The Virtual Foundation - Your Donation Makes it Happen

Additional recommendations for writing a proposal which will be appealing to donors on the Internet:

  1. Be honest. Describe simply and directly what you need and what you can accomplish.
  2. Start small and be practical. Most donors have been successful managing businesses and their own personal finances. They can quickly determine if your plans are realistic and your budget is appropriate. Overly ambitious projects with no clear and concrete purpose will look like a bad risk to donors.
  3. Look at the Virtual Foundation website and see what has been funded. Study the format of successful proposals.
  4. Visit the Virtual Foundation website, or other websites, and see what type of presentation and wording attracts your attention. Apply this to your proposal.
  5. Think carefully about a title. It is the first impression of your project. It should be brief, creative and emphasize an easily understandable outcome or need.
  6. Your proposal's first sentences should clearly tell the reader what will be the benefit of your project. While donors are interested in your organization and its background, they first want to know if your work and their donation will make a real difference, improve the world, etc.
  7. Avoid being highly technical or writing a proposal as if it were a scientific paper. Most Virtual Foundation donors are not highly trained scientists.
  8. Explain your budget carefully. Each budget item should contribute to the goal of the project. Unclear budget items will create skepticism.
  9. Visuals, visuals, visuals!!! In cross cultural communications, photographs, maps and drawings are most effective. Visuals should be very clear, with good contrast, and not too much fine detail. The best visual materials show people's faces in the context of the problem that you are addressing or with an example of the success that you are hoping to replicate. This creates a very human dimension.
  10. Ask Virtual Foundation staff for recommendations or comments on the draft of your proposal.