and make sure you address them
  • be accurate and specific—provide details on what you hope to realistically achieve and which can help the funder see the importance of what you are proposing
  • make your plan sustainable and consider how the project or program can continue after funding ends

To increase accessibility to information on project funding, specifically at the government level, the Executive Policy Unit has included more details on proposal writing and project funding in A Warrior’s Briefcase: Tools for Engaging in Federal-Level Advocacy. This handbook will be released in early 2023.